Looking back over this issue, it seems that food has a strong pull as a second career. A woman leaves finance to bake cupcakes; an ad man succumbs whole hog to his passion for ham and a member of the Shinnecock Nation decides to grow his own oysters after working in retail. Matthew Kurek and Maggie Wood started out as muscians. This is not even taking into account the number of men and women who have turned to wine as a new venture, such as Mark Lieb. His salesman, John Morales, started in the garment district and now, as writer Michael Braverman notes, is “like other people I have met in the wine trade, so focused and so ardent about his work, that it is impossible to imagine him satisfied in a job not involving a bottle, a glass and a generous pour.”
Take a look at the advertisements. Russ McCall is selling grassfed beef in addition to his pinot noir, and the Hamptons Honey guys own gift shops in Manhattan.
What’s the draw? Is it something about getting out to the East End and feeling the air and smelling the grass and salt air and getting hungry? Is it just that there are people who live to eat, and as a result are doing all the work for the people who eat to live? I think it may be something like success in another field outside the home can lead one to concentrate on what goes on inside the home, inside the kitchen. It slows things down. It brings people together. Eating is something we all have to do at least once a day (I have friends who find preparing three meals a day a drag, bordering on a burden), and success, or the satisfaction of putting one’s excellence reflex into what you’re putting in your body, can be the equivalent of being there, right now. Time feels expansive.
There’s an easy way to honor those who have indirectly come to the path of nourishment, and those, who also populate these pages, who are lifelong diehards: farmers like the Davises, our Farmgirl Angst contributor Marilee Foster, and all of the professionals who have made feeding people, through food and wine, their one path in life. Go to www.ediblecommunites.com/heroes and vote for your favorite farm or farmer, chef or restaurant, food, beverage, artisan. The final category is nonprofit organization. It’s important. There are many people who work selflessly to preserve the land that can provide second careers.
Eileen M. Duffy
P.S. Brian Halweil is taking a one-issue sabbatical as he finishes a book for the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project.