If you ask me about my family, I will undoubtedly mention food. Meals have always been a centerpiece of our time together. The table is where we come together, not just to eat, but to talk, to share, to be a family.
For years, we would gather at The Farm, as we call my grandparents’ home, for weekly dinner. Twelve people spanning 59 years in age would cram around the kitchen table for Sunday afternoon or Monday night dinner.
These days, the gatherings are less frequent and more hectic: The original 12 has become 26 and now includes seven infant-to-preschool-age great-grandchildren. We don’t fit around that dinner table any more, but we still gather to break bread—or pork and applesauce, aebleskiver at Christmas, or summer and fall vegetables from the big garden.
I imagine many people would share some version of this story—a family, or community, that comes together around food. And yet, I also know that there are many whose story is very different, people for whom food is not a joy but a coveted necessity in short supply.
In Wyoming, I worked with a program that helped provide weekend food for children who otherwise depended on school meals to survive. Some of the children’s families had lost jobs or suffered medical emergencies that decimated their budgets; other children were victims of neglect or parents’ drug abuse. Said one third-grader, receiving the food: “Somebody really does care about me, don’t they?” Food, for her, was hope.
I am fascinated by the many roles that food plays in our lives: That something as simple as a sandwich can mean survival, or that in another context it may be an entertainment, a symbol of a culture and heritage, or even a prop in the complexity of human relationships.
This issue of Pacific magazine explores food and its connection to the Pacific University story. Read what students eat and how they stay healthy on campus. Learn how what you eat speaks to who you are. Find out how students, professors, staff and alumni are seeking solutions to food inequity in our world. Meet Pacific alumni who are farmers, brewers and vintners. And, go online to share your own stories (and recipes!) with us.
Jenni M. Luckett
Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org