Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Saturday August 04, 2012

Storytelling Saturdays:
Heirloom Meals: using food to teach us about life by Rebecca Narum

I’ve had the opportunity to write on Heirloom Meals’ blog twice during my time at Boulder Wood Farm, and as my summer comes to an end I get one more opportunity to share my thoughts, experiences, etc. about food and life.  In previous posts I shared about my future—the essentials to my “some-day” kitchen; my past—the food experiences I had while living in Spain for the year; and now I am going to focus on the present—my summer working for Heirloom Meals.  What I have learned and received from this summer was unforeseeable but not surprising.  I showed up June 16th.  I was the last of the interns to arrive and now I am the last to leave. 

When I arrived I wasn’t exactly sure what to think or expect.  Although I had been abroad for a year and struggled to leave my family after only a couple weeks at home, I was ready to embark on a new adventure and I was excited to see what I would learn.  I was drawn to Heirloom Meals by its connection between food and culture, two of my passions.  However, I did not expect the genuine, authenticity and love that flows from both Boulder Wood Farm and Heirloom Meals.  These are the foundations of Heirloom Meals, which is why it is so special and has taught me so much about myself. 

This summer I was helping Carole to put together a Heirloom Meals cookbook proposal.  In doing so I got to read through many different people’s stories and recipes.  I have always loved hearing about other people’s lives and cultures because people’s stories can teach us so much about ourselves.  But, I did not expect to be so touched by my own family’s stories.  I was able to read through the submissions of my family’s traditional recipes and hear my family’s thoughts about them.  It reminded me how much I appreciate my own family’s traditions.  I am so intrigued by other cultures and learning from people who are different from me that I often overlook my own family’s uniqueness.  As great as it is to go out and explore the world, sometimes it is what is right under your nose that means the most.  I’ve been reminded of how important and special the simple things are in life and I have realized how important it is for me to maintain them and not get side-tracked by our big and extravagant world. 

This leads me to the second realization I made here at Heirloom Meals.  Success is defined in more than one way and I shouldn’t let myself be locked inside the ‘boxes’ society creates for us.  Heirloom Meals was founded by the conjoining of Carole’s passions for food and family and her inventive business background.  Being a young women about to graduate college I am beginning to seriously think about what path I want to take next in my life.  I have always struggled with this decision (as do most people), but I find myself limbo-ing between the different clear-cut ‘boxes’ in society, not wanting to leave any of them nor be fully submerge in one of them.  The idea of leaving college is exciting but also a little scary and stressful.  Working at Heirloom Meals has encouraged me to not put aside my passions and personal interests for success by societal standards as I move forward. 

I have such high admiration for Heirloom Meals because it is so real and shares the uniqueness found in our society.  It has been refreshing and eye opening to work for an organization that focuses on food, family, relationships and stories, and that reminds us of their importance.  I have been reminded of why I appreciate my family so much and how my past has shaped what I am passionate about now.  I have always loved to cook but never thought about how I might apply this to my intellectual interests for a job.  I don’t know if food is in my future career path or not, but this experience has given me hope that I will find a future path which combine my different interests!