Board AF was born of a chaotic concoction of work burnout, pandemic coping and, most of all, connecting with my children. My career has always been the first identifier in my life, because it has been my passion since the fourth grade. In March of 2020, I had clocked almost 125,000 miles in the sky over the previous year with my theatrical management company. Suddenly, because of the pandemic, the theatre industry was on indefinite intermission.
I woke up and realized that while I was out earning the dough, my kids had regressed in their eating to chicken nuggets, hot dogs and frozen pizza. Their once adventurous foodie spirits had morphed into favoring ketchup as their core food group.
I spent hours in the kitchen poring over meticulous French sauces, duck, noodles…and my kids looked at the plates and still asked for ketchup. On a Saturday morning early in the pandemic, I got an idea and pulled out the maple cutting board that I have used the heck out of over the years. Nothing fancy. I lined the kitchen counter with fruit of all sorts, made dipping sauces, and then stacked up kid sized pancakes. I then put on music and arranged it all on the cutting board and set it in front of my kids at the table.
“What do we do with this, mommy?” they asked, and I told them to go for it. Line their plates with whatever they wanted from the board. They were hooked.
We migrated from pancakes to duck tonkotsu ramen to lamb shank braised in red wine. Fried green tomatoes and fish n’ chips. They gobbled it all up, game to try anything, happily picking away at each board’s ingredients. It was more than food, it was a way to remind my kids every day that, amidst all of the uncertainty, they were safe and loved. And that there is joy to be found in the everyday.
Filling my days with this hobby became my retreat, a joy every single day. I hope it gives you some joy too!
Lisa Dozier, creator of BOARD AF, is a food enthusiast living in Brooklyn NY with her three amazing kiddos and their puppy, Georgia. Maddy, 10, Colton, 5, and Emmy, 5, all love to get in the kitchen with her to help make (and eat) board creations. In addition to all things home cookin’ charcuterie, Lisa is a Broadway and Off Broadway theatre manager, wanderluster, and collector of vintage fashion.