For the Love of Food

ICYMI, this past Monday, October 24, was Food Day, an annual national celebration headed up by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. It was created a handful of years ago to encourage Americans to be more mindful about their eating habits and take ownership of their well-being, and to bring attention to policies—or lack thereof—regarding accessibility to healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.

To “observe” Food Day, one needs only to commit to making some sort of food-related change to his or her normal habits—anything from giving up soda to supporting farmers at the local farmers’ market to reading up on how Members of Congress voted on certain food policy issues. Some towns and college campuses put together big events to encourage their communities to join in on making these changes or identifying local food- and nutrition-related issues that need their attention. In doing so, they hope that these personal commitments and community-wide achievements last well beyond the one day once the momentum kicks in and everyone sees the positive results of what their efforts can make.

For me, food has played an enormous role in my life, starting from the time I was a child. Every Sunday, my Nonna Rosa would pick fresh herbs and vegetables from her backyard garden and, when I was old enough to stand on a chair and lean over the kitchen table, call me downstairs (we used to live above her in a two-family house) to help her prepare fresh, homemade pasta, hand-cranked through the heavy, metal pasta machine that had traveled with her on her journey from Italy to America. In that small kitchen, we cooked pounds of pasta al dente, served in an enormous bowl with the sauce—studded with heavy, hand-rolled polpette (meatballs)—that had been simmering in the big pot on the stove all day. Alongside the large bowl of pasta would sit a platter of sautéed spinach with fresh cloves of garlic or a dish of plump, stewed tomatoes with ceci (garbanzo beans), anchovies, fresh parsley, and basil. The aromas were enticing, even to the olfactory of five-year-old me!

Spending time learning and cooking with my Nonna Rosa remains one of my fondest memories of all time. Not only was there a sense of accomplishment associated with making our own food and feeding it to our family, but I became enamored and inspired by Nonna as she shared with me—in her broken English—stories about how she came to America, how she worked in a coat factory and saved up her own money, and how she was determined to be an independent woman in this new land, something unheard of for her generation.

Not too long ago, my dear friend and fellow Registered Dietitian (and foodie and blogger and New Yorker), Marsha, from SalutNutrition, interviewed me about the tastes and traditions of Italian cuisine. It was so fun, sitting with Marsha on a breezy, beautiful day in Central Park telling stories* about my family and my love of food. If you have about 15 minutes to spare, I invite you to watch and learn a little more about the food and culture of my family’s hometown in Italy:

Marsha launches a new YouTube episode each week on different foods and habits from across the globe. Click here to subscribe to her channel.

What are some of your favorite food memories? Are there any habits you have made, want to change, or looking to learn about? Please feel free to add your comments below and share this post with anyone you think who might love food as much as we do.

*VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: My mother had a chance to watch this video when it launched earlier in the week and yelled at me for forgetting to talk about the “Feast of the Seven Fishes” (an Italian Christmas Eve tradition). I clearly did not prepare well enough for this interview; otherwise, I would never have let this happen. Marsha denied my request to re-shoot the entire interview so that I could correct my error. Thankfully, I wrote a post about it a few years ago and you can read all about it here.

Change Food (Sat, 11/12/16): Growing the Good Food Movement

If you’re a part of my Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn network, you might have seen that I announced that my boyfriend and I will be hosting a viewing party of the Change Food live-streaming event “Growing the Good Food Movement” at our apartment in the East Village, New York City, on Saturday, November 12, 2016. As I did for the past two years with the TEDxManhattan events we hosted, I’m opening the invitation to anyone who follows me (or reads this post).


  • Food will be provided (menu still TBD), but you can BYO food or beverages, if you wish.
  • Kids are welcome.
  • We have cats in case you are allergic.
  • This is not a fund-raiser; there is no charge to attend.

The entire event is from 10:30 am – 6:00 pm ET. Since we have a teeny apartment, we are asking everyone to RSVP by Wed, 11/9 for their preferred session(s), noted below, so it doesn’t get too crowded. (I’ll e-mail you our exact address after you’ve replied).

Session 1 (10:30 AM – 1:30 PM)

“The Changing Business of Food” – How we shop, eat and dine is changing. In this session, we’ll explore this change and some of the impacts on our food. Speakers:

  • Bruce Friedrich, The Good Food Institute & New Crop Capital
  • Andrew Ive, FOOD-X (Quickbites)
  • Tera Johnson, Food Finance Institute
  • Eric Kessler, Arabella Advisors
  • Dawn Moncrief, A Well-Fed World
  • Erica Orange, The Future Hunters
  • Paul Willis, Niman Ranch Pork Company (Quickbites)

Session 2 (1:45 – 4:00 PM)

“Business Doing it Right” – As more entrepreneurs enter the marketplace, more companies are looking toward safe, healthy, delicious food. Meet some who are doing it right and are part of the force behind today’s food system change. Speakers:

  • Erika Block, Local Orbit
  • Alain Coumont, Le Pain Quotidien (Quickbites)
  • Adam Eskin, Dig Inn
  • Jason Green, Edenworks
  • Justin Johnson, Sustainable | Kitchens
  • Ashley Koff, Ashley Koff Approved
  • Annalyn Lavey, Square Roots Urban Growers
  • Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue
  • Scott Norton, Sir Kensington’s (Quickbites)
  • Sam Polk, Everytable

Session 3 (4:15 – 6:00pm)

“Real Change Right Now” – There are people you might not know, working on a grassroots level, who are not only growing and providing food, they are bolstering local economies and saving lives. Meet some of them. These are the real rockstars of today. Speakers:

  • Loren Cardeli, A Growing Culture
  • Tessa Edick, FarmOn! Foundation
  • Tony Hillery, Harlem Grown
  • Cary Junior, SouthEast Michigan Producers Association (SEMPA)
  • Ashley Koff, Ashley Koff Approved
  • Angel Rodriguez, Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha

We look forward to sharing good food and conversation with you!

If you are unable to attend, but would like to learn more about the event or watch on your own, click here to visit the official Change Food website. Please feel free to post comments below about what you thought after watching the event.