I grew up in a neighborhood where fresh ingredients and a local market were always just a stone’s throw away. Grams cooked by “feel” with all natural and fresh ingredients. Eating dinner together every night was a mandatory ritual, was done around the kitchen table and even though we didn’t always get along real well, we ALWAYS came together over meals…. When I moved to a new area, food was all of a sudden associated with convenience; and markets were big mega-chains with the same staples you could find at any other market. There was a HUGE gap between culture, community and food.
This is how I cook today – I’m always on the look out for a farmer’s market or mom and pop store that’s BIG on produce!