By Nancy Smorch
Mike and I are just leaving Nashville after a couple of days of touring the town, tasting the local food, and enjoying yet another beautiful horse area. We spent some time just south of Nashville, in a town called Franklin, as well. It's a teally cute town - friendly and lots more foodie options! I had no idea the number of local farms here, and the strong connection they have with are area restaurants.
Earlier today I was trying to explain to Mike how important good food was to me and how, after being in Nashville for a couple of days, I felt really happy or satisfied or just "something" that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I mentioned that I feel the same way when I go to West Michigan. There are so many good food options in both places. And as I contemplate this feeling, I realize that it's not just the good taste in the food (which was stellar) or the quality of ingredients (which were amazing as well), but there was something more.
As I sit here in the airport and contemplate my experience the last couple of days, I tell Mike that I feel really nourished. "Nourished." That's the feeling I was trying to explain, and that's exactly how I feel.
I feel nourished from a nutritional standpoint - I had a variety of meals with a variety of ingredients, all of great quality - local and organic as much as possible.
I feel creatively nourished - from the perspective of a culinary artist - truly appreciating the efforts and creativity that went into the restaurants - from the building and furnishings to the staff, the cooks, the ingredients, the recipes, the presentation - the whole package.
I feel socially nourished. You can feel the energy and passion of the people who own and work at these restaurants and farms. Their overall goal isn't to push as many people through as possible (although I'm sure they wouldn't complain about a good flow of customers). But their satisfaction, it's obvious, comes from knowing they are sharing a gift with everyone that walks into their doors... and they hold themselves to high standards because that's what they desire. They aren't trying to please investors or shareholders by trying to cut corners and costs. They do it well or they don't do it at all.
Finally, I truly believe that a majority of the people we came across during our stay really enjoy what they are doing and enjoy offering their good to those that choose to come into their restaurants. There seemed to be a team spirit or a strong sense of community - something that is unfortunately lacking in many businesses today, including the food industry.
So, again, as I'm sitting in the airport, I am overcome with gratitude for those that grow and raise high-quality food and for those that share their creativity, and the love and dedication to provide these foods to the rest of us. Thank you for what you do!