“Food made me feel different, not special,” explains Jasmine about her limited school cafeteria choices as a vegetarian child. Feeling different can foster curiosity, empathy and thoughtful awareness for some, while seeding resentment and intolerance in others. For Jasmine, this early awareness perhaps primed her to be the educator for special needs and artist that she is now. She is fiercely curious as she is principled, saying, “I’ll eat anything as long as its not meat.”
(For more about Jasmine’s work now look to the links below.)
Like many of us, Jasmine recalls as a child looking forward to family celebrations. For her these celebrations included dishes from her father’s immigrant background. Croatian food with Turkish, Greek, Italian flavors, Jasmine explains is a lot like American food with multiple ethnic influences. Maybe the hand rolled Croatian pasta she remembers gave her an early awareness of internationalism, diversity and difference.
Jasmine’s global perspective is coupled with an Indiana appreciation for gardening and local farm produce. She owes her vegetarianism and love of cooking to her mom, who offered explanations like “tell people you don’t eat anything with eyes except potatoes” or “if you don’t eat something green, something green will eat you.” She recalls cooking with her mom and conducting blind taste tests of peppers to see if they can guess the color of the peppers. How fun! This combination of humor, awareness and curiosity serves her well in cooking for her own picky toddlers who at the moment love avocados and firm tofu (not touching of course).
For her High School graduation, Jasmine’s mom gave her a cookbook comprised of all her favorite dishes. Even armed with the cookbook, she confesses that she ate only cereal her first semester at college. Cooking is practical and requires practice for Jasmine, who now gardens, cooks, cans, freezes and believes that “taking the time and energy to know the process to make it, makes it better to eat.”
Enjoying cooking as a process of aware conversion, she often shares her experiments on social media and with friends. Here is her peach butter from her homegrown peaches.
and a lemon meringue pie made from a giant lemon from a friend’s garden.
Hungry philosopher Jasmine, Thank you for being both different AND special in your philosophy of good eating. Your approach to food as a source of curiosity, learning, self-sufficiency and fun, remind all of us that sometimes in the search for efficiency and ease we may miss a delicious discovery.
Wishing you many delicious discoveries ahead,
All images courtesy of Jasmine Begeske
Dear Fellow Food Philosophers,
I am collecting food philosophies through three guiding and loose questions:
- Consumption: What are your memories of food?
- Production: What are your guiding principles for making food?
- Demonstration: What would show your philosophy of food?
Please contact me, if you (or anyone you know…..anyone who is involved in making food…not just chefs) would like to share your philosophy with me. Happy to meet with you in person or over Skype. Thank you!