Feeling Ready

Let me introduce myself. My name is Julie and I am a new Kitchen All Stars instructor with Brainfood this year. As a member of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, I applied for this position with Brainfood with the hope of bringing together my love for food, my interest in promoting community engagement in youth , and my passion for social justice. By working at Brainfood, I hope to bring together both the “foodie” and the “social science nerd” in me!


                   We made sage cornbread for our
              Weekly Classroom Assitant orientation

My first few weeks at Brainfood have been filled with organization, planning, and preparation. Brainfood staffers have been travelling all over the District for student recruitment, orientations, and trainings of all sorts. 
While it’s been interesting to see all the different neighborhoods that surround where we live and work, migrating all over the city has left me feeling a little unsettled. As such, I was thrilled when I was given two days last week to spend alone in the  kitchen, organizing and cleaning the space. 

The pots and pans are now nicely stacked, the oils and vinegars placed on properly labeled shelves, and fresh ingredients sit waiting in the pantry. The kitchen finally feels ready!

As you can probably tell, I am someone who loves routine. I love schedule; I love lists; I love organization. “But Julie,” you might ask, “food is so messy…why are you so excited about being a part of Brainfood this year?” Yes; food, in all of its forms, can be very messy – you should have seen the dirt under my fingernails last Tuesday after harvesting Swiss chard with Lyssa, our garden manager, last week or the numerous tears I shed every time I try to chop onions. Nonetheless, I see food as a safe space for experimentation. It’s an easy way to have fun, get messy, and make mistakes. Sometimes I love the comfort of an old recipe, reading it through in order, going step by step, knowing that if I follow the instructions the final product will turn out as satisfyingly scrumptious as it was the last time. However, food also allows me to be adventurous. There’s nothing stopping me from adding some cayenne to my favorite chocolate cake, or trying ginger and apple in my morning smoothie instead of banana and peanut butter. Cooking is simultaneously safe and adventurous.

The joy that I get from cooking is not just from the process or the final product – although that is definitely a part of it – but also from the memories made cooking with others. While I’ve only yet seen my students’ names written out on paper, I am excited to get to know my class better as we cook, learn, and eat together throughout this year.



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