I’m Michele McCartney, a forty-something mum of two kids under 10 (who I’ll call “the boy” and “the girl”). My partner (aka “the man”) and I met over 20 years ago in Vancouver while putting ourselves through university working for the university catering department. After more university, a fair amount of travel, corporate careers, and relocation to the UK we’ve gone back to our foodie roots and now have our own catering company in Oxford, England (Truly Scrumptious Catering). We are not trained chefs, but we know about food and are passionate cooks.
We’re food geeks – the type of people who discuss what to have for dinner before we’ve finished breakfast. We’ve been that way since we were in graduate school in the early ‘90s. I remember studying for exams and cooking to help alleviate stress – you could tell the importance of the exam by the amount of food in the fridge! Full fridge = important exam. We now have a rather large allotment (community garden plot, for those of you outside of the UK), about which I will wax lyrical from time to time. The man does most of the work at the allotment (the shed serves well as a man cave), but funnily enough I get quite involved when it comes time to harvest and cook the fruits and veg of his labour. There is nothing, absolutely nothing like a home grown tomato. The boy has his own little plot and it’s so cool to see him taking care of his crops and the pride he takes in what he grows.
The boy and the girl are completely opposite in terms of their food tastes. The boy is the older one and has always been quite adventurous in terms of what he eats. By age 2 he was eating blue cheese and olives. He likes spicy food, likes most vegetables and fish, but isn’t keen on meat unless it’s easy to chew and he can take or leave fruit. The girl is less adventurous and is much more of a meat & potatoes type kid. She loves meat, could live on pasta, but isn’t crazy about spicy food and much prefers fruit to vegetables. Olives are ok for her. Blue cheese is not. He likes apples, she likes oranges. She likes steak, he likes lentils. You get the picture. Meal planning becomes a bit of a “can’t win” exercise at times. I love spicy food but given the grief the girl would give me if I served anything too spicy it’s just not worth it most of the time. Happily, they both like to help in the kitchen, especially if there’s cookie dough or cake batter involved!
So I spend a lot of my life thinking about, reading about, writing about, talking to clients about, and cooking food. We are into simple food made with quality ingredients – we prefer to let the food speak for itself rather than hide it in amongst 37 different ingredients. I do feel that food is one of the pleasures of life and am quite lucky to be able to work in this field and have family members who share my passion.