7:00 am, July 15, 2011
I have been thinking a lot lately about inspiration and motivation. There is a lot of chat about it in the foodie press: Chefs tell us who inspires them and how passionate they feel. People run interesting supper clubs in their homes. Food is popular like its never been before. So why do we do what we do? What’s our story?
I come from a huge Irish family, with a brother in amongst many sisters. We grew up on a small 50 acre farm that my father farmed part time. It was his passion and the other jobs paid the bills. It was idyllic from a child’s point of view, and I know that given other circumstances we would have stayed there. We farmed cattle and sheep, we kept a few hens for our own eggs and had a veg plot. He was always looking for the new thing. One year he grew maize and our neighbours thought he was a bit odd.
Given that it was 1975 and supermarkets had not advanced across our landscape cooking and shopping for food was a huge part of each and every day. As girls we were expected to help and my basic food knowledge is something I now take for granted. One Sunday after Sunday roast, a ritual at home, my father outlined his business plan for a farm shop & cafe. He used all our skills and aimed to grow as much as we could on the farm. He divided up the jobs so we all had a role to play even me at the age of 5. I can’t remember what job I had but I do remember getting down from the table inspired and believing with a child’s certainty that it would happen. It didn’t but 35 and a bit years later we are growing and selling our own food from our farm here in Perthshire. Our shop is small and a lot of what we do is wholesale to other businesses but it’s the most satisfying job I know. Deep down I think my desire to do it and the passion I feel for good food and the respect I have for the people who produce it, started somewhere in there.
As a family we all get together once a year for a short holiday. The first thing we do is find a local Market and go food shopping. It’s a total joy. We then spend our time talking about the food we bought, or the meal we had last year or preparing the one we will have tomorrow.
Food is not just fuel, its about family, friends, and being together in good, and bad times. Its the reason for sitting down around a table to share, eat, relax and enjoy our lives.