Our relationship with food is one of the most intimate we will ever experience. It’s the one thing we introduce into our bodies daily; the thing that literally sustains us, allows us to continue on. These days, there is an obsession with food unlike any other time in history. We count calories, cut carbs, plan our eating around macronutrients and superfoods, or time-efficient packaging. Mealtime has been revamped from old fashioned chopping, stewing, and serving to restaurant dining or grabbing careless bites as you make your way through days much too busy to cook. Amidst this modernization of eating, there are yet some left who do more than wait on a pot to boil, or an oven to preheat. Doing more than just cooking the occasional homemade meal, this group retains an appreciation for bygone ways of sourcing their food, hunting ingredients from a friendly neighbors’ garden or local farmer. Though small and unobtrusive, this group is growing thanks the efforts of a few determined eaters.
Along with our national preoccupation with what we eat, there has emerged yet another foodie phenomena: it’s own dedicated sector of journalism. Food writing has exploded in popularity over the last twenty years, helping us to understand our own dietary habits in ways our grandparents never needed explained. From recipe sharing, to restaurant reviews, to a wealth of scientific (often shifting) conclusions about what kinds of food are best for our taste buds and bodies, each attempts to describe an entity as old as mankind.
Sasha Swerdloff is a steady voice among the clamour. Whether it’s testing out recipes starring foraged ingredients, or sourcing local purveyors she trusts for meat and dairy, she contends to keep an idyllic form of hunting and gathering a part of her life. As an Oregon native, it comes as no surprise that she’s pro-local and organic, but through her recipes and the recounting of her days on her own richly written food blog, Tending the Table, she depicts a loyalty to best-practice produce that’s much deeper than trend. She’s intent on creating a thoughtful change in the way her readers eat, by inviting them into a vulnerable, honest look at her life from which they leave encouraged and touched by a sprig of beauty. Her blog is the seed of a growing story, planted in the soil of a childhood lived out on a farm, sprouted by her collegiate years in rural Vermont, that now matures in an unlikely place: the city. It’s there that she invites us to share an open seat next to strangers and friends, to learn a bit and share a bite of Brunch at the Table.