Hi! I’m Jason Burke, founder of The New Primal, and it is with heartfelt (and hungry) enthusiasm that I invite you to “Return to the Table.”
What if I professed that an exceptionally unifying place exists right in your home? And not only is it a singular gathering ground, but also the hub of sustenance and nourishment for the mind, body, and soul. It’s a place to celebrate, share, and satisfy the most primal human needs. It can bridge cultures and offer sturdy and safe proximity to foster unity and understanding.
It is your table. As in, your kitchen table. Or your dining room table. Or whatever flat surface upon which food is placed and around which folks sit in a modest studio apartment.
Last January, after a seven-year battle, I lost my mom to cancer. One of the things I learned about this terrible disease is that it does not discriminate. You all know this; every person reading here has been affected in some way by this ubiquitous plague. But to sit in those (around-the-clock) radiation and chemotherapy clinics, you witness peers of the human race having a hard time. No one much notices your background, your sexual orientation, or the color of your skin. Instead, there’s a common empathy that flows through the halls and treatment rooms, creating an unexpected but comforting little community that reaches across races, generations, and belief systems.
In ways I could and could not have predicted, her passing has profoundly affected my life. Most unexpectedly, it has changed the arc of the journey and business trajectory of The New Primal. And this brings me to the inspiration to “return to the table.”
Growing up, my home was THE gathering place. This had nothing to do with the size of the house (it was tiny), and everything to do with the aroma coming from it. My mom cooked for the neighborhood - literally - and everyone always felt at home and welcome under our roof. She was the go-to when it came to cooking for milestone events: graduations, birthdays, weddings, and even funerals. It was normal to have extended family and, at times, scores of neighbors drop by for dinner.
Last February, when I found myself delivering the eulogy to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of the kind community pillar at the center of these meals, I asked anyone for whom my mother had ever cooked a meal to stand. Unsurprised, but with my knees trembling, I watched as every single one of the more than 300 guests rose to their feet. At that profound and undeniable moment, I recommitted myself to honor and carry on the impact she had on so many lives.
Now, that I’m older, I realize this impact extended well beyond the plate and the palate. At my house, everyone felt at home. Amid the chaos of a full house and the revolving door of guests, there was an overarching peace in that little home. Now I know why. Sure my mom was always cooking, and people would show up for her amazing food. But once there, they’d also share their experiences, opinions, ideas, and sorrows. They’d laugh together and cry together. They would debate (okay, argue), and then they would clasp hands and pray together. My mother had created a space for folks to find connection and community. And, simply put, the dinner table facilitated that relationship. I believe communion among humans is necessary and critical for our mental health and authentic happiness. The table is a place where we can break down barriers. It’s where life’s most valuable lessons are learned. So it doesn’t hurt if these conversations are fostered by the passing of delicious meats and veggies.
Last spring, The New Primal introduced you to Noble Made, our line of versatile sauces that are pouring with mouth-watering abandon into crock pots, cast iron skillets, and condiment caddies – and conspicuously encouraging little food “communities.” In the same way we filled a void with our meat snacks, our launch of Noble Made aimed to replace the condiments we couldn’t feel good about serving our families. By offering craveable, healthy sauces and marinades, we’ve taken a stand against harmful convenience in favor of healthy simplicity. In turn, you’re proving to the giants of food manufacturing that you deserve - and are demanding - better.
My journey at The New Primal began with healthy snacking rooted in animal welfare and clean ingredients. It has now expanded into bringing people back together around the table. Honestly, I never saw it coming. But it makes perfect sense. Just as I believed creating ways to make healthy eating easy and delicious would inspire healthier snacking, so can it inspire a return to the table. It's a Noble calling, and one my mom would be proud of. I invite you to join me.