My family’s summer house is an old church that my grandparents bought in the 1950’s. It’s located on the east coast of Sweden, in Småland. By our summer house, we used to have an organic garden that my grandma had worked up over decades. It was the most gorgeous and bountiful garden with lush hanging vines of sugar snaps, cucumbers, grapes and many other plants blooming and producing at different times throughout the year. Ever since I can remember, I have been sent out to pick fresh produce from the garden. It’s how I learned the difference between thyme and rosemary at the age of 4 and cucumber and zucchini at 5.
My grandpa is a chef, and not just any other chef, but a master chef who has written multiple cook books and established Sweden’s top culinary school and some of Sweden’s most famous restaurants. I have always loved joining him in the kitchen. I used to stand on a chair and watch everything he was doing. How he was boiling all those fresh out of the soil potatoes. And how he made carrots in funny, imperfect shapes smell of melted butted and salt. The tiny but twice as flavourful sugar snaps were often steamed and served with bass from the ocean just two minutes down the road. My grandmas hard and important work in the garden, with my grandpas impeccable and passionate cooking… What a team.
Until recently, I hadn’t realised how much I have learned from their way of working together, and how much I have held them as a gold standard of a healthy relationship. It was always there. So natural, so practical and so very loving. Since I met Lauren, all these memories have been brought back to me. All these years of not picking fresh veggies in the garden or not picking berries in the forest for preserves… How have I not missed it? I guess it’s been under the surface, latent, just waiting until I would find my perfect partner. That one complementary soul who was meant to remind me of what I knew so innately as a child. My partner in rebuilding a deeply meaningful and beautifully homegrown lifestyle to work on things like team work.
Growing and cooking your own food together is really something that strengthens your bond in a relationship. Sure, we could call for a pizza delivery or pick up pre-fab foods in the store (And sometimes we do!). But if we only did that, then we’d be missing out on this magic opportunity of finding some grounding time with your partner where you work together towards a common goal. Lauren’s passion for her plants moves me to the core. She takes care of them like her little babies, and when we finally get to harvest some kind of deliciousness from our plants – I promise you, the flavours and joy are enhanced by a million! In the same way, I think I dare to state this, Lauren finds her whole heart sparking with joy when she sees me fully focused, dedicated and passionate in the kitchen. And she loves to help me there as well. Preparing her harvest with gratitude and excitement. And oh man, do I feel like we’re a young gayer version of grandma and grandpa. I’m so grateful for everything they have taught me, both about food and team work. Lauren and I honor them by continuing to live this way, and cherishing the process.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with gardening! And honestly, it doesn’t have to be something big or advanced. We started out with little micro veggies in pot of a sunny corner of the kitchen. Read more about simple stuff to grow at home here. Link to Simple Stuff To Grow At Home