Food and Community

Imagine a 25-year-old young woman, with no skill sets at all, trying to create a business and not having a clue how to even start.

Two little ones at home and a husband who worked so hard in a foundry, a sweet house, but not a clue about who she was or what she could (or should) be in life.

First life lesson: listen to CBC radio. Alan McFee, Don Harron, and Barbara Frum, specifically.  They helped enormously.

Second life lesson: start figuring out how to develop some kind of skills and interest in a career, with absolutely no idea what would be suitable, that was no longer medical school.

My favourite memories were of eating at my Oma's house on Saturday nights with a pack of people. Curry and rice was common, as well as lots of Mennonite cooking. I have always remembered how much pleasure it gave everyone - it was a great end to a week.

Ruth Fremes was on CBC right after Romper Room at 9:30am every morning. I started getting organized with the kids and life; trying to cook whatever she made that day. Imagine risotto using Uncle Ben’s rice! Slowly, life started to fit together better. Ruth talked about a rhubarb tart from the Old Prune in Stratford and, grateful for a brother who was up for a spontaneous road trip, I started my journey into the culinary arts. That show, and Ruth, was such an important piece of my puzzle.

But the point of this blog is to talk about the mystical impact of food in a community sense.

In April, I believe it was 2014, we had finally sent out all our vouchers and cheese boxes, and I received a phone call from Ruth's husband.

He was so sorry to tell me that their cheese box had spoiled in the hall of their apartment building.  Ruth had been receiving my cheeses! Unfortunately, they were not home to receive this as Ruth unexpectedly passed away while in Florida.

But he wanted me to know how much she loved Monforte cheese.

The magic of that still makes me cry.

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