In 1997, when Sean and I began dating, there was always a crock of beans on the counter. It was cheap, nutritious food, and he was in college. But when I lamented that truck stop foraging prospects for over-the-road drivers were dim and wondered if I would be stuck living on beef jerky and corn chips, he prepared a gift bag of tea, dried fruit and nuts. That gift bag lasted me many weeks and was refilled whenever it emptied.
In 2000, I taught him to can when our first garden together began to bear fruit. It was a year of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squashes grown in sandy soil that had to be constantly watered and often weeded. That summer we ate from our garden when we had no money, and that autumn we put up salsa and pickles that lasted us through the winter.
In 2002, our country property in Maine begged us to forage from it. There were cultivated blueberries, raspberries as big as your thumbnail, crab apples for making pectin and leftover rhubarb from somebody else's garden. We picked and canned, picked and canned and spread the finest raspberry jelly I have ever tasted over our Thanksgiving morning toast. That was the year he roasted a 28-pound, free-range turkey in a cast-iron wood stove and rendered the bones into broth two days later after packing the deep freezer with homemade turkey pot pie. We're both vegetarians now, but I'll never forget his incredible resourcefulness or the taste of those pot pies on cold, December nights.
2003-2006 were lean years, college years again, but we never went hungry. Sean had learned to buy in bulk, to match foods with spices, to conserve and nourish in equal measure. There were baked potatoes with butter and spices, rice with vegetables and soy protein replacements when we made the decision to become ethical vegetarians. There were three square meals a day, every day, because he knew how to make them happen. Many times we ate simply because of his thrift and skill.
Since then, he has encouraged our palate toward greater ethical principles, and we are vegan at home now. But that doesn't mean we don't eat well! We have a sandy-soil garden again, which has produced enough vegetables and herbs for fresh meals and canned salsa. Beyond that, Sean has perfected many difficult recipes and converted several omnivore stand-byes to their delicious vegan equivalents.
So I am blessed with a husband who loves to cook and many fond memories of the food we've brought to the table together. The result of that love and those memories is the content of this blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and continue to enjoy the gift of his love and his culinary skill.
Ceallaigh S. MacCath-Moran