“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

She kept a mini fridge in her bedroom stocked with my favorite chocolate, Pesek Zman, the Israeli version of the Kit Kat bar.

My grandmother led me to her fridge when I visited each June. By age seven, I’d imagine the red and yellow wrapped candies shouting, "Bruchim Habaim le-Israel! [Welcome to Israel!]" I’d swing the fridge open, and the bars would spill onto the floor.  She'd pick them up, place one in my hand, and stick three in my back pocket, "just in case."

She never shared her Holocaust story, but I understood a piece of it from the way she shared her food. Extra cinnamon.  Sticky honey.  Powdered sugar.  In the concentration camps where she grew up, strangers determined how much food was enough and who deserved it.  Food was a dream: unreliable, fleeting, but a source of hope.  She survived to fulfill her one desire that the lives of her children and grandchildren be filled only with overflowing sweetness. 

My life is sweet, which makes my job urgent: to unleash the hope that food provides. I want to make the food industry part of the solution to malnourishment and obesity.  I want to redesign our supermarket aisles so that we can think less about what food to buy and more about with whom to share it. I want to be proud of my efforts to make healthy products mainstream.

I will nourish my family, friends, and strangers.  I will listen to the stories their food tells.  And when they visit my office and my home, my story will spill from the cupboards. I will scoop it up and place in your hand my promise to improve our food.

— Danielle Slutzky