Laurey Masterton – She Didn’t Postpone Joy

Laurey Masterton - She Didn't Postpone Joy

Would you be willing to teach some fifth graders about the wonder of herbs? Sure, bring ‘em on! Would you be willing to cook with kids out in a school garden? Absolutely! How about if I bring a whole class of kindergartners to your restaurant so you can show them how to cook? Nothing I’d like better! As you can see, Laurey was ALWAYS game for cooking for kids, no arm twisting required. And then she gets invited to the White House (Chefs Move to Schools) and she comes back more passionate than ever and wants every chef she knows to start up a relationship with a local classroom and cook, cook, cook with kids. Laurey knew the power of food – that it can make the pickiest eater suddenly a fan of kohlrabi or okra (got a great okra and Laurey story that I will share in a minute), that it can bring people together, that it can be magic.

But Laurey also knew that we needed to support our local farmers or we would soon not have all this lovely and delicious food. Her support of local farms was evident in everything she did – from the farm dinners she hosted, to the offerings in her shop, to her delight in strolling around local tailgate markets (especially “her” market, conveniently located across the street from her shop). One whole wall in her shop is dedicated to local food and farms…she got it and she wanted others to too.

OK, okra story…Laurey and I hatched this plan to take a bunch of Isaac Dickson kindergartners out to Flying Cloud Farm and then the next day these same kids would come to her shop and cook the things they had seen growing the day before. Laurey, of course, tagged along on the farm field trip, as she wanted to see what really excited the kids. Well, it turns out that OKRA really got their attention (personally, I think it’s because okra is tall, the flower is beautiful, and the kids just responded to that beauty, right?). Anyway, the kids had been told (and had Annie Louise’s permission (the farmer)) to eat whatever they came across. So the kids asked, can we eat the okra? All the adults on the trip replied, well you CAN…the kids commenced to eating okra raw (and relishing every bite). Of course this got Laurey’s attention. When we showed up at her door the next day (we walked from Isaac Dickson to her shop), Laurey had okra ready for us to eat (pickled, fried, and boiled). The kids gobbled it up and asked for more! Later Laurey received a note from a kindergarten’s parent, letting Laurey know that her kid came home all jazzed up about okra and that they promptly went to the grocery and came home and cooked it up in various ways. First not only for the kid but for the mom as well!

So, thanks for letting me ramble. That was one of the best memories I have of Laurey but I have LOTS more. She didn’t not only (oh, I am treading in strange grammar waters here) not postpone joy, she epitomized it. We will all miss her but she definitely made her mark on our community, in more ways than one. Don’t postpone joy…she didn’t.

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