Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Feasting from a few gardens

Tonight's dinner was a large spaghetti squash (if you have never enjoyed one of these you are missing out on a wonderful and unique natural treat), topped with a butter and olive oil sauce of red anaheim pepper, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil (four kinds), garlic chive flowers, and a touch of kosher salt. With the exception of the salt, oil, and butter, all of this delightful meal came from gardens I have worked in. Two in the flatlands, and one in the Oauchita mountains.

There was no longing for prepared pasta sauce, or some mass produced accompaniment, but rather an explosion of flavor which reminds us of what pale shadows all of the mass produced food is to real food.

Mass produced food is food with no history, no story. Even the "farmer" who harvests it could not recognize even one of the pieces of produce from "his" land, but the farmer who truly respects his or her crop, who knows the land and that which grows upon it, whether in a urban plot, suburban back yard, or acreage in rural areas, can identify the produce, the product of their effort. There is a story behind every piece of food in those gardens.

Tonight's stories include failed efforts to raise emu for meat, discovering entirely by accident a volunteer pepper plant brought low by malabar spinach vines, and a union of efforts of specific individuals, amongst other stories. These all add spice and flavor to the meal directly and indirectly.

I find great joy in the fact that even a nomad (as I have recently been dubbed by none other than the great David (another story, another time)) can enjoy the wonders of the garden in which he/she has worked, or in this case several gardens. Nomadic gardening.. there is an idea..

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