Kathy is a food writer, supper club host and cookery teacher who grows her own ingredients from her home in the Cotswolds. She’ll be at MAKEMORE sharing her invaluable advice on how Londoners can grow vegetables in an urban setting.
How does growing your own food improve wellbeing?
There’s a whole heap of science that shows how growing your own is good for mental wellbeing and it’s used as an occupational therapy routinely. And, apart from obvious benefits of eating lots of veg, it’s not surprising that the act of tending a patch is good for you. Reconnecting with nature; the simplicity of it all; the control and agency one feels from growing something; the solitude; the sense of perspective it offers – veg growing ticks all the restorative boxes really.
For me, it reminds me that the world is a big place full of seismic changes (nature!) and my apparently insurmountable worries are in fact just tiny frets in the grand scheme of things. Also, I love the sense of achievement and satisfaction I get from seeing an apparently lifeless little seed turn into a great triffid (which I get to eat) all because of my care and attention.
Three words that sum up your approach to cooking?
Convivial, relaxed, ‘of the landscape’ (that’s more than 3, sorry!)
What would your last meal on earth be?
An impossible question! Really it would depend on what time of year my last day was. But I think it’d have to be a dessert – I’ve a terribly sweet tooth. Probably Dad’s bread and butter pudding followed by a slice of my Mum’s Christmas cake (if it’s my last day I figure I can have two puddings, right?)
What’s one dish that you’ll never forget your experience eating?
I had razor clams at River Cottage in Axminster years and years ago when I was just getting serious about food. I don’t live near the coast so I hadn’t eaten them much and it was served with leeks all chopped together, cooked in butter then piled back into the shells. It was such a simple plate of food but it looked beautiful and the flavours were spectacular and perfectly balanced. I realised this was everything I wanted in a plate of food – a good story (local seafood), beauty, flavour and invention. So neat and poised but without being fussy or reverential.
Dream supper club guest (dead or alive)?
Virginia Woolf (I love that description of her contrasting meals in college from A Room of One’s Own).