I was looking through some of the books from my Grandma’s recipe collection, some very old books dating back to the 1930’s and 40’s and it got me thinking about the impact the war years had on our food and sense of community. As I flicked through the dogeared pages and carefully turned tatty pages from these well-used books and pamphlets I saw some of Grandmas’ writings written in pencil and got a little teary as I realized just how much I missed the women, who influenced my life so deeply. Grandma was a very old fashioned, disciplined, strong women, who taught be many of her recipes. As I flicked through those pages, I could almost taste the foods of my childhood.
Food is such a great connector and I have been so very lucky in my tearoom business, being able to recreate some of those dishes and sharing it with others. When I first arrived in the USA, I found food was a great connector across the great divide of ocean, political difference and time itself. When we sit around the table and break bread we are building connections. If you ever come to a themed dinner or bake class or even on one of my Traditional Tours, you’ll be served family style, on a long table, reminiscent of the street party trestle tables from the end of the war celebrations, which we still ‘do’ as street parties to celebrate anything from Royal weddings to Coronations. You’ll be with other like-minded people, sharing the food and getting to meet new people, strangers at first but inevitably you'll leave as friends. Understanding where food comes from, making meals from scratch and as in England so much of the food is artisan and farm to fork, it's a foodies dream.
Was it my intention to create such amazing immersive experiences when I started out in my business? Truthfully, no. But the format of our events came naturally as ‘typically English’ , it was, in fact, all I knew.
So as we start to move in to the holiday season. And now I understand what ‘holiday’ really means in America, after serving food here for many years, it is a time to celebrate those food traditions, get a little nostalgic and form new bonds as we get together with family friend, loved ones and even strangers.
I leave you with this question. How can you build a connection with food, in your business?
I was speaking to a coaching client only last week and the same realization came up. In order to make a book signing more interactive and to connect more with the audience, why not make Grandma’s meatball recipe she brought over from Italy and make it a meaningful connection with the audience as they experience a little bit of Grandma’s story, which impacted how she turns up as an author. Food nourishes the body but it's the sense of connection we feel that nourishes the soul.
"Food, connection and authenticity is all around us – we just need to thumb through the pages of our own lives to see it."
If you'd like to work with Tina to help you craft your story and implement your own unique experiences, you can contact Tina or come along to the next business growth retreat.