Home Cooking with The Bachelor’s Chris Soules June 27, 2016
Chris is probably one of few people we know that could name at least 20 types of corn, soybeans (and pigs!) off the top of his head. Hailing from Iowa and foraying into fame on season 19 of ABC’s The Bachelor, Chris recently swung by HelloFresh’s NYC office to chat about all-things farming and home cooking – two passions we share!
Read on for more about his family’s farm-to-table home cooking traditions.
HF: What are some of your favorite childhood memories from the farm and family dinners?
“As a kid, I remember getting up early in the morning when the plants were still wet from the dew to walk out to the sweet corn patch and pick bushels upon bushels for freezing. We would sit in the shade of a big tree, shuck the corn, brush the ears with a vegetable brush to remove all of the silks, pile them on cookie sheets for the trip to the house, and then transfer them to large pans of boiling water. Although it was an all-day process, it was a great way to spend quality time together doing something we love.”
HF: How did your family begin farming?
“My great-grandfather was a farmer, so it was a natural succession that my grandfather – who worked for a company in Guttenberg, Iowa – also took up farming. Shortly after my dad was born, my grandparents moved to the farm that my parents now call home.”
HF: Why is farming important to you? Where did you get your passion for farming?
“Farming has been a passion of mine my whole life, and I grew up loving every aspect of it. Whether planting a seed or raising an animal, the reward is immeasurable. It’s a remarkable feeling to see the results of your hard work come to fruition. Today, with modern technology, the world of farming continues to grow and is filled with opportunities for anyone to participate.”
HF: What are some of your favorite family recipes?
“My mom’s zucchini bread is unreal. The zucchini would come straight from her garden. You can truly taste the difference when the ingredients are freshly picked and when the recipe is made with that extra touch of TLC! [Also,] you simply can’t beat the homegrown sweet corn [my mom] freezes. She packs up and freezes it in two different ways: one plain and the other roasted in butter and half and half. That may sound simple, but nothing compares to either of these in the flavor department!”
HF: Do you have any funny childhood dinner stories? Any home cooking catastrophes or kitchen disasters?
“My mom loves to tell the story of her first dinner with my dad’s family, the main goal of which was to impress them. Unfortunately, large group dinners were new to her, and the mashed potatoes only made it halfway around the table. I guarantee you there was never a shortage of mashed potatoes from then on!”
HF: Why is it important to cook at home and eat dinner as a family?
“6 p.m. was always suppertime at our house and something we looked forward to every single night. School activities were over by then, and the whole family sat down together to eat. Everyone had his or her chores to make the meal possible – from setting the table, pouring glasses of water, adding the butter, salt, etc. We always drank water with dinner, and [soda] pop was a special nighttime treat with popcorn. The meal was an opportunity for everyone to share stories from their day and make plans for the next one.”
HF: Do you still have family dinners? How often? What do they look like now?
“Family dinners are not very common these days, unfortunately. But we still share the holidays with my sisters, and they usually take turns hosting. They have all turned into excellent home cooks. The last time they were all home, everyone pitched in to make the meal. My brother-in-laws grilled, my sisters made their specialty dishes, and my mom supervised!”
HF: What is your cooking level?
“I’m still learning the art of home cooking. With three sisters, I never really spent much time in the kitchen since they were all so good at it. I do like to grill, however, and love to experiment with different spices and seasonings to add flavor.”
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