Last week I was lucky enough to spend a few days at Edible Schoolyard: a place I've read about for years, and a place that inspired the work I support today (school gardens, reconnecting kids with real food). The master educator Esther took us through an exercise she does with her students, one that encourages them to document a "food memory." Here's what I wrote:
Jack Benny birthday," my Mom kept calling it. I was wearing a white zip-up jumpsuit with a bright pink belt and feeling very grown-up about welcoming the guests, all of my parents' closest friends. It was a really big party in our medium-sized NYC apartment.
My mom had made all of the food, including a bunch of passed hors d'oeuvres. My dish, that I was tasked with walking around for several hours, was a platter of balled cantaloupe, each ball wrapped in a strip of prosciutto. In 1984 this was pretty revelatory—the first wave of a "gourmet" explosion that would include goat cheese and sundried tomatoes, pesto and fancy vinegars. This hors d'oeuvres platter was my mother's way of being cool and of the moment.