This weekend I hosted an open house to let friends in St. Louis know I was mostly unpacked, organized and I’m totally excited about having friends over. I spent time Friday evening doing some grocery shopping and prepping some dishes and Saturday morning I got the rest of my prep and cooking done. As I did a lot of the getting ready for folks to come over, I had lots of time to think about how lucky I am. Here are a few of the food-related reasons for my gratitude:
- There was the fact that I was feeling a bit distracted with several things going on all week so I hadn’t spent as much time planning a “menu” as I should have. I only had a couple of ideas on what I wanted to do. Rather than stress about it, I sent a quick message to family and friends for ideas and reminders on which of the cookbooks I should pull out. I got responses quickly that were not only helpful, but also motivating!
- As I did my grocery shopping, I was reminded of the years spent working in one. And with the new store, I of course don’t know where some specific items are. I found multiple people really helpful. Really. The produce guy who helped me find garlic, a guy giving out tastings of a local wine, the guy who helped me find pimentos, the guy who helped me find tahini… I should have gone back for a few more tastings but instead I bought a bit of wine! LOL!
- Fixing some of the recipes, I got to think about where they came from…. I made some cookies that our family has fixed FOREVER! Chocolate oatmeal cookies that brought memories of childhood, of grandparents and great aunts and lots of good times. New recipes were fun too — wondering whether they would taste as good as they sounded.
- I gave thanks for some of the containers I was serving in — especially the pottery pieces I had made that were so similar to the ones my grandmom made decades ago.
Thanks for My Ag Friends with Diverse Jobs
As time came and friends began arriving, I was reminded of the different food-related jobs. There were lots of faces of people who work in agriculture… people who work in jobs I had no clue existed when I started working in the ag industry. I have learned a lot by working side-by-side with people who have such varied roles and I give thanks that we have the efforts of these people to help us accomplish such incredible feats as we get seed products to farmers!
The friends who were with me have had jobs writing about food for magazines & newspapers, networking with key industry associations, developing key areas of protein research, planning for seed supply to meet sales needs, working in biofuels, assisting with the purchase of facilities, putting together packages for regulatory scrutiny, and of course, other people who work in agricultural communications. I’ve got great colleagues! Its amazing to me how many people are engaged in agriculture and how many of those jobs are invisible to others. And I give thanks that so many of them came armed with wine to add to the evening’s enjoyment and to the wine cabinet for future visits!
The #FoodThanks that Made me Grab My Camera — Packaging for Freshness
But maybe the most interesting conversation was with my friend Heidi from my New York days who now calls the Chicago area home. (That’s her with the Chuck Berry statue.) She drove down to help me celebrate the new house. And stayed over so we could catch up. On Sunday morning, we chatted as I emptied & refilled the dishwasher. And as we turned to having breakfast, I was reminded that Heidi’s current job is a bit different from the agricultural PR she and I did when we lived in NY. But she gave me a cause for #FoodThanks I hadn’t even considered! People who figure out how to keep food fresh!
I had a new box of cereal and after I poured some in my bowl, I searched the kitchen for a clip to close the bag to keep the cereal fresh. And Heidi began telling me about developments in packaging. My cereal was being returned to the original box, but a little mishapen and I had to figure out a way to keep it fresh. But the granola I have eaten so many other days and the pistachios I had for a snack (one of the RARE TIMES I wasn’t eating almonds of awesomeness) were in bags with self-locking zippers built in. But the night before, I had put some leftover chips in Ziplocs.
Although there are several ways to keep foods fresh, what is most convenient for the consumer AND protects the brand equity of the food processor? It was a good thought to run through as I threw another container in my recycle bin…. sure wish more of the packages I had in my house were the win-win. But for now, I give thanks for the people who have made so many advancements in packaging to keep food fresh. I give thanks for the people who figured out how to recycle so many of the containers I use and the ones who pick up all those recyclables so they can be reused.
There are lots of other folks who help get food to me and make life better for me. I can’t possibly think of them all not can I thank them individually. Who do you guys think I’ve missed in the last week of posts on #FoodThanks? I’ve tried to be inclusive but the perspectives will keep coming!