With my big family I learned to shop for vegetables, meat and other ingredients that would be nourishing and filling. Brendan and I took turns at making our own bread.
When I was away, perhaps in hospital having a new baby, my husband would make a meal. He named it “Tuna de Beano.” The main ingredients were tuna and beans. But Brendan told the children how wonderful this meal he was making was going to be, that they got so excited they ate every last drop. Brendan’s favourite ingredient was excitement.
When the children were young I would make a stew with one pound of minced meat. When the children were older, with six growing boys, I still made a stew with one pound of mince meat! The food seemed to multiply in the pot! I would add herbs from my garden, bay leaf, parsley, celery, rosemary and sage. Whatever vegetables that were at hand were cubed, sometimes turnip, carrots or parsnips. Stock cubs are important to give flavour.
I would leave the stew to simmer in a big saucepan on the log burning stove in my kitchen.
My children loved my stews. They looked forward to what I had at lunchtime when they took a break from school. We were blessed with the Grammar school being near our home. No expensive school meals for my children.
I had a dream one night. In it I was making a stew as usual. But there were white strands through out it. A voice said to me “Those are strands of love you have put in the stew for your family.”
So my Special Ingredient in my kitchen is Love.