Jennifer Brandt

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Food worship has gone from a cult like status to an easy topic for any dinner party icebreaker. In American culture, food celebration is only a recent pastime. Words like “foodie” and “localvore” are now thrown around with abandon as if we have always been this way. I feel Lucky I grew up in a home that appreciated food, both low and highbrow. My father grew up in a home where food was meant to nourish but not to inspire. This drove him to appreciate food like only poor kids can. My nana was a single mother and was in school and working full time while raising 3 kids. Although my nana is my hero in many ways, she was no cook. She had a limited repertoire of foods she made well (like her dilly beans and dreamy buttermilk doughnuts). Like any practical Yankee she of course had a garden and I will never forget the smell in the summertime; Dill rosemary, chives, and tarragon, giving way to the earthy scents of beans and squash in the fall. I remember my father gardening in the back of a motel my mother used to manage, and I have grown herbs and whatever vegetables possible in even my smallest of apartments. When my nana returned to school, she asked her 3 children to pitch in with household duties. My father, the youngest, chose to cook. He loved food so much that although he certainly would have been an amazing professional chef, he chose not to because as he said "being a chef ruins you taste buds." Food was that important to him. When my parents divorced I had to split my time between my mom’s and my dads cooking. My own mother, like my fathers mother, was no ace in the kitchen. My mother could cook about 3 things, shepherds pie, banana bread, and boxed dinners. Since we were broke, my mother often skipped fresh produce and skimmed on quality ingredients, and I still love Kraft Mac and Cheese. No blame here, just facts. I worked from a pretty young age, about 13 on, so I was usually able to buy the food I wanted. This translated to fresh fruit, homemade Alfredo, and my favorite in high school, garlic grilled cheese. We had an abundance what I later learned people call “government cheese”, however, being from VT it was Cabot cheddar, go figure. When I moved out on my own, I was broke but I was clever enough to work in restaurants. I worked in delis, diners, tourist traps and fine dining and across the board the magic was always the food that happened behind the scenes. Food experiments you would never want to hear about were consumed, hard to find or ex

  • Work
    • Social media marketing Citizen Cider
  • Education
    • Universtiy of Vermont