My idea of a longer table has always been to squeeze in just one more chair, or two around an already crowded table. There's always been room for one more, especially when food is on the table.
This was what I grew up knowing. Food grown and prepared with love was something we looked forward to. And my sister and I extended our tables to include family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and strangers. Even if it meant eating on a folding chair, picnic bench or makeshift stool, we somehow made space.
New York City skyline
Friends have done the same for me, always welcoming me into their homes with generosity and love. Fond memories of a client who became a friend and included me at her sumptuous Thanksgiving spreads. Lynda and her sister made Thanksgiving extraordinary in a lovely New York apartment filled with people they cared about. The first time I was alone on Thanksgiving she insisted that I come...glad I did. Gourmet Magazine picture perfect and equally delicious Thanksgiving meals with family and friends.
Thanksgiving at my sisters...always a good time.
Those longer tables marry a balance of taste, ingredients and visual appeal. I'm fortunate to know so many people who know how to do this so well. I took a cooking class many years ago, and the chef asked us to close our eyes so we could taste the food. It's helped me learn how to adjust seasonings or cooking times for the best dish. Just another pinch, smidgen or dash will often be just what's needed to make a dish indescribably delicious. And when my family closes their eyes and savors every bite, I know I'm on to something good. Clean plates and second helpings also tell the story of a good meal.
Having had the pleasure of cooking alongside family and friends, I know for sure that preparing and serving food comes from a place of deep love and caring for others. My Cleveland foodie family demonstrates their their love of food, how and where it’s grown and how we get to share meals together. I learn so much whenever we’ve gathered. The food is delicious, however their company is even better.
Creating real food for others to enjoy is a privilege. Food for the body and soul.
Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland food and lifestyle company.
Pat's Granola is sold online at www.patsgranola.com and is also available at selected Northeast Ohio businesses including:
Troubadour Coffee Roasters www.troubadourcoffeeroasters.com
Sports and Spine Physical Therapy www.sportspine.com
Local Flavors Shoppe www.localflavors.net
Locle Box www.loclebox.com
Made Cleveland www.madecleveland.com
Mister Brisket www.misterbrisket.com
Nature's Oasis Lakewood www.naturesoasis.com
Happy Cows Group Share Happy Cows Group Share
The Corner at The Van Aken District The Corner at The Van Aken District
Sweet Bean Candies Sweet Bean Candies
Listen to Pat's story: