{  food lover  |  adventurer  |  landlocked surfer girl  |  yogini  |  personal development and reflection fanatic  | dreamer  }


At the age of 25, I went to Europe for six months, hoping that I would somehow find myself. I came home with an engagement ring, a realization that I didn't want to live an ocean apart from my family, and a passion for  food. Which, I've come to learn 15+ years later, is as close to finding myself as I might ever get.


I categorize much of my life and my decisions as "before Europe" and "after Europe." 


Before Europe, meals often came from a cardboard box I mindlessly shoved in a microwave for 3 minutes. After Europe, I wanted to eat real, fresh food with ingredients I could recognize and pronounce. Before Europe, cooking was a burden. After Europe, I started reading cookbooks like bestselling novels and hanging out in my kitchen for fun.

 

                                                                                                                   photo credit: Sharon Tessandori

                                                                                                                   photo credit: Sharon Tessandori

 

During my six months abroad, I certainly had some bad meals. But most were decent, and many were spectacular--partially because of the food, but often because of the environment or the people. 


I learned a bit more of Jesu's story each night as he served my husband and me amazing dishes at a four-table restaurant in Salema, Portugal. I savored the simple delight of a sliced apple topped with a piece of real Parmesan cheese washed down with a glass of wine while sitting around a table with soon-to-be family members who joined us for the last leg of our trip. 


I told Don, as we sat in a garden restaurant in Germany, that I wanted to own a place like this someday. I'm still filled with joy whenever I recall the father who pulled hunks of bread from a crusty baguette for his son, causing crumbs to fly all over our hot, crowded coach car. 


For the first time, I saw eating as an all-senses-in experience, and I couldn’t get enough of it.


Back in the States, I was eager to recreate the food and the environments I'd loved. It's a mission I'm still attempting to accomplish. I've taken a culinary class here and there, but most of my cooking skills are the result of hundreds of hours in the kitchen--testing, tasting, failing, succeeding--and sharing my creations with friends and family. 


Sharing my food with others is the equivalent of sharing my heart ... I cook with love and care and positive energy, which (hopefully) translates into body-and-soul nourishing meals. And all the better when enjoyed at a communal table over equally nourishing conversation. 


So, let me know when you want to come over the dinner. Seriously.

 


You can read more about what inspires me in addition to food on my sporadically updated blog Eat Veggies Drink Wine and catch glimpses of me on Instagram. You can also say hi and set up your dinner reservation by emailing me at eatveggiesdrinkwine@gmail.com.