“Butterfly in the Sky” (Books Day)
I am taking pause at the moment. There is dough (butter browned, of course, a test splash of Kalamazoo Coffee Chiapas Altura from my Favorite Color mug, and no extra salt) in my great grandmother’s yellow bowl, spoons sticking out at odd angles. There is a batch already nearly done in the oven, and another tray ready to go in. These are thank you cookies for my neighbor who kindly fixed my bike’s brakes a few days ago. Earlier I decided that I want to do a weekly post about edible plants. I am involved with the Potluck Cookoff at 315 W. Walnut St. and am becoming re-immersed in people who wonder whether there will be rhubarb in two weeks, or need to make sure they cover their gardens when April snow is forecast.
I have tended a garden for years, grabbing up basil leaves and warm tomatoes for that morning’s breakfast, but all the plants were bought from a greenhouse. They tell you how much shade (or not shade) the variety will need, what is in season, and how long to expect it will be before harvest time. I know nothing about gardening. I am, now, in a position to learn a lot. My dear friend is our master gardener, and has now planted rows of peas, beets, greens, chard, radishes, and soon so much more. This is one of those chances where proximity, knowledge, friendship, and home all converge. I think I might be able to learn a thing or two about plants this year.
While cleaning out my closet, in which I found that retro journal a few weeks ago, I also found all my boxes of books. I organized them as such: Read. Unread. The book I plan to use as an aid for this project was given to me by my Aunt Ginny several years ago for Christmas when it became clear I was Supposed To Cook A Lot. It called Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World’s Food Plants. The book actually crept into my memory in the midst of my return to Michigan, while walking along side Aunt Ginny at the Botanic Gardens located next to Congress on the National Mall. I was so happy to see little signs with Black Bean Tree, and Curry Plant, Cilantro, all growing in one room and teaching toursits in jean shorts what food looks like in one of its earlier forms of consumption – before the burrito or Thai lunch special hits their lips.
I am going to start on page 64 – Fruits: Citrus. Tonight I will decide about how I want to proceed with this, as there are so many varieties that I want to learn and tell everyone about, but then I would just be rewriting the book… The book actually starts out with a lot of background, history, and information about modern issues such as shipping, food availability, and how many mouths there are on this planet that all need something all the time. I think that this book, along with the Flavor Bible, would be good additions to anyone’s library beyond those shiny oversized food porn cookbooks/coffee table fodder.
This is also where I would like to give a general call to my readers to please get involved and comment – if you would like to share information you have about plants, gardening, and ingredients, I would love nothing more than to hear it. Pouring words from my brain through fingertips to your screen and the internet is all well and good, and that is the nature of the beast, but getting to know the people I see only as Site Statistics sure does make me curious about you guys. Maybe you would like to say hi? 🙂
(These cookies are, by the way, turning out well. And there are way too many, so I am glad I have a neighbor to share them with, otherwise I might have to do a little more walking than usual in the next few days.)
I have pushed the pause button on my audiobook, and I would like to tell you about it. Gabrielle Hamilton’s book Blood, Bones, & Butter was kindly reserved for me by my mom. I just threw it on the other day without even reading the back, and I have to say, I am loving it. It is hitting the spot given various things about life, etc. etc. so it is nice to feel less alone and perhaps shine someone else’s light down my own path – sure makes it all seem less scary when you can do that, doesn’t it? Well, I would highly recommend the book. It’s funny because Gabriella has ended up in many places that are so familiar to me, and I like that a lot. She makes food at a summer camp in the Berkshires, writes of getting supplies in Pittsfield, and now is attending grad school in Ann Arbor at U of M. While I do not pretend to be anything but a midwesterner, having just left the East Coast and returned back to the mitten makes me smile to hear her words about and observations of this part of the country’s contrast to her life in New York City. It is much appreciated. While I like to think I can hold my own at penthouse parties, to look at expensive dresses without blinking an eye, I am always going to be more myself in cut offs, grilling in a back yard with loud music blasting. I am still not a grown up. So yeah, check out this book.
I have not heard this sound in ages, and I thought all you PBS kids might appreciate these as an end to my book review post: &