Every storyteller has a passion about something that inspires all of their stories; mine just happens to be deliciously… FOOD!
Whisk and Dine was created out of my love to both ‘Whisk and Dine’! Since I could stand on a chair and help my mom knead bread or Kibbeh (a Middle Eastern meat dish that gets kneaded to the texture of a steak tartar), I have loved cooking.
I was fortunate enough to have grown up in a multi-cultural home. While my mother was a first generation Syrian gal, all her girlfriends (that hung out at our house and cooked together), were from all over the Middle East, Italy and Greece. Wow, did they cook, laugh, gossip a bit and make some fabulous food!
Dining, throughout my life, has come in so very many different forms; from the most elaborate of table settings inspired by my brother in law whose 45+ years event catering company, Ken’s Creative Kitchen, has set the stage to celebrate with the late Prince Phillip, Tom Clancy and other well known celebrities who are no longer with us, as well as the Clintons, governors, congressmen and women and a gazillion beautiful brides, one being the personal secretary for Martha Stewarts magazine. Fine linen, crystal and silver was just the way it’s done when our family gathers to celebrate anything, even the little grand kids have always gotten first class treatment.
But that is not where my dining passions end. Preparing and dining with a bride to be in Calabria Italy, Kabobs on an open fire in Greece, fabulous street food in the favelas of Brazil and a ton of other memorable dining moments. Memorable? Yes, every single one of these moments are etched in the photos of my mind (long before we all pulled out a cell phone), because for me, every meal told a story.
Fast forward into the 21st Century, where everyone has a phone that takes amazing photos, eliminating the necessity to lug around a huge camera case with all its fixings! I found myself wanting photos when I visited a farmer’s market where nature’s provisions made for the most amazing colors and textures. All aspects of seafood being lifted out of their waters ignited not only the story of how they were gathered but then the multiple ways they were prepared. A hunter, just in with the offerings of the land, a sight I grew up with, having shared in the 24-hour watch over roasting an entire lamb for a feast holiday.
Every aspect of the food we bring to the table and how it gets there became an passion for me to capture on film and yes… I even found myself with several fabulous cameras, sound equipment, lighting, wires and batteries out the wazoo and marched myself off to do some ‘how to’ courses at DCTV, a television film school in Washington, DC.
Books and Magazines
With the internet loaded with every imaginable recipe and how-to video, why do we still buy magazines and cook books, or still write out a favorite recipe ‘on paper’ and share it with friends? Because all of those things are tangible! There are times in life where you just want to go off the grid, sit in a quiet place and indulge in the paper and pages of other artist’s work.
When I first got into food blogging, I thought it was the perfect place to save recipes for my family, but then, even the young millennial in the family said, “You really should have a cookbook too, like… a real book”! So I did. It was just my first, and I focused mostly on small plate offerings, the kind I grew up seeing spread across a coffee table or picnic table when family and friends gathered, something we call ‘meze’ or known more to today’s foodies as tapas. I’m sure I will do another, but not to teach folks ‘how’ to cook, just to inspire them to want to cook and try different recipes.
Food Magazines are something I’ve always collected. One year, back in the early 90’s, I realized my magazine collection had taken over a portion of a room. I set out over the course of a year to pull out every single recipe that most inspired me and save them in plastic covers and fill large ring notebooks with my most valued collection. I am still amazed to this day how much I am inspired by this enormous collection, dating back to 1987.
Kitchen Life 200 Years Ago. Speaking of older recipes from years ago… I must tell you about a shoebox I inherited from my grandmother’s attic when she passed. The shoebox is a long story but suffice it to say that in the collection of old… I mean ‘really’ old letters, dating back to the late 1800’s, there were hand written recipes from the woman Adelaide Hall, who wrote the stories and recipes I found in the shoebox.
This collection of difficult to read letters is something I took an entire winter to transcribe and publish HER story that never got published (which is why it was in my grandparents attic). Her brother brother was the famous astronomer that discovered the moons around Mars and was visited often by president Lincoln while he labored at the Naval Observatory in DC. She… was just his sister. Hah! Not anymore. I saw to it that more than 100 years later, she got published!
This, now published collection can be found on Amazon. The 19th Century Memoirs of Adelaide Hall. And don’t mind the notebook style cover and trust me, don’t judge this book by its cover, it was not my story to tell, it was hers and so I did not feel comfortable taking liberties to design a cover that reflected me and not her.
I have been fortunate enough to have had the most exciting opportunities to have played a small part in creating food stories on Food Network. The three shows I was a part of lit my passion for more visual storytelling.
While I am heading out (after I write this missive to you), to do yet another brand new food show, not with Food Network and can’t tell you much more than this right now, except it is a series that will unfold many beautiful stories around food and people’s lives. I will add to this story once it airs!
Thank you, each and every one of you for sharing in my food and film passion!