In March, the university celebrated its 131st birthday. It included a full banquet served by Dining Services. For what is a celebration without food? For that matter, what is our university without it?
And where would we even be?
If Utah County legislators had their way in 1888, it would have been in Spanish Fork had there not been a persuasive argument in favor of Cache Valley for its prestige in agriculture.
Our place in the state continues this distinction these many decades later. And what could be more noble and worthwhile than the sharing of knowledge surrounding the production, protection, and preparation of food? I have hundreds of magazines readily available through my Kindle Reader, but the one publication I look forward to each month comes in my email via Kathy’s Corner, a monthly USU newsletter from the Iron County Extension Office. It encapsulates what speaks so well about our land-grant charge, for what Kathy Riggs, USU Extension professor, shares is academic knowledge distilled into tips that are truly relevant in our daily lives, like her primer on the benefits of family mealtime, complete with a Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes recipe.
Relevant and tangible, if it is to be grasped and passed on, says Native American Culinary Association founder Nephi Craig. He is a master chef from the White Mountain Apache Tribe who was on campus in March talking about reconnecting indigenous peoples to their roots through food. The sharing of a recipe, as it is with a meal, has potential to be transformational. He sees it literally as a transfer of ancestral knowledge. There is power in food memories, neuropaths formed to last a lifetime so that when we taste it again, it brings us back to that moment, including our college years, says Alan Andersen, director of Dining Services. Like the memory held in an old-fashioned homemade Aggie doughnut, or a warm slice of Hazel’s Bread. And who knows what memories hold in store for our our newest rising star, Aggie Chocolate?
In this issue, you will find lost foods, and foods that bring people and communities together. I hope that you will find some new recipes to add to your own family collections, and new food insights and appreciation along the way. For food not only sustains and nourishes us, but also binds and defines us as human beings, and is always there to comfort in times of sadness, and celebrate in moments of joy.