I’m a writer, cook and gardener (sometimes marketing person) and live in Austin, Texas. I’ve been gardening and cooking since I was a teenager, spending many geeky Saturday mornings watching Julia on PBS, then finally buying the cookbook and begging my mother to let me buy the exotic ingredients (vermouth, veal) for the first dish.

Now a mother myself, with grown children gone from my nest, I have a lifetime of experiences with food.  It didn’t hurt of course that I had wonderful home cooks all around me.  My mother never warmed to Julia, but loved to be in her kitchen, and there was always a good meal coming from it.  Raised on a farm she didn’t use recipes, but rather cooked from the memory of watching her own mother. She fed me biscuits and cornbread and pies and roasts and lots of vegetables cooked country style, which is to say they were boiled with pig fat, and they were delicious.  I’ve so many other family members who’ve shared with me the dishes they learned to cook as second nature, the meals they, too, were raised on.

Several years ago we bought a neglected horse farm. We tore stuff down and rebuilt everything but kept the stalls, paddocks and barn in memory of the beautiful horses that once lived here.  One paddock I turned into a large kitchen garden, something I’d dreamed of for so many years; years when a backyard swimming pool had priority over everything.

It was a revelation, living on just a little bit of land instead of a city lot, and growing my own food. It gave me insights into nature, (mine and the greater one!) and taught me harsh and beautiful lessons about staying in harmony with the ebb and flow of everything around me.

It changed the way I look at life, grow anything, cook and eat.  Recently, we decided to leave our plot and move back into town.  It’s a urban sized yard I have now, but I’m determined to grow food here. And in words and pictures, and hopefully with a little art,  I’ll continue to share it with you.

Gina Harlow