This month we are thrilled to feature the gastrophiles behind the lovely I Married An Irish Farmer. The blog was created in the fall of 2009 by a former co-worker of Lori’s, Imen McDonnell, whom after much time jet-setting around the globe as a producer for advertising, film and television, married a (you guessed it!) Irish farmer and moved to Ireland where she embarked on a whole new life and lifestyle. I Married An Irish Farmer was recently featured in The Los Angeles Times Daily Dish, where food editor Rene Lynch called the blog, “one of my favorite new finds”. As Imen so eloquently describes it, “I Married an Irish Farmer shares my experiences along with my favourite Irish treasures with an audience of individuals living in, and, loving Ireland from abroad.” And love it we do!
GD: How did you meet your husband? And more importantly, how did you know you were in love?
Imen: We met when Richard was on holiday in Mpls-St. Paul visiting a mate that he went to school with who now lives in St. Paul. It was Valentine’s week and when he left for Ireland he sent an enormous gorgeous bouquet of flowers to my office with a card that exclaimed that I was his valentine. Naturally, I swooned. Love came after 1000 transatlantic phone calls & emails + several romantic trips from the USA to Ireland along with a string of mini rendezvous in Italy, Spain and the South of France.
If you’re into what Imen calls “sappy love stories”, you can read about the romance in more detail here.
GD: If your relationship was a recipe, what would the recipe be called?
Imen: Sherry Trifle. There are lovely sweet creamy bits, some fruity parts and pieces that go down hard.
GD: How has living and working on a farm changed your approach to cooking?
Imen: First of all, not living in the city means if you don’t know how to cook you’d better learn quickly. There is absolutely no convenience food in the countryside. We grow most of our own vegetables, use milk from the farm and eat our free range chickens. I have learned to cook and bake out of necessity and it has been the greatest gift.
GD: Who’s the Alpha cook in your relationship?
Imen: It would be me...I’m definitely the navigator in the kitchen (Richard being the trusty co-pilot). Cooking for guests is wildly addictive. It seems nothing pleases me more than to place a plate of grilled lamb chops on a bed of rocket or a slice of Banoffee pie in front of someone at the dinner table at any given time!
GD: What have you learned about each other through cooking?
Imen: There is a lot of trust and patience involved in cooking. My farmer will gleefully eat anything I prepare....and I am very patient when he is in the kitchen. Also, that we work well in tandem. We host a very large dinner party once or twice a year and we totally jam on it....it’s great working together in the kitchen, there is just something sexy about it!
GD: Can you actually taste it when food is made with love?
Imen: Richard makes the meanest Full Irish Breakfast......he doesn’t cook very often, but when he does you can definitely feel the love.
GD: What’s the secret to keeping your relationship cooking?
Imen: Living on a farm in the middle of the Irish countryside certainly helps =)