There’s always something new by looking at the same thing over and over.
~~John Updike ~~
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Here’s where I indulge my obsession for the life-giving nature of cooking and growing and eating food. My focus is ultimately global and historical. I write about what interests me. My latest projects include a magical realism novel about women healers, a possible book on the culinary history of Florida, and research concerning the British empire’s impact on food and cooking, particularly the influence of the English diaspora and British cooking on the early traditional cooking of the United States.
My goal is to clarify a lot of misconceptions floating around out there about British cooking and its historical importance, through the story of my family and their long history in the New World. My genes are very, very English, descended from some of the earliest settlers at Jamestown, Virginia, as well as Massachusetts and throughout the American West. I’ve been a Southerner all my life, although I was born in California. The food culture in my family’s kitchen, thanks to my grandmothers, always veered South – cornbread, biscuits, fried chicken, soup beans. My father loved greens, but my mother didn’t, so when she went off to give papers at conferences, Daddy would cook himself a huge pot of greens with bacon.
From the age of 17, I’ve physically lived in the South, first Florida, then Virginia, except for the times I spent in Mexico, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, Morocco, and Burkina Faso. Plus a lot of gallivanting through Europe and parts of Asia. And now I am back in Florida, seeking a greater immersion in a place that’s been a part of my life for years, of fleeting visits and stays of weeks, and sometimes months. Even years, if you count Cedar Key, where I wrote a food column for the local newspaper. Gainesville, of course, now a dynamic entity, the site of the enormous University of Florida
But my blog, “Cynthia D. Bertelsen’s Gherkins & Tomatoes,” is not just about one place on Earth – at root, it’s about the universal language of food, an incredible story about how humans managed to feed themselves even in the direst of times.
Essentially, in the end, it’s all about the eternal search for home, a sort of “culinary exile.“©
Join me on the journey … .
Happy to see you here!
Creds? I have a B.A. in Latin American Studies, M.A. in History, M.S. in Human Nutrition and Foods, and M.L.I.S. in Library and Information Science. And I’ve been writing for several decades, with articles in various food encyclopedias, book reviews in a number of publications, a book about mushrooms and their culinary history (no, I am not a mycologist, please remember), and several posts on various online sites other than this blog.
Languages? English, French, Spanish, GuaranÍ, Italian, Portuguese, Latin.
And for more click the following link for More About the Author.
The title of this blog,”Cynthia D. Bertelsen’s Gherkins & Tomatoes,” sprang from the title of the eponymous painting by Spanish painter Luis Melendez’s painting, 1772, Prado, Madrid, one of the first European renditions of tomatoes.