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Traditions Old and New

Jennifer Burcke at 1840 Farm on The Daily Meal

A few months ago, I was asked by The Daily Meal to share the story of my oldest family recipe.  They went on to ask if I had created a dish that could become a new family tradition.  I couldn’t wait to answer both questions with a single answer:  berry pie.

A homemade berry pie has the power to transport me to my paternal grandmother’s humble kitchen.  My grandmother was a wonderful cook and baker, but pie was her specialty.  Her schwatzenberry pie was my favorite.  It would not be overstating its power to say that those berry pies forever changed my life.

My grandmother’s homemade berry pie taught me that food had the ability to feed my soul. I now know that it also holds the incredible power of transcending time and space, bringing back memories of a grandmother long gone, but known by my children who never had the opportunity to meet her in person.

Instead, they met her memory with the first bite of berry pie savored while listening to me share my fondest memories about her. Every summer, we carefully pick the schwatzenberries from our garden and look forward to the day when we have gathered enough to make the season’s first pie.

Now my love of berry pie has been shared with the world thanks to The Daily Meal.  I’m honored to be mentioned in the same story with the likes of Michael Chiarello, Carla Hall, Marc Murphy, and a collection of other chefs and bloggers who also shared their favorite dishes.

You can see the entire collection in the Kikkoman Tradition Exchange Slideshow.  The collection was assembled and used to introduce The Daily Meal‘s readers to an amazing new documentary, Make Haste Slowly: The Kikkoman Creed.

The documentary from Academy Award nominated filmmaker Lucy Walker tells the inspiring story of the Kikkoman brand.  The mini-documentary traces the evolution of a brand that was started over 300 years ago.  The film also focuses on the bold decision by The Kikkoman Company to begin producing their products in the United States in the 1970s, partnering with Midwestern farmers and local communities.

The film is beautiful and treats the subject with the respect it deserves.  I was particularly taken with the profile of Art Anderson, a retired farmer featured prominently in the film’s narrative.  I challenge you to listen to his personal story without being moved by his dedication and pride.  I was taken with his story and by the fact that he was a dairy farmer before he began his employment at Kikkoman.

Today, I am renewing the traditions of my family’s past and find myself milking our dairy goats in the quiet of our circa 1840 barn.  Apparently, I have more than one family tradition that will be continuing for several years to come.  Luckily, those traditions will ensure that we have homemade berry pie to enjoy with a fresh glass of milk at our family table.

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