Dear readers,

One of my favorite things about food — other than the obvious, eating it — is that food brings people together. 

Most celebratory occasions involve food, like weddings and birthdays. Food can even be seen as a gesture of support when given to those close to us who are going through difficult times. We may bake cookies and give them as gifts, whip up a covered dish to take to a family function or just gather with loved ones for dinner at a local restaurant. Whatever the reason, there seems to be a universal language of togetherness when food is involved. 

This edition of All About Women explores several women in the High Country who are contributing to the feeling of community through food. Whether they are cooking, serving, preparing or ensuring more access to food, High Country women are there every step of the way. 

In this food-related edition, we highlight the work of a baker, food truck entrepreneurs, a restaurant owner, charcuterie board curators, a caterer, a juice therapist, a local grocery shop and women working to relieve food insecurity. Additionally, columnists discuss topics such as breastfeeding, eating disorders, learning to love vegetables and food from around the world.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that started in 2020, I knew Watauga County, where I live, is a special place. It was evident with events each year such as Empty Bowls in Boone, which raises funds for food insecurity, or the Hometown Harvest event in Blowing Rock when community members gather for fellowship with a covered dish dinner. It was even more solidified when I watched the community come together this past year with innovative ways to get food into the homes of those who found themselves struggling during the pandemic; this included organizations such as Ransom — a restaurant in downtown Boone — partnering with others to quickly turn around operations and distribute food boxes to food service workers who were left jobless and without an income. All of these efforts have a common theme: food. 

I could even go on and on about the High Country food that I love, such as Havana Café in West Jefferson or Stick Boy Kitchen in Boone. 

This past year we’ve likely spent less time gathered around with plates of food amongst us, probably now feeling more gratitude for those we are able to share a meal with. So here’s a toast, to finally being able to gather once more around a dinner table and share some togetherness! Hopefully, during this pandemic, we’ve all learned a little more compassion and can start to open our dinner tables to others as well. 

Sincerely,

Kayla

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