Feeding Time

On the farm. Cooking was never a huge priority for me before becoming a farmer’s wife. I loved to cook and it was often fancy but I could get away with the odd take away or frozen meal. Not for this farmhouse I’m afraid. To start with, the farmer is spoiled rotten and he’ll tell you that himself. The priorities for cooking are as follows; it has to be wholesome, feeding men who are working intensively for hours outdoors.

Then it has to be in great quantity, you have no idea how much farmers can eat and as for the small little boys coming up behind them, a gallon of milk a day goes nowhere. There has to be enough in the fridge/freezer/pantry at any time to feed an extra if one should one arrive for feeding at the door. The meal has to be of good quality, for the health benefits, farming families who milk twice a day, 365 days a year cannot afford to be sick, so it’s meat, vegetables, carbs and dairy to fill the bellies. We buy our meats, fish, vegetables and other as locally as we can. We bring in milk from our own dairy. Lastly, it has to be varied and tasty, varied because we sit together everyday at the table and it’s good not to be able to predict the day’s dinner and tasty because, life my friends, is short.

Breakfast is porridge, wholesome brown bread, tea and fruit. Lunch this time of year is most likely homemade soup and is eaten after first milking at 12pm when our four year old comes in from playschool. Dinner that we’ve now moved to 4.30pm to accommodate our school goer is a hotpot, meat-and-two-veg, curry or whatever takes the farmer’s wife’s fancy. It’s one pot for all generally in the farmhouse, the children eat a smaller portion from the pot. There’s no time for special orders. The eldest lays the cutlery, the second ‘does the cups’ and the baby decorates the floor. We eat together everyday. After dinner, there is tea with biscuits, icecream or if you’re very good, a cake. Fresh cake does every occasion make. Sponge cake for a birthday, chocolate gateau for a visitor, carrot cake to carry out visiting.

Somedays, I feel like I spend my days cooking and then I remember I do. Feeding five, six people a day is no easy task. I am like every mother and some fathers who do the same every day for their families there is no doubt. But, somehow, it seems different in a farmhouse, you’re fueling a hard days work on the farm and I am the train driver throwing coal into the engine fire from my very own stove. Eating out is a real treat that we really delight in (if it’s good) and I relish any cup of coffee that I don’t have to make myself. Feeding time on the farm; an all consuming, sometimes funny, delicious, family affair.

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