Just by coincidence, many of the articles in this summer issue speak to the role our families play in developing our interest in food, cooking, gardening and even farming.  As I was editing the stories of our local food producers, I began to think about my own family’s influence on my career in food.

My parents grew up in families where meals were something that was just another chore. While one of my grandmothers did make great stuffed cabbage, mostly my parents were exposed only to basic food. Early in their marriage, while my mother was home with 3 girls under 6, she began to devote her creative and artistic energies to learning how to cook and serve beautiful gourmet meals a la Julia Child. At the time, these meals were torture to my sisters and me. Guiltily we were thrilled when my father worked late and we were served pizza, hamburgers or spaghetti for dinner.

Through my mother’s pleasure in cooking and their travels, my parents developed an appreciation for gourmet cuisine and wine and shared that with us. While at the time we did not appreciate it, early on, we realized how lucky we were.

Actually, the appreciation for good quality food has become somewhat of an obsession for all of us. The family joke is to see how long it takes in a new city for my father to find an acceptable croissant! This task has led us all into many fun adventures that more often than not prove that persistence is worthwhile.

My father is in his early 80’s and does his weekly shopping on Saturday mornings at the Greenmarket in New York City. Whether rain, sleet or snow, he goes to the market. Over the years he has developed warm, personal relationships with the farmers. He greets them by name, asks about their week and reinforces his belief that the farmers and food producers are a valuable part of our communities. He truly proves the belief that farmers markets do bring together a community of people who otherwise would never connect.

Both of my sisters are accomplished cooks and my younger sister, Lori, spends weekends foraging and canning. When my family gets together we spend time discussing recipes and meals and, often, cooking. Breakfast conversation centers on the plans for the lunch meal; lunch is time to plan for dinner. And of course included is the plan for where we would go to procure which ingredients.

Starting Edible Boston seemed like a natural career step for me. In many ways it is my way of thanking my parents for the values they taught me. My family has been very supportive in my journey of becoming editor and publisher of Edible Boston. They are my biggest fans and love to discuss the stories of our local food producers. When they come to Boston to visit they are eager to try out some of our local products. Some I even arrange to send to them on a regular basis!

I hope you have time this summer to celebrate your family’s connections to food and to pass on a commitment to supporting our local food growers and producers to the next generation!

Enjoy!

Ilene Bezahler