I am the mother of three grade-school age boys and I am passionate about travel, the environment and healthful eating. While at home with our boys during their formative years, our bi-weekly trips to Arthur Avenue would culminate in a visit to the Bronx Zoo or the Bronx Botanical Gardens, where we would quench our thirst for “travel” and learn about local and exotic flora and fauna. I have back-packed across Europe, visited with family in New Zealand, traveled by bus and boat in India, walked the bush on African safari, and SCUBA dived in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef. Having experienced many different cultures firsthand, I fervently believe that exposure to local cuisines can lay the foundation for a lifelong appreciation of any culture.
I graduated Bucknell University pre-med, with a Major in Psychology and Minor in Biology. However, it was a cooking class during a semester abroad at Lorezo D’Medici University in Florence Italy that piqued my interest in the relationship between a culture and its cuisine. Weekend excursions to Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Poland, Hungry and Austria introduced me to the idea that a “people” was as much about what they ate as the geographical borders that defined where they lived. What was local, seasonal and fresh was what was good. After receiving a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University, I opted to stay home while raising our young family. After our youngest entered Kindergarten, and in search of means to combine my public health background with my love of travel, it was fortuitous that Meredith Outwater was looking to pass the reins of Gourmet Globetrotters to someone equally as passionate about food and culture.
When time provides, we cook together as a family. It was through these interactions I discovered that when children participate in the preparation of a meal, they are more likely to enjoy it. Additionally, discussions about ingredients and where they come from provide an introduction to many more conversations about ecology, the environment and conservation. Why do I purchase root vegetables in the winter rather than asparagus, artichokes or apricots? How do we find creative ways to serve up a bumper crop of tomatoes in August? Why does the egg laying productivity of our chickens taper off in the fall and begin anew in March? I hope to provide insight into these questions and many more through classes that incorporate cooking, gardening, science and lessons on the stewardship of our environment.
In the end,
we will conserve only what we love,
we will love only what we understand,
we will understand only what we are taught.
- Baba Dioum
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