Terry (@terrywalterscooks) is simply terrific. Bottom line. The real deal. What you see is what you get. Someone who is not only committed to her craft but has the desire to learn more, do more, and say why the heck not?
I have to thank Lisa Borden (@lisaborden) of Borden Communications (@bordencommunciations) who introduced Terry and me several years ago at a Toronto workshop. Since that day, I’ve been “following” her ever since.
Terry has a passion for teaching all things food and has the patience of a priest. (Or Rabbi ;)) How do I know this? Do you know that feeling that you get when you meet someone? The desire to learn more about them and how they tick?
I listened to my instincts and reached out to Terry. The questions that flooded my brain quickly fell onto the receiver of my phone and all were answered. I mostly asked her about publishing, since she is a famous cookbook author.
And she answered them all. Terry is simply terrific.
That was it. When it came to me to choosing mentors for my book Get Up, I just had to ask Terry to be one of them.
And I’m glad I did.
Who is Terry Walters?
I ask myself this question every day! Sometimes the answer is that Terry Walters is a mom, cookbook author, teacher, chef, and storyteller. Inspired and driven to feed and nourish. A thinker, a connector, a knitter, a hiker, a runner, a cyclist, a skier, and a gardener. Terry Walters is also someone who asks hard questions, like who do I want to be next and how can I best use this one life I’ve been given? I don’t always have answers, but I am always asking.
How did you become a cooking teacher and cookbook author?
I was in college when I discovered I had elevated cholesterol. A wise doctor told me to eat more brown rice and kale, and that started my journey to figure out 1) how to make real food taste delicious and 2) to understand how my food choices were influencing my health. I moved off campus to a house with a kitchen and started to teach myself how to cook.
Flash forward several years, and I was a new mom trying to figure out my girls’ food sensitivities and learning even more about how food could both harm and heal.
Most people thought I was a little crazy when I told them what I ate and what I fed my children; but, a handful was curious enough to ask me to teach a cooking class!
As I write this, it has been 22 years of cooking classes and four books later!
It’s always been about sharing our collective wisdom, teaching and supporting each other, making mindful choices, and digging deep to truly understand. Filling our bodies and world with healthy delicious choices. That’s the intention behind everything I do, and when it resonates with others, that’s when I am nourished in return.
Preparing for a dinner party. Explain your process.
First and foremost, I need to address the following.
- Who is coming?
- What kind of diet do they follow?
- Are there any restrictions?
I want my guests to know that they’re special and that I care. The next consideration is the season – not only what kind of meal fits the season, but what seasonal produce can we feature. I also like to make sure there’s also a treat (maybe something totally new).
Once I have the menu, I coordinate drinks, then how we’ll serve it (although I’ve been known to create menus around special serving pieces).
Lastly, the scheduling puzzle – how to make it all so it’s ready to serve with not a lot of fuss once my guests arrive.
In the end, the food is just the vehicle for expressing love. If it’s made with love, no matter what it is or how it’s served, it will have been a successful gathering.
What has been the most meaningful lesson you have learned in your career?
I learn every day – sometimes from my work, sometimes from my relationships, sometimes from physical challenges, and always from parenting.
If I can share what I know I have learned so far: I have fears that need to be conquered. I have self-judgment that doesn’t serve me. Helping others makes me feel good about myself. I thrive on digging into hard questions. My children have so much to teach me, and finally, I’ve learned that my body wants to be healthy and my job is to do my best to create the environment for it to be so.
If you weren’t a cooking teacher/cookbook author, what would you do and why?
The answer to this question might just be what I become next! I dream about being a college professor. To teach about diet, nutrition, and food to empower students and show them that they have choices. I dream of sharing my love of backpacking with others. To guide women to work together to reach peaks they never imagined they could. Then again, I could drop it all and become a ski bum tomorrow (but I’m not sure my body could sustain the change!) Who knows – maybe I’ll just start cooking and packaging healthy recipes and distributing them to people in need. It all speaks to me. Who knows…maybe I’ll do it all!
How do you relax?
I strive more for balance than relaxation. Balance comes largely from time in nature and physical activity, but it could also come from knitting, taking a sauna, reading a good book, or enjoying homemade soup in front of a fire.
Acupuncture forces me to slow down in the very best way. Plus, I meditate on occasion, although sometimes baking sourdough bread is my meditation. I like to listen to music and will sing at the top of my lungs if I’m in my car alone. I like to dance in the kitchen with my husband and my daughters. And sometimes I just like to sit on my front porch and watch the weather – wind, sun, rain, or snow.
Let’s unpack your quote: What did you mean by:
“Do what rocks your soul. Take chances, try hard things, fall down, stumble, get up, sing at the top of your lungs, play loud music, spend as much time in nature as possible, and be kind to yourself. Nothing comes to stay, it comes to pass, and you will be a different person when it does – tomorrow, in a week, in a month… that includes obstacles, friends, insecurity, acne…
Make stuff. Anything. With food, with dirt, with clay, with pen and paper, with your community. Just keep putting stuff together and see what you can create.
Feed yourself with good food, clean air, lots of water, plenty of laughter, abundant hugs, lots of sleep… what you put in your body matters and influences how you feel, how you think, how you move, how you relate to yourself, to others, to your environment, to life.”Terry Walters
I just want to remember to live fully, deeply, with intention, with kindness, and with an open heart. Remember to try new things. Be open to new ideas. To always be creating, and be a student of life. It’s important to go easy on myself. To push through fear. Accepting failure is a part of working hard, learning, and growing. I want to eat all of the colors of the rainbow as much as I want to appreciate all the color in my world. To always keep striving, reaching, discovering, and improving.
Terry is simply terrific, right?
Thank you, Terry, for sharing your wisdom with the readers of Get up, and with me. I have learned that there is no time limit on what we desire to do and what makes us happy.
Why the heck not? I should say that more often!