I grew up in a household where food wasn’t just a means to an end. It was a religion. My grandmother was born in Belgium and eventually published a cookbook that benefited Meals on Wheels. My grandfather, an American who had married a European, probably had one of the first wine cellars in Colorado. And they birthed a son who has been a food and wine writer, teacher and retailer for over 40 years.
That’s my dad.
I don’t really know where a typical American kid’s first memories take place. Around a fireplace during the holidays, maybe? Or playing with their siblings in the yard? Well, mine are in restaurants.
My dad was the food critic for the Rocky Mountain News (R.I.P.) for the better part of the 1980s and 1990s, and we used to go out for dinner four nights a week. I am an only child, so it was usually me, my mom and my dad. But sometimes, it was just me and him.
It took me years to realize that most kids weren’t eating Ethiopian food when they were 9 years old or that their parents didn’t have a little glass of wine for them on the dinner table a decade or so before they were legal.
So I approach this month’s theme as an insider who feels like an outsider. My hyper-foodie childhood eventually gave way to more American experiences—late-night runs to Wendy’s, Keystone Light and SweeTarts—but I’ll always have a bit of an admittedly snobby streak when it comes to what’s on my plate.
That all might be a long way of saying that I’m so excited about this month’s theme and its stories. I love this time of year and, while my family is as dysfunctional as any other, meals round the table loom. And we all gotta eat, right?