Gracias por los Campesinos

| November 11, 2007 | 2 Comments
  • 2 Comments

It’s that time of the year again. Shorter days, colder nights and the realization that yet another year is slipping away.

For those of us who clutch to whatever hope we can find, it’s also the time to begin thinking about all the promises ahead for 2008. To help mark the months, calendars that inspire and move me are a basic necessity. How else to make the wall over my desk a place for change rather then an endless list of tasks?

For the third year in a row, I’m ordering a copy of Celia Roberts’ wonderful calendar celebrating farm workers across the country. Fully bilingual with Spanish and English text, this year’s calendar, Gracias por los Campesinos, describes the daily labor of immigrants with honesty, respect and quiet gratitude.

Next year’s calendar is especially close to my heart, for Celia came to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market while I was still teaching in the kitchen there. She helped me welcome the women from Las Salsitas the day they demonstrated recipes from their cookbook, and while she was there, she snapped a photo of Carl Rosato from Woodleaf Farm. If you flip to December in the 2008 calendar, you’ll see him helping some customers as they pick out peaches at his booth.

Every year’s calendar has a different visual theme, but the feeling is always the same: thanking community members for their valuable contributions. One of my favorites was last year’s collection of photographs, Gracias por los Abuelos, when Celia honored grandparents.

I highly recommend this year’s calendar for offices or kitchens where eating and cooking has become the mere stuff of work. It’s a warm reminder of the faces and lives and stories that bring us our food.

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About the Author ()

Thy Tran writes literary nonfiction about food, the rituals of the kitchen, and the many ways eating and cooking both connect and separate communities around the world. She co-authored the award-winning guide, Kitchen Companion, and her work has appeared in numerous other books, including Asia in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Cultural Travel Guide and Cooking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Fine Cooking and Saveur. A recipient of a literary grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Thy is currently working on a collection of essays about how food changes in families across time and place. Though trained as a professional chef, she works on cookbooks by day, then creates literary chapbooks by night. An old letterpress and two cabinets of wood and lead type occupy a corner of her writing studio, for she is as committed to the art and craft of bookmaking as she is to the power of words themselves. In addition to writing, editing, teaching and printing, Thy remains active in local food justice and global food sovereignty movements. Visit her website, wanderingspoon.com, to learn more about her culinary adventures.
  • Tessa Somers

    Thanks for the post about this beautiful calendar. My boyfriend worked the fields as a kid and I think his stories are those of a kind of quiet childhood heroism. I can’t wait to show him the site.

    Also, we were both saddened to hear of the oil spill in the Bay. After our visit there last summer, it’s become one of our favorite places and somewhere we hope to live one day. I hope the cleanup efforts go smoothly.

    A budding foodie,
    Tessa Somers

  • Thy Tran

    tessa – Thank you so much for your warm note about the cleanup. The crabs are happy this year; the fishing industry and the oil-slicked birds, not so much.

    As for the calendar, I hope that your husband remembers wonderful people from his childhood and shares their stories when you show him the website.

    Be sure to drop me a line when you get to San Francisco!