Many of you may not know this but my first love was not always cooking, but in fact, the written word. Prose, as one would have it. I remember my childhood fondly and have vivid memories of most of my time as a chubby little girl. I spent most of my afternoons after junior kindergarten at the library which was just a few steps from my own home. I even have a small poetry book that I still leaf through that is completely stained and crumpled from my years of reading it.
If I wasn’t at the library or bothering my mother for a snack ( rather a small pre-dinner before dinner, as my robustness will have attested to) I was watching The Frugal Gourmet on PBS, or The Galloping Gourmet ( this was on before The Benny Hill Show which I probably shouldn’t have watched as a seven year old but enjoyed nevertheless… I even remember a few Julia Child originals!
So, I do believe my love affair with cooking started at a young age also. As my years in high school showered me with praise in English for my thoughts on certain books and poetry, I decided I would move on to English Lit in University. I did, but found I loved the written word on my own time, and not so much when I was being forced to do it. An artist can never be forced to create. So after years of searching I found myself under the wings of Tony DeLuca, comfortable in cooking and loving it. I had reached my coming of age… as has The Good Earth.
The other day, as I rode around on our golf cart, and the dusty laneway was nowhere to be found as it were, I came across a neighbour who had taken a walk down through the peach trees to see what The Good Earth was up to. He hadn’t been down that road for “somewhat darn near 30 years”.
We chatted about plans, the past, and what was to come. We discussed the importance of the farm land, the soil, the earth that is below us and how The Good Earth would always be part of a farming legacy – not only Nicolette’s, but her father’s. Just as the neighbor concluded he would never leave his piece of land, it would be his until he died there. It struck me then the importance of history, that we NEED to move on in life and to move forward. No matter how frightening each step is along the way, there is a tether to hold on to.
Friends, family, words of encouragement. They keep us focused on what is real, and who we are. And even in the midst of the backhoe beeping and dust flying, there was still a calmness here; dragonflies fleeting from pear tree to peach. And I realized the coming of age had come, and The Good Earth is ready to spread her wings just a bit, if only to allow more people under her comfortable wings.