I have noticed since “Food from an Irish Garden” was published almost a year ago, that at more and more events I attend, people increasingly feel the need to justify what they eat to me. Be it a private get together, an event at which I’m a guest or even a demonstration, people feel they have to justify why they don’t grow all their own food, why their vegetables are not all bought at the local market or why they ate at McDonalds last week.
It’s like they think I wouldn’t understand. Of course I do. You know what I tell these people? I love chipper chips. My favourite in McDonalds is a quarter pounder with cheese and I like Coca Cola! The relief on their faces is a sight to behold. I’m only human and a little of what you fancy does you no harm right? So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t forage for dinner ingredients on a daily basis. I don’t. I do the best that I can as a wife and mother. Nor have I ever claimed to be perfect . My friends will tell you I’m anything but!
The last five years have been some journey though and I have loved sharing my story as I’ve learned to grow and sow and rear and cook and bake.. My passion for all things Irish runs deep. Our food traditions, our culture, our artisan producers, our language – these are very important to me.
But here’s the thing.
I also adore afternoon tea – it certainly isn’t an Irish tradition, it isn’t a perfect fit with a self-sufficient, organic lifestyle, but for as long as I can remember, I have loved afternoon tea. So much so that you can see that there is now an Afternoon Tea tab at the top of this page.
So when you meet me, please don’t feel you have to justify what you are cooking or eating. Who am I to judge? I do my best to feed my family as well as I can, but I’m no martyr. Life is too short not to enjoy a little of what you fancy (like afternoon tea). I love to grow my own food, I love to forage, I love to cook with Irish produce, but my life is more than just these things – just like you, I am not defined solely by what or how I feed my family. Ain’t none of us perfect folks.
Now instead of tut-tutting at my revelations, reveal your guilty secret – go on, you know you want to……:)
There’ll be no judging here
You’ll find my take on Irish Apples in the Oct/Nov edition of Irish Country magazine.
For more of my “back to basics” tips, check out the current edition of the UK’s Home Farmer
Join me at Savour Kilkenny from Oct 24th – 27th. I’ll be there joining in the food bantering sessions, giving cookery demos, signing books and generally having a good time.
“Food from an Irish Garden” is available in bookstores nationwide.