By Michele D. Baker
The beginning of fall is such a wonderful time – it’s still hot, but the days are a bit shorter, and there is a promise in the air that soon it will be cooler. There’s much to be grateful for: enough daylight for long picnics, abundant fruits and vegetables bursting from backyard gardens and farmers’ markets, and the many culinary giants who call Mississippi home.
August also brings with it my birthday, and as I look forward to turning 53, I reflect on the journey that brought me here and now, as editor of a food magazine. My whole life has revolved around food. From the time I was in elementary school with my friends from Turkey, India, Spain, and Iceland – and eating the lunches their moms packed – I have loved food.
While I was in high school, my family belonged to the local food co-op and so I had the good fortune to have fresh vegetables and organic flour and coffee delivered straight to our door step. When I went away to college, my father and stepmom moved to Massachusetts and had a huge backyard garden. Periodically, I’d get packages at my college post office box filled with preserves, homemade soap and other goodies. Around this time, I also began collecting cookbooks from across the globe.
I also had the good fortune to live in Germany for two years, and to enjoy the incredible traditional foods prepared there, everything from Wiener schnitzel to sauerkraut to brez’n (pretzels). Of course, Oktoberfest was also a treat – I’m sure that’s the origin of my deep love for beer.
I began writing for Jackson Free Press and doing freelance restaurant reviews. I also wrote for the (now sadly defunct) DeSoto Magazine for the amazing Mary Ann DeSantis and Chere Coen, whom I credit with teaching me how to craft stories in an interesting way, and who recommended me to eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. When our editor left for a new position, she recommended me as her replacement. That was nearly one year ago, and I haven’t stopped thanking the heavens yet.
So to you, loyal readers, I say this: THANK YOU for allowing me to think, write, and dream about food every day. You’ve made my passion a reality, and I am grateful for it. I now have an entire shelf dedicated to cookbooks which I browse like novels for inspiration, so bon appétit!