Nutrition Matters, But What Else Does Food Do For Us?
As you know, I have dedicated my entire professional career to providing nutrition services to children and their families. It is a core value of mine to share my gift of knowledge with others, to help improve the health and wellness of future generations. Today however, I want to share with you another core value -- and that is, the importance of food in connecting families and generations.
In honor of my Grandmother who passed 3 years ago this week, I'm proud to share about our cooking experiences and explain how they have shaped who I am today. It was my Grandma, Carrie Belle Hann, who ignited my passion for food. She always hosted big family dinners in her home for every family holiday. After losing her Mother at a young age, she taught herself to cook, as it was her responsibility to feed her family. Always working from memory rather than recipes, she baked thousands of cookies for Christmas gifts every year.
Before passing, she was able to share with me about our family tradition of coloring easter eggs with onion skins (see photo below). Talking while we worked, she explained that her family was too poor to buy dye for easter eggs. I will always remember the site of those uniquely colored eggs in my Easter basket, along with the molded chocolates, and jello eggs Grandma spent hours preparing for her entire family.
Cooking is in my blood. From my Great Grandmother who oversaw food production for a dining hall at Miami University, to my Grandmother (pictured above) who shared her passion for creating food to spread joy and love, to my mother who has even begun teaching my own daughter and nephew about cooking and family traditions (see photos below). Having these memories and recipes from my ancestors makes me feel connected -- as if I have a part of them with me that I get to share with my own children.
I'll end it with this, from an interview I had with my wonderful Grandmother in the Spring of 2009:
Me: "If you could make three recommendations related to food/diet/meals for the younger generation based on your own experience, what would they be?"
Grandma: "Don't eat too much sugar, don't be afraid to try different foods and cooking techniques, and watch your body's reaction to foods and adjust accordingly."
In Honor of my dear Grandmother, Carrie Belle Hann 1926 - 2017