Back in the days of Youth Farm’s summer program, it was easy to find a young Eliza Thompson asking to be part of the kitchen crew for the day. Almost every day she wanted to be involved in the kitchen somehow. After years of being involved at Youth Farm and in the kitchen at home, we asked Eliza about her personal food story:

Eliza packing take home salsa kits (fall 2020)

Q: Where does your interest/passion for food come from?

A: I’ve always loved to cook! Currently, I make dinner, or at least help to make dinner, for my family every night. When I am looking for different meal ideas, I sometimes go back through my email to find some of the recipes we have been making this year at Youth Farm.

Q: What does food mean to you? Does it bring back memories, is it central in family gatherings, etc.?

A: Food is important to everyone. In my family, food means taking care of people. If someone isn’t feeling well or is going through a hard time, the first thing we do is make food for them. I think food can also be a really good part of hard days – it is easy to look forward to a good meal.

Eliza, center, serving food at a neighborhood event (summer 2019) with fellow LEAD staff members.

Q: Why is it important for people to learn about and gather around food?

A: I think learning how to cook food that is not only healthy, but truly good and enjoyable, is a great skill to have. Being able to make something and share it with other people feels really good. Last year, my sister returned home from a study abroad trip in Spain and made us a traditional Spanish dish of fried eggs and potatoes – it was a cool way to learn about her trip and another culture.

Q: What are some of your favorite foods to grow, eat, and/or cook?

A: I am definitely more of a baker than a cook! My all-time favorite thing to make is chocolate chip cookies. This year, in our family garden at home, we are growing lots of zucchini. I am excited to harvest those and make zucchini bread.

Q: What things are you still hoping to learn and/or experience related to food?

A: Even though I bake a lot of things I still struggle to make bread, which is something I would love to learn to do! I also really enjoy trying new things and want to continue eating and learning to make foods from other cultures.