By Deb A.
In the second part of our series, Grant and Ariana share tips on cooking for one's family, the recipes closest to their hearts, and the things they can't do without in the kitchen.
AGAVE: You'd toyed with the idea of publishing something like The Family Table from the very beginning of your relationship, but you only took the plunge after being together for over a decade, and with four children in tow. Once you started, how long did it take to create?
ARIANA: In actuality, it took us 5 months to put it together from conception to print, but even that could have been extended.
GRANT: Yes, it was certainly a sprint, and the next time we'll use a year (at least) to get it done! It was a very time-consuming project and we're proud that we pushed as hard as we did.
How involved were your children in the process?
A: Very involved! They have a fascination with food and where it comes from, and greatly enjoy the surrounding farms, vineyards, orchards and markets. Much of what we captured on film is them in these various elements, although they were asked to help put various shots together, from food flat lays to holding produce.
G: They also were eager and willing to help test and taste throughout the recipe process.
What recipe has the most sentimental value to you?
A: Most definitely the recipes in the Heritage section. I lost my maternal grandmother in 2014 and it's a small tribute to her and my memories of her cooking at the holidays that will forever live in my mind. All of my grandparents are no longer with us, and I try to grasp onto the memories that remain.
G: Indeed. I also included one of my favourite recipes from my maternal grandmother – I was about 13 when she passed away. The Heritage section highlights the importance of retaining family recipes and preserving legacy.
What do you think is essential to remember when cooking for one's family?
A: It's so important to get your children involved in the process from very early on. It helps to foster a love of eating and a respect for the labours of love that go into it. We also believe in everyone eating the same meal together at the same time (whenever possible). There is no distinction between kids and adult menus in our home.
G: You have to realize that they have strong opinions and aren't necessarily going to love everything you make. I think that meals should incorporate enough components so that someone can always find something they enjoy; then as you prepare the dishes again over time, they can build confidence in what they're eating and become more adventurous.
What kitchen utensil is a must-have for you?
A: Sharp knives.
G: Cast iron pans.
Signed copies of The Family Table are available for purchase in the Agave online shop this holiday season. (You'll have to find the knives and pans elsewhere, though.)
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