My food hero: my mum

My food hero Mardi Michels

Are you looking for a way to give back to the community this holiday season? How about honouring those who inspire you in the kitchen everyday at the same time. This December, Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) is once again celebrating the food heroes in our lives, and inviting you to do the same.

What is Community Food Centres Canada?

CFCC provides resources and a proven approach to partner organizations across Canada to create Community Food Centres that bring people together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food. CFCC also works with the broader food movement to help empower communities to work toward a healthy and fair food system. Imagine a Canada where everyone has the means and knowledge necessary to access good, healthy food in a dignified way, and the ability and opportunity to be heard on the food issues that affect them? This is CFCC’s ultimate goal.

How can you help CFCC?

This holiday season, show your food hero you care by making a donation to CFCC on their behalf. They’ll receive a personalized card and recipe gift booklet on your behalf. You’ll be helping CFCC reach even more low-income Canadians with empowering food programs that build better health, hope, and belonging.

Who’s your food hero?

Everyone has a food hero: maybe it’s grandma who spoils the grand-children with treats (that was both of mine!), maybe it’s mum or dad who teaches the kids to make their favourite meal, or maybe it’s that group of friends who gather for amazing dinners. Maybe it’s someone in the food movement who works tirelessly to make sure everyone has access to healthy food.  This holiday season, celebrate those people who make your days, nights, and holidays more special with good food with a donation that can make sure more low-income Canadians can access the healthy food they need.

My food hero

Last year when I shared a story about my food hero, I chose my nana. I was really torn because I wanted to choose my mum too. This year, I’m honouring her by sharing this story.

It sounds cliché to say that my food hero is my mum but she is honestly one of the biggest reasons I am “into” food at all.

When I was growing up in the 1970s, my sister and I were eager spectators to many, many dinner parties held by my mum and dad – think food and wine à go-go with a soundtrack of The Alan Parsons Project, Supertramp, Elton John and the Eagles.  Sometimes we even got to come out of the bedroom where we were holed up dancing on someone’s bed, singing into a hairbrush (well that was me, my sister was probably doing her homework…) and get to serve the adult guests some delicious claret which we would pour right up to the rim of the glass — which was affectionately known as a “Nana pour” in our house.

Mum would spend the day in the kitchen cooking and preparing amazing food and we always got tastes while she was working. What I remember most about the food she cooked was that she was making all sorts of what seemed like exotic dishes way before they were mainstream. She experimented in the kitchen and wasn’t afraid to try new recipes. We travelled a lot when I was younger so we were lucky – we’d always had a more open mind to different foods.

I’m sure she had her share of kitchen failures but I don’t remember them. I used to watch mum pour over food magazines and the food section in the newspaper, marking off items that she wanted to try, cutting them out and pasting them in a scrapbook and eventually writing notes next to the dishes she tried.

When I moved to Paris at the age of 24, I took with me a folder full of photocopied recipes from that scrapbook – recipes for things as diverse as “Shya’s potato curry” (a childhood friend who shared her own mum’s recipe with our family) to things as simple as Anzac biscuits. Something every Australian grows up eating!

I still have (and refer to) that folder today, although my mum’s handwriting on those photocopies is slowly fading. I’ve posted many of those recipe (with my own adaptations) on my blog – I guess it’s my way of carrying on my mum’s kitchen legacy long after her handwriting fades.

I always think of my mum as being a bit fearless in the kitchen and I hope I’m able to encourage my young students to be the same.

Thanks, mum.

CFCC my food hero campaign 2017
So, what about you – who’s your food hero? Tell their story here and consider making a donation in their name to Community Food Centres Canada this holiday season. They’ll receive a tribute card and recipe gift booklet on your behalf. Donate before December 31 and the generous folks at Precision Nutrition will match every gift up to $30,000.



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