West indian culture

Author’s Exploration of Food Culture Becomes a Memoir – Monterey Herald

As she approached her 50th birthday, Seaside’s Timi O’Malley embarked on a deep self-reflection through which emerged a desire to challenge herself in a way unlike anything she had never done. She wanted to start a project big enough, engaging enough, that she was determined to see through. O’Malley decided to write a book.

She knew her book would be about food since food is her passion and also her career through food service for The Pebble Beach Company and Sysco Foods. Thinking about it, what stood out were the poignant memories of sharing meals with the people in her life and all the lessons learned at the table.

“In my life,” she said, “the most enjoyable and the most difficult and the most difficult times have generally taken place at the table. I wanted to delve into what it all means, to examine the bonds that we long for, the food we crave from others, and the stories and memories, issues and arguments that occur at the table while we eat.

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O’Malley could not have known until she dug that her book would become a memoir, a love story, in fact, about the lessons she learned, across cultures and across table.

“A lot of people talk about writing books,” she says, “but they don’t necessarily start, finish, or publish. When a mentor invited me to attend a book-writing retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii, I envisioned a few days of vacation and a few days of writing, punctuated by breaks dedicated to the magnificent view of the ocean and long thoughtful walks. .”

She invited her husband to come for a romantic retreat.

Yet for three days, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., she sat in a conference room with the blinds drawn, tasked with focusing on her writing style and letting her words and ideas flow, writing as much and as fast as she could. . Without judgement.

“It was a completely different strategy from what I had been taught,” O’Malley said. “I expected to have an idea, build a plan, flesh out that structure and develop my script. But, after three days, I had the basics of my book.


O’Malley titled her book, “Consuming Love: the Joy of Sharing Meals,” perhaps because “Eat, Pray, Love” was already taken. Moreover, her story is as much about love as it is about food and how we yearn to feed on both. It’s about people and meals, she says, and the relationships we cultivate with each other in our daily lives. It is also about being present with both, so that we can enrich our lives and become truly nurtured.

“My memoir begins when I was an innocent young girl,” she said, “and leads to my travels as an inquisitive young woman, and the joys and challenges of middle-aged relationships. It traces my journey, from sharing meals in India, Mexico and Thailand, to the beautiful California coast, I recount many rich spiritual lessons offered at the table along the way.

Of the lessons O’Malley learned abroad, the most important one she brought to her personal life back home was that love is always available within and must be felt and shared. . She realized that when we spend time at the table with others, we can choose to bring love or judgment to the meal. What we offer ourselves is what we offer others.

Through his writing process, O’Malley realized that his book became a dedication to his father’s style of making friends.

“My dad, Michael Walker, is a lovely man, always able to strike up a conversation with anyone. The first question he asks is, ‘Where are you from? And from there,’ she said, friendships would be made. My dad hosted a barbecue at Lovers Point for 40 years. He knocked down the Weber and threw chicken legs for people playing volleyball.

Over time, people volunteered to help roast and shell the corn. One year he fed more than 300 people.

“Love is in food and love is our relationships with others,” O’Malley said. “In this way, we consume love. In every moment of gratitude, we have the presence of love that nurtures everything in our lives.

A hunger to feed

Raised on the Monterey Peninsula, O’Malley received her bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State in ethnobotany −− the study of native plants and their practical uses in certain cultures −− and in anthropology. She continues to be a passionate food and nutrition specialist and has introduced yoga to her spiritual and physical well-being.

O’Malley interns as a Spiritual Practitioner at the Center for Spiritual Awakening in Pacific Grove and is a Certified HeartMath Trainer, which focuses on resilience. She is a certified teacher of the art of female presence and founder of Just Thrive Now, a counseling program aimed at guiding women to live in balance while supporting growth and self-care.

There is clearly a theme in his life, which grew out of the trials of his own life and the ongoing lesson that love prevails.

“This book has nurtured me on every level −− physically, emotionally, spiritually,” said chef and fellow writer Annee Martin. “It’s a beautiful tribute to what truly nourishes us, the connection we feel when we come together and enjoy each other’s food and company. I was blessed to share many meals with Timi O’Malley. Her book reflects the beauty of her heart.

“Consuming Love, the Joy of Sharing Meals” is available through Amazon and River House Books at The Crossroads Carmel.

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