So I have a confession to make. I am excited but also rather embarrassed to say I have discovered my passion in life. Excited because my wonderful husband has let me leave behind the 9 to 5 (well, it was more like 7 or 8 usually) and go freelance, working from home in order to pursue this passion, and embarrassed because as it turns out that passion is...vegetables. Yes, you heard me right, vegetables. Growing, cooking and eating vegetables. And this coming from the girl whose mother had to bake peas and carrots into bread rolls to get her to eat her veggies. Admittedly that was a rather short phase, but for my growing up years, vegetables and I got along with much civility but little gusto, with the notable exception of creamed corn.
This passion snuck up on me quietly, starting with a growing love of cooking as I began to fend for myself in Paris then met and eventually married an equally enthusiastic (and talented) cook. Though I loved Paris, I also started to miss nature more and more (not being a city girl at heart), and my imagination was sparked by books like Helen and Scott Nearing's The Good Life and British TV series River Cottage and Jamie at Home. One thing I did love when I was little was growing things, however, the magic of a seed turning into a plant, starting with some marigolds in the back garden when I was just a few years old, all the way up to a ten foot tall avocado tree I grew from the pit when I was in high school, and of course the standard Parisian geraniums on the window ledge in college that threatened to block all the light coming into my tiny apartment.
Finally, last spring I was working long hours, living in a 25 square meter apartment with my husband, two mountain bikes, and more books than there are cafés in Paris (I studied literature, philosophy and theology), and I decided I wanted to see if I could grow some vegetables on the window ledge. So it was that my husband came home from a weekend away to find four window box planters filled with soil lined up expectantly on my desk with our halogen lamp standing over them like a brooding mother. Fortunately he was excited by the idea, too, and as it turned out even more fortunately (since we soon discovered that a window ledge is a little bit on the small side for a zucchini plant), last April we moved out to the countryside near Paris close to my friend Ashley, and I was able to transplant my little garden into the ground.
And that was it, I was hooked. Unbelievably sweet zucchinis, juicy green beans, burstingly red tomatoes that have ruined my ability to eat anything other than homegrown, and last but not least, two 20 kilogram pumpkins (don't worry, those weren't intended for the window ledge - I planted them after we arrived). There was no turning back after that. So now this year we have cleared a big patch in the backyard and had a seed-buying frenzy. We started a few plants indoors yesterday, more details and photos to follow...!