May 1, 2012
Marta Ruggles, District Manager

I am fortunate that part of my job allows me to taste great food.  Recently I had two tastings that struck me in such a way that I really started thinking about appreciating food on a different level.  Both tastings were everyday items, but because of the love and ingredients put into the food, the experience came together for me in a unique way.

At  Duke Diet & Fitness I did my usual sampling at lunch.  The white bean with tomatoes and herbs was especially good!  When I mentioned this to Cate, she promptly reminded me that this was an adapted version of the original white beans that went with the salmon at Meriwether’s.  Of course I loved that dish – it was my main meal for many nights when I returned to Lynchburg! So, on a whim, I asked Cate for the recipe.

The following day I was visiting Chatham Hall.  Trey graciously split his time between being "host" and getting lunch out.  A few minutes prior to the girls coming in, he sauteed the freshest, most local greens, which looked and smelled delicious.  I rationalized that it was time to do my job and "sample".  Of course, they were also fabulous.

I am the first to say, I am not a Chef, and of the big 3 (love food, people, serving others)  loving food — such that it involves preparing food vs. eating — is the one that is not as "natural" for me as the others.  This has given me something to think about.  How can I continue to love food more and more in the right way?

In pondering this, my recent tastings, and the spirit of Earth Week – it all started to fall into place.  The result – a trip to the farmers’ market for some local greens, fresh herbs to plant, and later a stop at Whole Foods for some salmon and I was ready to have a few friends over for dinner.  What better way to love food, than to prepare it with my own hands?  I know, the majority of you do this all the time.  But for me, this was special (and a stretch!).  I reviewed the white bean recipe, made my list, picked my fresh herbs, made the white bean ragout, sauteed the greens and broiled/baked the salmon.  The end result – salmon on white bean ragout with fresh sauteed greens and a much deeper appreciation and love of food.

Which of the big 3 (love food, people, serving others) is less natural for you?  To me there is no shame in recognizing it – the shame is in NOT recognizing it and/or not stretching yourself to continue to grow in that area.    With that, I will say….to Be the Best Partner, we need to learn grown and improve, in all areas – even the areas that we think we are already "ok" in…or in BSC "speak," a 3.  I want to be at least a 4 if not a 5.  How about you? 

My mini herb garden is planted, my friends and family are ready to give me feedback, and I am ready to enjoy all the vegetables and fruit of the season.  With that, I will end in appreciation to all of you that work magic with food so naturally.  It is a gift and I look forward to continuing to learn from you.