Sunday, July 1, 2012

Food Meditation

Yesterday, I picked the first peas from our garden.  There were only about twenty pods ready, not much more than a big handful when shelled, so I threw them in the boiling water with the linguine near the end, and cooked them for just a few minutes.  I put a huge amount of basil (also from the garden) in with a fresh chunky tomato and onion and garlic sauce, and another fabulous dinner was born.

Some of you may know that I have a huge vegetable garden -- it measures 40 x 30 feet and takes up most of my backyard.  We also have a little barn, and now jokingly call our place "The Farmette".  At this point in the year, there's not much ready for eating yet -- a lot of greens; collards, kale and chard -- and we're trying to eat up all the various lettuces before they all start bolting in the heat.  Many plants, when left to their own devices, will make flowers eventually, unless you interrupt the process by eating it, and lettuce is no different.  Once lettuce starts shooting up to the sky and making flowers, it turns bitter.  Fortunately, my husband doesn't care; he eats anything.

This year, we got a really good handle on the weed situation and put down newspaper with salt hay on top, over every bare inch of soil.  This is a miserable job to do, but then you can basically sit back with a glass of wine for the rest of the summer and watch everything grow and daydream about what wonderful meals you'll be flitting about the kitchen concocting spontaneously, depending on what needs to be eaten that day.  

When I buy veggies at the supermarket, I just don't have the same respect and reverence for them as for the ones that I grow myself.  If I forget about them and they start rotting away, I just throw them out or give them to the dog to gnaw on.  It was completely different with those peas yesterday;  I wanted to eat them appreciatively and reverently, which may sound kind of flakey and dramatic -- but how can you help but acknowledge the entire life cycle of something that you've watched exuberantly growing from day one?!  It's no different than any other living thing.  

Time in the dirt is essential for our well-being, I think.  Observing life cycles reminds us that we can't force things to be complete before they are ready.  Everything simply takes as long as it takes.  Can't pick the peas before they're ready.  We just have to trust the process and let go of trying to control everything.  So far, we've got cabbage worms galore (courtesy of those cute little white butterflies you see everywhere), one of the artichoke plants just disappeared without a trace, and about 95% of the apples inexplicably fell off of both apple trees when they were the size of golf balls.  So, we'll read up on things and maybe next time, it'll go a little better.  Meanwhile, I'm dreaming about basil, tomato and cucumber salads; grilled eggplant; pesto; and eating our own corn on the cob.  Fingers crossed.

Go plant something -- it's good for you!
Love & hugs from the hammock -- 
MJ