Kitchen Connection - Kitchen Connection Founding Story
Like a good cookbook, Kitchen Connection is truly infused with flavors and ideas from all over the world. Kitchen Connection is designed to bring the international Foodie experience right to you!
How did Kitchen Connection get its start? Follow my blog series, “What’s Cookin’ on Kitchen Connection” to find out what inspired Kitchen Connection and where it will take us next.
That moment in life where everything changes? From a chance meeting to surprise news, there are little moments of change all around us. For me, that moment was in the middle of my 4 months abroad through the program Semester at Sea.
I was in Spain when I lost my wallet. On the streets of Cadiz, it seamlessly disappeared. As if things could get any worse, my only emergency debit card was swallowed hours later by an ATM. Enter panic mode. It was too late at night to have someone from the bank get the machine to give me back the debit card it had just eaten like a delicious tapa.
The very next day I was embarking for Ghana, and I had nothing but $50 in cash in my cabin. Because I didn’t have any plans to stay somewhere in Ghana, I didn’t know where I was going to end up, so there was no way to have any money wired to me. Amid my personal madness, I rationalized that the $50 would be enough for me to at least have two meals a day for the five days I would be there.
“It’ll all be fine. I probably won’t starve,” I told myself.
I ended up being so much more than fine. I had arranged to Couchsurf with a family in Ghana that I only knew through email; there was no WiFi on the ship, so I wasn’t even able to download their picture from their emails. The first time I met them was at port, shortly after we docked. They embraced me into such warmth that I immediately felt at home. For months, I hadn’t really been part of a ‘home’—sure, the ship was my home, and I had been in numerous houses on my travels, but there’s nothing like going to a solid foundation every day and seeing familiar, inviting faces. It was like my own personal Thanksgiving.
There was just so much love surrounding the experience. There I was, a stereotypical American with money to spare, and this family had welcomed me with open arms, feeding and taking care of me for the duration of my stay.
Sitting on their floor, eating my last meal with the Benneh’s, all I could think was, “When will I ever get to come back to Ghana?” I hadn’t even left yet, and already I missed these people that I just met a few days before. The rush of emotions led me to a solution to the separation: I thought about the potential of Skyping one another and connecting over food as we had done so many times during the week that I spent with them. I would collect all of the ingredients for one of their recipes ahead of time and make the meal alongside them. I would then sit on my living room floor and eat with my hands as if I was there in Accra with them. This, I thought, would be as close to the actual experience as I could get without going back to their kitchen in Ghana.
And that was it.
That was the moment. After all of the chaos leading up to Ghana, inspiration had struck me. It was that familiar feeling of home cooking, togetherness, and sharing that I had known my entire life but had not realized the power of until I shared in the lives of the Benneh’s. Just this one meal shared on their living room floor was all it took to open my eyes to a world of possibility. This had such a momentous impact on me that I struggle to quantify what those small moments in Ghana meant to me in the grand scheme of it all.
Back on the ship, I created a note on my phone called “A Table for Two,” and every time I thought of something that would work for my then-imaginary foodie site, I wrote them down in the note. By the time the voyage ended, I had about ten pages of random notes, each of which was inspired by the different humanistic and culinary experiences I had in the countries I visited. To anyone else, all of the notes may have looked like gastronomic gibberish, but to me, it looked like the beginning of a community of lovers – of food, of travel, of culture. That’s what it was for me—that’s what it is for me—and I hope that that’s what it is for you, too.
Everyone has a dish that reminds them of Nonna, or that takes them back to Sunday nights with their roommate in college, or that reminds them of childhood family gatherings around a big, open table. There are so many amazing memories that we create through food everyday: cooking it, sharing it, eating it . . . discovering it.
It’s no secret that I love food. It’s always been the biggest part of my life for so many reasons, and now Kitchen Connection is just one more.
Fellow Foodies, I invite you to join me on this adventure of cooking, sharing, eating and discovering the world through the soul of it all: food. Because the truth is, it didn’t start in Ghana.
It started with all of us.
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