When I was 20, I lived in a small town in the South of France called Aix-en-Provence. It was easily the most impactful year of my life. It was in France that I learned French, how to travel, how to cook, and most importantly, I learned about food.
The French love their food and they take pride in doing everything slow. Dinner was always made by my host mother, Nelly, from scratch, with love. She would look at you eagerly as you took your first bite, her eyes shining while she waited for praise. Get cozy and plan for two hours around the table. It's not healthy to eat too fast, she would say!
Once a week Nelly would venture to the famous open air markets of Aix where she was a regular customer to many of the vendors. These vendors were also the producers. She went to one man for his veal, one lady for her tomatoes, another for her jams, one for cheese, etc. She had a relationship with each producer and respected each vendor for how they produced, as well as their product.
This way of shopping for food and eating just made sense to me. There was no culture shock here. When you had questions about a product, there was an encyclopedia of knowledge standing on the other side of the table. I loved it and learned so much!
It was actually coming home that was the culture shock. Coming back to the US and walking into a large grocery store, where you don't know where anything came from or how it was raised and the people working there were simply stocking shelves. I was uneasy for a long time, and I suppose that I never really did adjust back.
That's what led to the creation of Truly \ Beef, LLC. Taylor and I were newly weds with not a lot of money and a taste for really good food. Even