Hi there! I'm so glad you've stopped by The Storied Recipe. I'd love to tell you a little bit about why I started this project....
My First Love
My first love was reading. No one taught me how to read. Well, I suppose my mom did, in the sense that she read to me every day when I was a child. Usually she would run her finger underneath the words. Sometime around the age of 4, I started reading the words back to her. It really was that simple.
Reading and story were always gifts to me - both came naturally and I loved them.
I rarely read in a chair, either, which is odd now, looking back. To me, the most comfortable way was kneeling, on my floor, with my elbows propped up on my bed, the book open between my hands. I spent hours and hours and hours reading like this.
My Grandparents Next Door
When I wasn’t reading, I was often next door, at my grandparents house. My grandfather fought in the Pacific theater of WWII. He was a sensitive, intelligent man who once told me that he found a physics book when he was young and it answered every question he had ever wondered about.
Grandpa didn’t really seek out the company of others. Whether this was by nature or a result of the things he witnessed in the war, or a combination of both, I can’t say. But I can say that others were better for knowing him. He always welcomed me when I walked into the cool basement where he sat in his old, comfortable, creaky, and stained chair with his impossibly long legs propped up on an ottoman in front of him. The chair was tucked behind a stairwell, so that he had to peek around it to see the TV, usually tuned into the news or Cheers or a classic Western. Sometimes we’d sit and watch. Sometimes, especially when I was older, he told me story after story of his boyhood, the war, and his unique, nuanced take on every historical event I ever learned about in school.
There at my grandparent’s house, my grandmother made me root beer floats (proof that Storied Recipes don’t have to be fancy - or even "recipes"). Unlike my grandfather, my grandmother was always up for conversation. She loved to talk and would often interrupt her story with the same joke: “Anyway, to make a short story long”, she’d say, and then we’d both laugh and she would keep talking.
You know when I think of my grandmother? Every day, when I’m pawing through my purse and can’t find my keys. Such a Grandma Haber thing.
Grandma loved me and thought I was perfect in every way. She wore an old faded “housecoat”, regularly bickered with my grandfather, and rocked comfortably in her old, worn seat. I can still hear the sound of the screen door slamming shut behind her when she went outside to water her flowers and pray the rosary. If I was in our yard, bored on a summer evening, I welcomed the sound of that screen door slamming. I went next door where she was willing to interrupt her prayers and chat with me instead.
When Grandma Haber was really upset about something, she would invite me upstairs into her bedroom. There, we sorted her brightly colored costume jewelry (she had boxes of big, gaudy earrings that coordinated with every outfit) and shared “girl talk” away from my grandfather. We were close. Very close.
Stories & History
My view of history was always based on stories. Between my 4 grandparents (I was also very close to my maternal grandparents. Grandma and Grandpa Reynolds, we called them) and a great-grandmother who lived from 1901 to 2004, the big events I learned about in school were always interpreted by their personal narratives. My great-grandmother and grandparents had personal memories - and opinions on - just about anything that had happened in the previous century.
So, my love of story came early and, like reading, came naturally. Neither has ever left me.
My Second and Third Loves
As a child, however, I had no concept of the power of story.
Decades later, I had found and married the second and - by far, the greatest - love of my life: my husband John. We had three children together - all boys - and were waiting for a fourth. (He turned out to be a boy also.)
By then, I had found another love: light. What is a love of photography if not a love of light?
Well, perhaps, light and story. Yes. Photography is a celebration of light and story.
Here’s how that love came about:
After we adopted our 3rd son, my older brother, whose love language is gift giving, was so excited for us that he gave me a DSLR camera. At the same time, my brother-in-law was dating a girl named Susie, a photographer. I looked at Susie’s website, realized what this camera could do, and determined I would learn to use it properly.
So, during midnight feedings, I read my camera manual from cover to cover. Then books and websites. And during the day, I began to carry my camera everywhere.
My brother-in-law married Susie. She moved here to the DC area and started a wedding photography business. Shortly afterwards, I emailed her one day to ask if I could partner with her. Incredibly, she said yes. (Remember, I had only been taking photos for about 8 weeks.) And thus began a beautiful partnership of 9 years.
And that is when I learned about the *power* of story. You see, there was one time during almost every single wedding day that I cried. I cried during the speeches. Almost every time, my friends. It didn’t matter if the speech came from the most articulate, doting father or the most crass, drunk groomsman: When they told stories about the couple, we cried. We cried and… we came to understand the couple. We understood why they loved one another, why they chose each other, why they were beloved by all in the room, why everyone overlooked their obvious quirks. The stories showed us the best in them. The stories made us understand.
I loved the adrenaline of wedding photography. There is no photography like wedding photography. Couples have paid many thousands of dollars for you to artistically, soulfully, creatively capture every moment of the day. They counted on us to stay professional - and even to take charge - no matter what happened. We had to find the light and get the shot in - and to get the shot while staying in the background when the time called for it or making everyone laugh in other situations. The stakes were high, it was challenging, and loved it. I especially loved working with my sister-in-law, Susie, who is a natural businesswoman and taught me so much about customer experience, systems, and profitability - and deeper things too, like making a business fit your life and pursuing dreams from a place of faith and not fear.
I promised myself I would quit wedding photography when my oldest started high school. Our last wedding was October 27th, 2019, two months into Jack's freshman year.
Launching The Storied Recipe
I launched The Storied Recipe podcast 3 weeks earlier on October 9th, 2019. Now I tell stories visually, but also I share them in the worlds and voice of my guest. I'm just a conduit for these stories and it is an honor to share them.
The podcast was born from my love for photography, story, family, and of course, my love for food.