Raymond Blanc is well-versed in the pleasures of gardening.
Raymond Blanc has never been a huge fan of gardening. He and his siblings were expected to help their father in their garden in the Franche-Comté area of France since they were six years old.
He exclaims emphatically, “Oh my God, the garden would take six months of the year!” “I used to despise the garden since I was growing food with my father while my friends were playing football.”
The benefits, however, have lasted for a long time, despite the fact that the now 71-year-old Frenchman initially despised the earth’s demands. “What he offered me was a deep grasp of the soil, weather, time, seasonality, when to plant seed, and the wonder of that brown little seed – which isn’t particularly lovely to look at.”
Sowing seeds and watching them grow is still a form of magic for Blanc, whose latest cookbook, Simply Raymond, celebrates his passion for vegetables. “This kind of miracle still amazes me at times.” It’s a magic he hopes is catching on with more people, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic, when lockdowns drove many of us to the garden as well as the kitchen.
“I believe we are more conscious, and I believe ignorance is being replaced by information, which is empowering,” Blanc muses. “Food is linked to everything, including the type of civilization we are building for the future.” And it’s much better if you’ve cultivated some of it yourself.
Everything also improves your appreciation for the food you eat, which he believes “we have lost a little bit in our culture because it comes so easily, neatly packaged, and we have forgotten the basics.” He believes that as a society, we will become more concerned about how our food is raised and consumed. “Perhaps I’m an optimist, but we’ll reclaim it. “Perhaps I’m a romantic.”
Having a feeling of seasonality is “number one” for him, “because if it’s seasonal, it’s near to home – greater taste, texture, flavor, colors, and nutrients,” he says. It also implies gluts. (This is a brief piece.)