What is more important than creating a healthy lifestyle for your family? Still it’s so easy to forget that you need a reminder once and a while. Thankfully I attended an Eco Mom Alliance meeting last summer at A Cooler Planet where the guest speaker was Melissa Graham, owner of Monogramme Events and Founder and President of Purple Asparagus. Melissa sparked a discussion that began with her two passions- family and food and ended with tips for incorporating organic, locally produced food back to our tables. Inspired, I needed to know how this remarkable chef, entrepreneur, philanthropist and mom makes it all work.
Sunday dinner brought Melissa’s extended family together each week so you can imagine the anticipation and importance of the preparation and moreover, the meal. An old school foodie herself, Melissa’s mom invited her 3 year old daughter to have control over preparing one meal each week. With a genuine laugh, Melissa recalls that her parents may have dined on more PB&J sandwiches than they bargained for back then, but the love of cooking and baking grew with each meal. As she spoke, I thought back to my own family’s tradition of Sunday being “family day” sharing one large meal in the early afternoon and simply enjoying each others company. I had to ask myself why don’t we do this any more?
Growing up on Long Island, Melissa frequented local fish and farmers markets with her family introducing her the difference fresh food makes at a very early age. Years later you can see these influences when you glance at her menus or attend her workshops. The quality of the food is extremely important, but she doesn’t stop there. She chooses seasonal food and considers sustainability factors when making her food selections. It all sounds effortless, right? Lately I have become addicted to her blog Having Company where Melissa walks you through the nuances of food selection and preparation. If you thought you loved Top Chef, just check out the LTHForum.com, a Chicago based culinary chat site and talk with the real deal!
Filed Under: Who In Chicago
About the Author: Head Chicagonista, Co-host of the Chicagonista LIVE! show, Lead blogger for TheChicagoMoms.com, and Co-Founder of Women Driving Excellence. MJ is also the annual host of SocialRevUp - Brands & Bloggers Summit (#bbsummit) attended by about 200 professional high-profile bloggers nationwide. Follow MJ on Twitter: @mjtam