My name is Heather Knape and I have been eating food for the past forty-one years. I usually like what I taste, but it hasn’t always been that way. As a child I refused to eat peanut butter unless it was spiced and served as part of an Indonesian rijsttafel. Between the ages of three and twenty-three I rejected all seafood and for many years was convinced that I didn't like fruit. Only recently did it become obvious that fruit is actually delicious, when it is ripe.
Today I have my own family. Finding a happy medium between foods that they (my children and husband) like to eat and foods that I like to eat is challenging, as is finding the time to actually prepare all that. And then there is the garden, a whole other time consuming member of the family who also likes to get special attention at our kitchen table.
Most days of the week I attempt to put dinner on that table for my family. Some nights I cook, some nights we go out, some nights we eat take-out, some nights it comes from the freezer and some nights, on special occasions, my husband will make something fancy like pork belly or homemade pizza. But by and large, I am the provider of the hum-drum daily meal. The everyday sustenance that keeps us all going. Over and over again, three hundred and sixty-five days a year.
Luckily, I remain enchanted in my own domain. There are many small pleasures that captivate, charm and delight me. I am the lighter of the grill, from which I get a perverse pleasure out of teaching my children how to burn things in the backyard. I am the waterer of the artichoke plant, mulcher of the lemon tree, trimmer of the roses and sower of seeds, because nothing fills me with awe more than witnessing plants grow from the ground, given merely water, sun, and soil. And I am also the puller of weeds, sweeper of floors, scooper of cat litter and cleaner of bathrooms, simply because no one else will do it. I am glad that it all gets done.
Once a month I abandon my family for San Francisco's Mission district, where I lead a book club called Food Lit. We meet at the 18 Reasons community space to eat and discuss books that are about food, where we like to have authors and other experts join us for our discussions. You can read more about the club in Jackie Burrell's article from the San Jose Mercury News and Sarah Henry's post on KQED's Bay Area Bites. You can learn about 18 Reaons in the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times and on their own website.