I am writing this blog because I’d like to share my experience and passion for gardening, cooking and eating with you.
I am a certified California Master Gardener and have been gardening (ornamental and veggies) in Oakland for 25 years. My own yard is heavily shaded with a giant redwood tree so I have borrowed a sunny plot from my neighbor; it borders his driveway. The plot consists of four raised beds built by my husband and an open area in which I wage war with perennial grass. Sun is limited due to large trees.
Both sides of my family have always gardened, although I didn’t discover my own passion until we purchased our first home over 25 years ago. I have fond memories of playing as a child in my grandparent’s large garden outside London. Each spring I grow sweet peas in memory and honor of my grandmother. Their scent is my direct connection to her. In Florida my father had a large plot on an empty lot next to the house. After I moved to the West coast in my late 20s, he always waited until I flew home at Christmas to let me help dig the potatoes. It seemed like a treasure hunt. I recommend growing potatoes to anyone with small children.
As for cooking, my English born mother was educated in France, studied at the Cordon Bleu and took classes from Julia Child. She is my muse and mentor. In her 50s she started and ran a successful traditional French cooking school. I learned by watching, being her sous chef, and eventually teaching classes with her. I love to cook for family and friends. And although I am comfortable cooking classical French food, I find that I prefer simple, fresh and seasonal recipes using produce from my own garden or the farmer’s market.
For the last 25 years my crooked career path has taken me from the biology lab into biotech, working for both U.S. and international companies. Extensive travel was often part of the job. But even with a busy schedule, I have managed to have a few varieties of fresh vegetables available in my kitchen garden. Sometimes an hour a week was all I had between spending time with my family, attending my son’s sporting events, and catching up on household chores. I have some tips which might be helpful to you in starting even a tiny garden. Here as well you’ll find ideas for fun and stress free cooking, eating, and entertaining. I invite you along on the journey.
I am married and live with my husband, one boomerang child, two active Australian Shepherds, and a monster cat. There will be more on the cat later.