I don’t think anything or anyone quite prepares you for motherhood. The all encompassing way it simultaneously strips a woman down yet builds them up and adds a new meaning to every corner and essence of life is astounding. It changed me from the inside out. The love for my girls fuels me on such intense levels, and there is no greater joy than to be their mother. Nothing will ever top that. To be in the kitchen cooking meals or baking goods for the bear and them makes me feel human again. It wasn't until I lost myself in motherhood as some women do, that I actually ended up finding myself in a whole new way. I found myself there in the kitchen, standing with a sleeping baby strapped to my chest and holding goods from my own backyard. Slicing an ingredient that I’d never worked with before, gave me a feeling of curiosity and wonder and I longed to bring the same discovery and nourishment to the table for my family. I found when I nourished my mind as a Mother, I was able to give more of myself to my little ones.
I began to collect recipes. Writing them down one by one until finally I felt like I could share them with someone else. I put together a proposal and got connected with Rodale Publishing in the Spring of 2016 and I still have to blink my eyes in humble amazement that I received the opportunity to write and produce a cookbook.
Way back to all our beginnings as a child, we recognize shapes and colors. Emotions are attached to experiences. I believe we all have these memories as children, or at least one solid one to latch onto before adulthood sinks in.
There can be a simplistic form of admiration for this earth. A wonder and a curiosity that we all as children seem to be innately born with. And yet, it’s easy to forget that there is magic in food. I’m intrigued with ingredients that are nourish our bodies physically, but also nourish us mentally. I love to cook or bake with a new perspective and remain open to the inevitable change that drifts into our world with ingredients that are foraged, gathered at the farmer's market, grown or even found from the most conventional of groceries stores.
Giving ourselves permission to dream again, to look at food and meals and the act of cooking and baking with such appreciation and wonderment. To reconnect with that bewilderment that we have all felt as children and marvel at life as grown adults. Imagine a child picking cattails by a lake just as they start to bloom and expand in pollen. The lake is so calm and the tails reach up towards the clear sky. Plucking each section of fur-like pollen to throw in the air to be joined with the wind. Over and over and over, she tosses the pollen. She is not thinking of what task needs to be completed next or what is due, when. There is so much happiness in her eyes and she is completely present in that glorious fluttered, magical moment. I want to bottle up this feeling and somehow pour it into our adult lives.
Photography by Matt Lien. Illustrations by Bear Fox. Tales from a Forager's Kitchen will be available for preorder this Fall of 2017. For more samples and excerpts from the cookbook, please visit the #TalesFromAForagersKitchen on Instagram.