My Grandfather’s Garden

As a child, I spent many summer hours in my grandfather’s garden. Pure heaven…picking fresh fruit off the vines and trees. Being with him filled me with so much joy.

His energy was always so tender when he was in his garden, ‘talking’ with his plants and he walked softly on the earth, with a quiet reverence and respect.

In spending so much time around plants, I grew up understanding the importance of our connection to the earth and how dependent we truly are on one another.

But most of all, I grew up witnessing how tiny seeds can transform and feed our bodies.

grandfathergarden

Resilience and Discovery

It’s hard to remember a time in my life when food was not at the center, my sun and my moon. Children of larger families often know what it feels like to go to bed hungry, to eat like it’s your last meal, to constantly dream of food. As one of ten, there was never enough food to go around and we learned to live through the hunger, to normalize the empty feeling in our bodies.

I was also the only vegetarian in my family, growing up during a period that lacked the knowledge and expertise on feeding alternative diets. Intuitively, I longed for flavors and spices beyond my exposure of traditional vegetarian fare. This longing sent me on a lifelong journey to uncover the art of spices, textures and layering.

The Culture of Food

After countless hours teaching in school classrooms and kitchens as well as my scholarly pursuits into the field of food studies, my love of food is still center stage. Whether I am researching the historical and cultural lineage of America’s root beer or actually brewing the roots and berries to ferment, I am in love with the culture, history and practices of culinary arts.

Along the way, I have also been humbled by the transformative power of food in nourishing not just the body, but the mind and the spirit as well. And one of the greatest gifts has been watching the way food brings people together from all walks of life and backgrounds and cultivates community connections.

Chef Serenity’s Chicken Coop and Eggs

About Chef Serenity Wood

As a food educator and culinary arts instructor, Serenity has been teaching in the San Diego area for over 10 years, specializing in plant-based, vegetarian, vegan and raw cuisine. Her background includes developing food-based curriculum for school classrooms, providing personalized meal consultation and revitalizing fermented and traditional artisan techniques. She is a cookbook author with a graduate degree in sustainable food systems. Her graduate thesis, “Into the Woods: Memory, Identity and the Transformative Act of Culinary Storytelling” explores the cultural, social and psychological impacts of culinary storytelling~ the blending of food and archetypal stories.