I come by "it" honestly, as they say.
And by "it," I mean the desire to feed everyone, all the time; the impulse to get my hands and my kitchen and every dish I own dirty; and, the sometimes exhausting habit of having a jet fuel coffee-strength opinion about everything that enters my mouth or exits someone else's.
I take after both of my grandmothers- my Yaya, a poet who dedicated her life to feeding Chattanoogans at our family restaurant, and my Ema, who traveled the world as a missionary and wrote beautiful letters about her journeys (both inner and outer) to friends she met along the way.
The only other thing that you really must know is that I have experienced a staggering number of miracles, the most notable of which began in 2011 and continues to unfurl. I was working a terrible office job where I sat at a desk and listened to people yell at me on the phone, day in and day out. To numb the inevitable ennui, I'd read this blog called La Tartine Gourmande and eventually decided that I was well-suited to write a food blog, too. I spent weeks trying to come up with a blog name during my lunch breaks, which teeter tottered between sipping the horrible master cleanse concoction and shoveling supermarket sheet cake into my mouth. Then one day, I thought, I don't want to eat or drink this shit anymore! And because I resolved to only eat delicious food, my blog was born: Nothing but Delicious. That was the beginning of the miracle; I decided it was worth my while to feed myself nourishing food. Like Anne Lamott, I didn't really know how to feed myself and had spent the previous decade committing what I now consider horrific crimes- not eating in front of handsome men, begging my doctor for Adderall so I would eat less, counting every last calorie, ordering salads at burger joints...I'm not yet ready to fess up to all my wrongdoing.
I didn't realize what a miracle it was until several years later, after it had changed my body, my career and my soul (cheesy, I know!). Did you have any idea that miracles are mitotic? I didn't either. They never have an ending; they keep on going and multiplying into new blessings. In 2015, I was working as a food stylist and preventing massive amounts of perishable food from ending up in the trash can at the close of each shoot. "Invite yourself to dinner," I started writing on my Facebook wall once a week, just to unload my bounty. And somehow, the miracle doubled as I learned to feed other people- not in the showy, "look what I made!" way I had been operating, but in an unambitious and earnest manner. As a very popular Nashville restaurateur once said: "You either serve yourself or you serve the guest- and we're not here to serve ourselves."
The alternative (and rather cheeky) title for the site was "the woman who gave it all away" because two years of feeding anyone who asked has left me obsessed with the habit of generosity. I am far from the perfect practitioner, and that's a good reason to write about the trials of becoming a better and more graceful cook if there ever was one.