For my 49th, my 3 sisters (Karen, Kathleen and Beth) took me to a food experience by an organization called Outstanding in the Field. It took place at an organic farm, known as, Animal Farm in Cat Springs, Texas. It's a "roving culinary adventure" and their mission is to
re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.
|Karen on the left and Kathleen on the right|
We had to hike to get to the main building. It wasn't far, but your boots better have been on your feet. Some got the memo...some ladies did not. We walked on all types of surfaces.
We arrived at the main building and had our appetizers which were fresh Gulf oysters with fish sauce mignonette, and you ate them right out of the shell...no plate, just a napkin.
The next appetizer was grilled Animal Farm shishito peppers, preserved lemon, kimchi emulsion. They had these grilling on a fire pit in the middle of everything...
We saw all types of flora that not one of us knew.
Edible, poisonous? Please let me know, someone.
|We hiked in low grass,|
|on dirt roads,|
|and in taller green stuff.|
|We saw greenhouses filled with flowers|
|Horses with no names|
|My sister Kathleen|
Here comes the inspiring part. And it's a W-H-O-L-E lot better than my set-up. Standing there with the sun shining down on him, Jim Denevan, the founder, had a profound message for all of us creatives. Although I didn't interview him, I want to share some of the story he told.
He started doing these events in 1999. His first supper had 12 guests. 12. He was a starving artist. He carted the people and the equipment in a bus. A broken down bus. Going from state to state partnering with celebrated chefs and serving primarily local foods at these events, he also did the layouts of the tables at each venue to meld with the surroundings of the unique outdoor setting. Sometimes when the event was near the ocean, he would do large scale drawings in the sand. He sold his first piece of art for six figures after one of these epic sketches caught the attention of Range Rover, who asked him to do one for their upcoming campaign. Since then, his oceanside art has taken him all over the world and received national recognition in museums like the MOMA.
|My sister Beth and I|
There is so much more I could tell you about this day: More about the food we ate, the bugs everywhere (the caterpillar on my shoulder and the lovebugs in our water), the rain that fell, things we laughed about . . . it was magical. I felt just like a kid seeing something for the very first time - that sense of awe powered by the excitement in my stomach. I wanted more bugs, more dirt roads, more rain. Wanting to smell every smell, pet every flower with my camera at my side made me realize I don't want more stuff for my next birthday, I just want this all over again.
|My sister Karen|
Thanks to all my sisters for showing me how to work hard, how to be creative, and for continuing to be my cheerleaders. They were the first people to boost me up about starting my business and that is a gift in and of itself. Oh, and by the way, two of my sisters are single . . . what can I say? I'm always trying to help others find love.