This year’s FOOD edition of Southern Exposure takes you on a tour of how food is woven into our lives and our daily routines. It provides a way for us to bond with one another. Food brings comfort when we suffer a loss, celebration during weddings and birthdays and comradery during tailgates and BBQ’s. It simply brings people together.

Sometimes this means coming together to celebrate a cause in the community like Franklin Tomorrow’s “On the Table” or “Turning the Tables” a chef driven event benefiting High Hopes or the 2nd Annual Unite Williamson Prayer Breakfast.

Sometimes traditions center around food, like my son Derby’s tradition of picking up an ice-cold Hatcher Dairy chocolate milk and a dozen Ellie’s Old-Fashioned donuts at the Franklin Farmers Market. We love the idea of supporting local farmers and appreciate their dedication.

The Farmers Market will have its annual pardoning of the turkey event in November as we all gear up for the most anticipated celebration of food and family all year, Thanksgiving.

In Harry Chapman’s column, In Harry’s Words, he speaks about old family recipes and cookbooks that are handed down. I have cookbooks from my grandparents, and my parents. Maggie and I cook together from those books and it gives me a sense of pride that I am passing down their legacy.

Food is rooted in tradition and customs. Food triggers memories from our past and helps us appreciate where we have come from. The sight of a plain bologna and cheese sandwich on white bread immediately reminds me of my dad.

When Maggie was around 4 years old, I introduced her to sushi. To my surprise, she loved it. It has become “our thing”. The boys have joined in of course, but we have had many girls’ days centered around pedicures and sushi.

Derby and I exposed both of our kids to good food early on. Out of necessity, I implemented a rule when they were around 3 or 4. You eat what mom and dad eat. None of this “short order cook stuff” of making frozen chicken nuggets for them and a completely separate more edible meal for Derby and me. Most moms do that in the beginning. I did too, but I found out quick that it is exhausting. So, they had to start trying fish, steak, vegetables, and the like. It was an expensive proposition on my part because it stuck. And alas, two foodies were born.

Now they are bigger foodies than Derby and me. Their favorite thing is to go to new cities for family vacation. A large part of our trip centers around taking in the sights. The other half…taking in the FOOD.

If you are looking for a culinary experience that is rare and special, check out Chef Tyler Brown at The Rambling at Southall. The depths he goes to in creating sustainable, fresh, farm to table food is bar none. The atmosphere he does it in is icing on the cake. The fall dinners sold out in a few days but stay tuned for more to come about this innovative culinary destination that has only barely begun to reveal itself to us.

In a world that sometimes seems divided I am glad to celebrate something that speaks to all of us and brings us all together.

Bon Appétit, Cassie

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