Editor’s note: This fall, Edible Baja Arizona is incredibly lucky to have six talented interns on board. For the next three and a half months, these University of Arizona students will cover everything from bakeries in Baja Arizona’s border towns to organic farming. Keep an eye out for their work, and please help us welcome them!
My name is Leah Merrall and I’m a journalism major at the University of Arizona. I’m thrilled to be part of a publication that focuses on food, because who doesn’t love food? For me, food is more than just fuel. The culture associated with food is as essential as the flavors themselves.
I was born in Toronto, Canada and the only thing I love more than food is hockey (only by a little bit, I promise). I didn’t realize that ketchup chips and coffee crisps were such a commodity until I moved to the United States, where my favorite snacks were nowhere to be found. I also discovered that there’s such a thing as good poutine and bad poutine. That was when I truly realized just how much the culture of food is ingrained in a place.
I love to travel, and trying foods in new places is just as important for me as seeing the sights. I’m lucky enough to have traveled to 18 countries, and the memories of food I have from them stand out: pasta in Italy, waffles in Belgium, falafel in Israel – the list goes on.
It wasn’t until this past year that I started to realize just how unique and special the food scene in Tucson is. I began missing certain local restaurants and cafes when I would return home to Scottsdale on school breaks. Last spring, I made it a point to try and attend farmers’ markets as much as possible, and I learned so much from the local farmers. I met someone who runs a food hub, and learned which restaurants in Tucson actually cook with local ingredients.
The thing I love most about journalism is that, at its core, it’s storytelling. And, just like food tells a story, the people who grow the food, sell the food, and cook the food have stories worth telling. I’m so excited to fully immerse myself in the culture of food in Southern Arizona and bring its stories to life.