Serious Eating

by Ben Gotschall

Series of photos of market foods

I take food seriously.

As an organic producer of milk, meat and other food products, I often forget that most Americans just don’t share that seriousness. Whether I’m milking cows, separating cream from skim or making cheese, a hands-on relationship with food seems natural to me, even mundane. Other times, I’m overwhelmed with pride in the work and gratitude for the connections it fosters between the land, food, customers and me.

Customers visit the farm because they enjoy the milk and cheese and because they want to meet me. They want to see the animals and landscape that come together in their food.

I take this connection seriously—because it’s how I make a living, and because it’s part of who I am. I am, among other things, a person who feeds people.

So when Professor Emerita of Library Science Janet Lu invited me (and everyone at Nebraska Wesleyan) to her 12th annual Chinese New Year dinner, I was interested not just because I like Chinese food. Lu’s dinner was about sharing her culture through food. She obviously took her food as seriously as I do. And I was in.