To witness resilience of pandemic magnitude is an inspiration. When the coronavirus appeared in our region I was struck—and awed—by the speed and variety of responses from our food community. In this Summer 2020 issue we share stories of people in our region who are motivated to maintain or expand what is good, to change what needs to be fixed, and to relinquish what no longer applies.
Having worked restaurants in college and later with food retailers and producers as a marketing professional, I like to think I know a thing or two about the restaurant and grocery businesses. But upon further reflection, my food wherewithal isn’t just a matter of acquired knowledge. Much of it was already in me. Because of where I come from. Because of who I am. Because of what was passed down to me over generations. Jacqueline Ann Bibeau Page. It’s in my DNA.
My dad, Edward Edgar Bibeau, named me. Of five daughters I’m the only one who got a French name. My middle name, Ann, is a nod to my grandmother. Bibeau is my surname. Page, my married name. My paternal grandfather, Edward “Eddy” Alfred Bibeau and my Grandma Anna ran a restaurant and bar during Prohibition. I remember stories of a secret door leading to where “the good stuff” was served. Then, with three kids and tiring of the commitment required of the bar scene, they opened a grocery store in Asheville, North Carolina, during the Great Depression. With Eddy suffering from asthma, he and Anna moved to the clean, dry air of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and opened Ed’s Market near the University of New Mexico, where I later earned my college degree. The store became Campus Market and was run by my uncle after my grandfather’s death.
When the pandemic came to our valley, it would have been easy for me to have Edible Bozeman take a break. To wait and see what happens. Instead, I felt compelled to keep going. Never has it been more important to tell the stories of—to be in service to—those who nourish us.
It didn’t start with Eddy. His father, “Aimé,” was born in 1871 on a farm in Quebec and became a chef. Much earlier still, Francois Bibeau, six generations removed from Aimé, was born in 1642 in LaRochelle, France, with records giving his profession as “tavernier.” He was the ancestor who emigrated to Canada with a desire to own land. Given family folklore, there’s a high likelihood that the four generations between Francois and Aimé also were stewards of the land and/or providers of food and drink. I come by it honestly. I am of these people.
When the pandemic came to our valley, it would have been easy for me to have Edible Bozeman take a break. To wait and see what happens. Instead, I felt compelled to keep going. Never has it been more important to tell the stories of—to be in service to—those who nourish us. We will continue to tell their stories and celebrate their hard work, resilience, and dedication with fascination and deep appreciation. Because I must. It’s in me.