Emily Manelius

My name is Emily. And I don’t know who I am. None of us do, really. We live our lives with this idea that what we do makes us who we are, but it’s where we come from that really matters. Roots+Platters was born from this very idea.

I was boiling potatoes in an old pot that belonged to my grandmother, and I was flooded with memories of my childhood. When I helped my grandmother in the kitchen, it was always my job to peel the potatoes and cut out the biscuits. (And lucky for me, this then translated into helping my mom peel the potatoes at home. Let me tell you, I can peel potatoes like a pro.)

As I prepared dinner that night, I reminisced about cooking with my grandmother and my mom, watching their every move in the kitchen, learning by observation. I wondered how they learned to cook that way, just by feeling their way through the ingredients. They hardly ever used recipes and the lack of structure in their cooking was a little frightening. But they always made meals flawlessly and effortlessly. So, then, would this technique trickle down to me? Would it be like osmosis and I would just know how to cook because my mom and her mom did?

This made me dig a little deeper and ponder where I come from, my genealogy, my roots. How is it possible for my mom to have the sixth sense of cooking, or for my sister and brother to get the photography gene, or for my forte to be music (no pun intended)? Where did these seemingly innate qualities and talents come from? Who am I and how did I get here?

Roots+Platters is a way for me (and others, through what I’m hoping will be a thought-provoking and inspirational reading experience) to use food, memories and daily life as a way to explore the answers to those questions. This is a learning experience and a labor of love. This is vulnerability at its best. This is making mistakes and growing from them. This is a revelation in progress.

This is me… I think.

Plant the thought and watch it grow; wind it up and let it go…


*Photo courtesy of Katherine Forbes Photography.