Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Interview: Real Food is Real Work

Last week, I sat down with my dear friend, Laura Fabrycky, who writes for the Missio blog at the Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation and Culture.

Here's the thing about Laura: she asks the good questions: the hard, the important questions:

Why did you start a food blog? How is yours different than others? What have you discovered about yourself, the larger story you inhabit, and life in general because of it?
Do you think of yourself as an exile?  How much of your exploration of food is an exploration of your own identity, a passing on of an identity to your children?
It was hard work to answer these questions, and at times, even smarted a little bit.  We had to do the interview twice (due to technical problems with the first recording), but even that had its advantages.  For me, it was a time to step back from the work itself, from the recipes, the writing, the community, and to look into my heart instead. 

Why do I engage in the real work of real food, when I don't have to?

How has engaging with the world through real food deepened my faith?

Read my answers here, in the interview: Real Food is Real Work.

I am so grateful that Laura made me ask myself these questions, made me find my answers for them.  But really, for me, this is just the start of the conversation.  I hope that you will continue to join in the conversation with me. And so I ask you, too:  How would you answer these questions?


  1. I've been enjoying your blog for a while, and really enjoyed this interview as well. I follow a lot of real food blogs, and while I don't want to put down anyone else, something about your writing is just so fresh and free from judgement and anxiety. I love that you are using WAPF principles to access your own culture, and sharing that access with the rest of us. I am not Arabic, but my part-Armenian husband grew up in an 90% Arabic Antiochian Orthodox parish, so these dishes are much easier to sell him on than a lot of my WAPF experiments!

    Thanks for all you share with us!

    1. Thank you, MJ. I am so honored to be able to write for you and others.

      I have found faith to be the calming factor in my kitchen - since I am a naturally anxious, control-freak-of-a-person, and this kind of pursuit of health can feed that.

      And I am so very pleased that you are enjoying these traditional Middle Eastern recipes! I started this blog because I wanted to return to traditional foods, but particularly, wanted to look at those foods from a Middle Eastern perspective. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were lots of traditional, WAPF-following blogs, but each from a different cultural tradition? That would make me so excited!

      It is much easier to move into traditional methods if we are able to give our families the flavors and dishes that they already love and are connected to. So I am thrilled if I am doing that for your family. I would love to hear more about what your family enjoys eating, and how you are preparing them now.

    2. Jessica, I would be thrilled if cooks from every culture connected the dots as you have and shared their findings! One of my friends was critiquing Nourishing Traditions and said "I like a lot of the ideas but it doesn't feel like any of it is from MY tradition." But when I thought about it later, I disagreed, because it does seem that the basic principles of grain/legume soaking, lacto-fermentation, and broth-making have probably been present in almost every culture for great lengths of time. If someone's grandma didn't make food this way, it's probably because somebody sold her the idea of convenience in the fifties (not that I blame those grandmas for choosing to save themselves some effort!) But in most cases those convenience foods are probably a substitute for something more traditional, and one could easily adapt the recipe so that one's GREAT-grandmother would recognize it.

      My own heritage is mixed enough that my family doesn't identify as anything but American, although the strongest genetic element is German. Since my husband and I lived in a Polish neighborhood for a few months, and later started spending a lot of time at a Serbian Orthodox church, I discovered a craving for Eastern European foods, so I wonder if that in a way is my German blood raising its head. In general, my husband and I, as cosmopolitan young Americans, love food from all over the world, but are always looking for the most authentic recipes. That's why we'd love to see more blogs like this one!

      My mother did grow up on a real, small Midwestern farm in the sixties, so I am thankful that she had a healthy childhood and adolescence drinking raw milk, eating pastured meat and eggs, and harvesting homegrown honey and maple syrup! I believe she's passed along those health benefits to her children, and in seeking out these foods, I feel that I am returning to my recent heritage. The rest I'm adding as I grow and learn, which is part of what it means to be an American! Thanks again for aiding me in that journey!


Trying this recipe? A question or a comment? I'd love to hear from you!