Welcome to Bird’s Nest Bites!
My name is Roberta Reynolds. I taught myself to cook a long time ago (I am kind of old). I guess you could say it’s what I do best and what I think about when I’m not doing it. I started cooking during the 70’s when everything was beautiful and everybody wanted to go back to nature, but nobody really knew what either of those meant. To keep in the spirit, however, I lived in overalls and feather earrings during my college days if that counts for anything. My cooking has focused on vegetables, fruits and grains for the past forty some years. This type of cooking has again become popular, so I guess it’s true what they say: history repeats itself. Except at this point in history, many cooks have figured out how to make food that is good for you actually taste good. I hope you will think that I’m one of them.
I have catered weddings, rehearsal dinners, a fundraiser and a few parties here and there. There have been a couple of television appearances and public appearances where I cooked garden inspired dishes. For the last four summers, I have taught over 30 Garden to Table based cooking classes at Farmington Gardens Nursery in Beaverton, Oregon. To date, I’ve taught classes to nearly 2,000 people and poisoned no one. We are off to a good start.
You could say that I know a lot more about cooking than gardening. However, we share a garden space with my mother, who is introduced below, and who is quite bossy in how she likes things to work in the growing space. This results in spirited discourse (fighting) between the two of us throughout most of the spring and summer, so anything could happen as we work our way through the growing season. If I manage to annihilate the garden, there are countless farm stands and farmers markets close by. We shall not starve.
Bites does not live by the garden alone. We must have more for breakfast, lunch, and dinner than vegetables or fruit. And dessert is essential– that just goes without saying.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
I think it’s important that you know who you are dealing with. I’d like you to meet the family and friends who make this blog possible, and who will make appearances in many of the posts.
First of all, I’d like to introduce you first to my great friend and blogging partner, Tricia. For the first year of the blog, I tried to handle all of the content and social media hoo ha all by myself, and that was not a good situation since I had no idea what I was doing and was way over my head. . Tricia and I have been friends for nearly as long as I can remember, and worked together for many years at our former ‘real jobs’. In those days, technically I was her supervisor, but we both knew who had the brains in that relationship and it wasn’t me. We were having lunch one day and chatting about the whole blog thing, and she expressed an interest in helping. Before she could change her mind or bolt out the door, I jumped at the chance, and the result has been just the best thing ever. She is not just ‘helping’ – she is a partner in our endeavors, and the blog has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to her. She is an excellent cook and baker, is extremely creative, and has a great eye for setting up photo shots. If she ever thinks of quitting, I’ll have to tie her up and hide her in the basement.
And here we have Brian, the heart and soul of the inner workings of the blog. Brian is the reason you see the blog at all, and has been responsible for its set up, maintenance, trouble-shooting, and anything else that comes up that results in a frantic, sometimes hysterical call from yours truly. He is our constant source of encouragement, curiosity, and ideas. An awe-inspiring tennis player and coach, connoisseur of all things gluten-free, and an avid fan of the sweet vs. salty, crunchy vs. creamy, and any other food-related adventures outside of the traditional box. We’d be totally lost without him, blog or not. He is another one who must be tied up and tossed into the basement if he so much as hints at leaving.
Here are husband, Dick and I. We have known each other since high school, and have been married for over 25 years. He has hauled more food, washed more dishes, and tasted more experimental recipes than should be required of any human. He’s generous and kind to everyone. He is the best person on the planet and I’m not kidding.
This is my mother, Vernita. She was raised on a farm with 5 brothers and one sister, and they pretty much ate what they grew so she is dialed in on the gardening scene. She is 86. She speaks her mind. She loves cats and men – not necessarily in that order. She has been knows as Neeners since she became a grandmother. Lately and I do not know why, she wants to be known as ‘The N’. She insisted on buying this hat because she said it made her look “foxy”. This is what I am dealing with. The garden we will be planting consists of 8, 20 foot long raised beds in The N’s back yard, so she will be a constant presence this summer.
This is my sister, Linda (Otherwise known as Sissy for all intents and purposes. She also calls me Sissy which can be a bit confusing at times) and my niece Ari. Sissy owns Farmington Gardens Garden Center and Eshraghi Nursery in Beaverton, Oregon. It is one of the most highly regarded nurseries in the Pacific Northwest, if not in the US, and that’s not just me talking. I’m pretty sure she is the smartest person I’ve ever met, and probably the smartest person in the world. She is kind, generous, and funny. She employees 150 people and treats them all like members of her family. Her mantra is “Never do anything half-ass”. I like it. My niece Ari is the light of my life. She is an ‘old soul’ and wise beyond her years, and is nearly as smart as her mama. She is one of the most accepting people I have met in my life, with the exception of the fact that she appears to take great glee from pointing out all of my shortcomings. In detail.
This is my brother Gary. He is the strong silent type, and is the best brother anyone could hope for. He’s always there when you need him, and is one heck of a peach canner as well.