Origin Story: A Foodie from Way Back

My motto is simple: You are what you eat.

Hi my name is Ben Jones and I am New Mexico red chile, döner Kebab, chicken makhani, latkes and tacos al pastor. I am a believer that food is the best indicator for who a person is and what they are about. Food is like a biographic novel that you carry around with you, in that it is a look into the tastes, beliefs, travels and loves of that person. An introspective look into the important things in life, the things that make people happy. Every person in some way or another is a foodie, they may just not know it. I encourage anyone to get out of their comfort zone and try something new for the first time, and who knows, you might just be happy that you tried it. When I was growing up my mom lived by the motto, that if you don’t eat what the grown ups are eating, you aren’t eating. And seriously, that was the best gift my mom ever could have given me.

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My food obsession started cooking in the kitchen with my grandparents. Whether is what making latkes on Hanukah nights or pannekoeken on Saturday mornings, I was always incredibly interested in food, the flavors, the process of making it and the elegance behind it. I always think back to my family meals at my grandmother’s house, where a house turns into a small restaurant with a full wait staff, a four course dinner menu and lots of hearty family banter. My grandmother is meticulous in her presentation and cooks with such love.

She always takes such care to make sure that each one of her guests, even her family, is not only well fed but fed like we were at a Michelin star-ed restaurant. It was always the perfect pairing of casual elegance. No dish was complete without a sprig of parsley for color, the omnipresent radish rose, that took both finesse and knife skills to produce. The meal, at times, took the whole day to prepare, if not two, every fork and knife were in alignment, the crystal set up perfectly, not a napkin out of place. If you intended to leave not completely busting at the seams, you were lying to yourself. Family meals became a whirlwind of empty plates, white table cloths, dirty silverware and full bellies. And don’t even get me started on holidays.

Thinking back to those days it wasn’t necessarily the event or even the food that I was fascinated with, but what the food itself became. It was the driving force for my family to come together and enjoy each other’s company. It was the main actor in the theater that was my family gatherings. Food became a reminder of the good times I had, a focal point of pleasurable talks and the good times that will come in the future.

My love for food fully transformed when I started traveling with my family. It could have been my first time eating raw herring in the Netherlands, my first bowl of käsespätzle in southern Germany or eating small fried fish on the shores of the Bosporus in Istanbul that transformed me but I think it was simply a combination of all of the them. Food itself is complex and something that permeates all facets of daily life. It is in itself a communication style, something that can span languages and cultural differences. In a world of differences, the smile after a delicious bite of food is something we all have in common.

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