Almost a full decade ago, I stumbled upon the beautiful and captivating presence of Nigella Lawson on the Style Network here in the United States and not long after I found an online community within the website of her namesake. Although I was much younger than almost everyone on that site, I loved reading everything and anything that they had to say. Our love for Nigella and her carefree way of cooking was our initial bond, but what made the community stick was that everyone seemed to fully comprehend the definition of food culture. Nigella, with her articulated manner of writing and speaking, shared with us not just the recipes she’s collected from books or ones she developed in hopes of recreating a dish from a high-end restaurant in her native London, but those of her grandmothers’ from her youth in the 1960s and 70s.
Everyone on that forum came from somewhere else and even though many were from England as Mrs. Lawson, their roots were from elsewhere and thus it added to the bounty of recipes and stories shared from all over the world. American, English, Italian and the foods of Spain are not ones often considered to be “ethnic” to us in the U.S., but to others in places far away, they are. We all understood that was is normal to us is not to another and that the foods shared within our homes with our families and the traditions inherent to that home are as much a culture as the one right outside our front door.
Long before the Nigella.com virtual forum doors shuttered, we had already established a few private forums which are still actively running today and as a result, many of us have never lost touch. I may not participate as much as I use to, but I still like to sneak in there once in a while to see how they’re doing.
Starting tomorrow, I will have a few of those forum members share their stories and maybe a few recipes here and there too. My reason for this is to help define my blog purpose, as well as establish my definition of food culture. It’s not always about a fancy recipe or an incredible restaurant experience, but celebrating the foods that make us tick, the ones that help flood our memories with great moments from our past and the ones that hang onto the last remaining threads of who we are in a world that is constantly changing. I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as me. So, tomorrow morning, be ready to grab a “cuppa” and get inspired.
*picture taken from The Guardian