Lauren Palumbo, Operations Director

Our new operations director, Lauren, joined the Spoonfuls team in March. We sat down with Lauren to learn about her background and food interests…

How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
It was a winding road, but it involved 4+ years as a Marketing & Events Manager for two non-profits, 3+ years as Marketing Director for a local restaurant group, a lifetime commitment to giving back to the community, and a deep interest in food, local farming, cooking, eating and food policy.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
I love to cook, though my husband is probably the biggest beneficiary of that.  Friends and family don’t seem to complain though!  I work with what other people teach me – through recipes, cookbooks, and learning from actual chefs; I’m not coming up with many recipes on my own.  I rarely cook the same thing twice because I love to try new things, so the only signature recipes would be my grandmother’s marinara sauce (I refuse to call it gravy) and  Italian almond cookies which we make at Christmas.  Both are recipes my mom has been making forever and taught me how to make.  Oh, and apple pie.  I grew up in Stow, home of many apple orchards, and bake pies each fall.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Veggies and eggs from our Red Fire Farm CSA.  Local milk and cheeses picked up at City Feed & Supply.  Local bacon from a farm in central MA, picked up through the Mass Local Food Co-Op.  Lots of Grillo’s hot pickles.  A million condiments like curry paste and fish sauce and fermented bean paste that I cook with.  And kefir, which we feed to our dogs.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
Carbonara.  It was my favorite pasta dish growing up (we ate a lot of pasta, being Italian).  It was the dish I broke 8 years of not eating red meat with and it’s a dish I can’t resist ordering.

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?
For years I have been a meal planner, a grocery list maker, and a leftovers eater.  So I feel like I’ve got part of it down.  But we don’t compost, and since we cook so much, I now feel guilty with the food scraps we generate.  I try to use all of a product when possible or save scraps to make veggie stock, but I’m looking into getting a compost bin from Bootstrap Compost, so I won’t have to worry about it!

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
There is no way I could pick a favorite restaurant, this is just too good of a town for eating out now, but if you want my list of favorites, feel free to ask!  I love living in Jamaica Plain.  The community is incredible and the support for local food and farmers is palpable.  It’s not just people talking about it, they are actually doing it.  And the access to Jamaica Pond, the Arboretum, and Franklin Park is great for getting out and enjoying the green spaces in our city.

What is your motto?
It’s maybe a little silly to quote a song here, but one of my favorite lyrics (from Dave Matthews) is “I can’t believe that we would lie in our graves, wondering if we had spent our living days well…”.  And that’s why I do what I love in all aspects of life.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My mom – because she went back to classes in her 40’s to start a new career and has run her own business for almost 25 years.  My dad – because he taught me that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.  My sister – who somehow got me to run my first marathon, and the persistence required to train for and run a marathon stays with me in everything I do!