Dear Readers, 12027584_10205460079641713_4235393368238827587_n

I spent the last year of my life exploring food from Ireland to Morocco and everything in between. I’ve been fortunate enough to dine on fresh seafood, hearty sausages, impossibly light pastries, and tapa after tapa of cured meats and cheeses. I was studying in Madrid, and the best moments of my year were contained on plates: smoked tuna drizzled in olive oil, potatoes smothered in sauce, and the best chocolate cake in the world (according to the café).

However, when I was overseas I found myself dreaming of Madison’s restaurants at times: the burger at Merchant, a Sunday morning Gotham bagel, Paul’s Pel’meni dumplings. We have such a unique assortment of restaurants in this city, pulling from cultures all over the world, and doing it well. Beyond that, I’ve found Madisonians to have a very specific relationship with food. We live by the seasons, taking whatever produce the farmer’s market has in season for us. We dine at Slow Food events, and if we’re in a rush, we know that the best quick lunch is to be found at the food carts. Food goes beyond calories to fuel hours studying. It’s a reward, a uniting social factor, and an aspect of life that brings community together and shapes livelihoods.

This year at The Dish, I hope to explore the relationship that we in Madison have with food. What makes a restaurant a worthwhile experience? How do we interact with food on a daily basis, and how do those interactions shape our lives? There are so many aspects of food to be explored, and I hope this publication will open that door for all who are interested in learning more about them. Come explore with me, we’ll see what sort of delicious connections we can make.

Stay strong and eat on,

Caroline Stevens