Tag Archive | food as metaphor

Plenty of Food

Three beauties: Penstemon pseudospectabilis, Indian ricegrass, and little Wren.

I’m grateful that I have learned a few things about relating with dogs over the years. This little one is super smart, communicative, and skittish. I don’t want to damage our relationship by forcing her to do things. This evening when I drove up to get mail and meet a friend for a handoff, Wren wouldn’t get in the car. She used to jump right in the car and into her seat. Tonight she ran far away. She did not enjoy her adventure to the Black Canyon last week, and is still, I think, reeling from hanging herself out the window. So I took her back inside and tossed some treats into her crate and shut her in for the twenty minutes I’d be gone.

A couple hours later, after puttering in the garden, I went back out and just sat in the car with the door open. Wren ran far away again. I read a magazine. She approached but then ran far away on the other side of the car and sat and watched me some more. After awhile I didn’t see her, so I called. She came running and jumped up into my lap. She smelled like Russian sage. She had snuck back through the gate and rolled in and chewed on it. There are a few worse things she could have rolled in and eaten, but the smell is antagonistic to me and it took me a few minutes to figure out what it was. We sat there together for about ten minutes, then I ushered her off my lap, rolled up the windows, and we came inside. I’m grateful I know to take time to desensitize her to the car, and hope that one day soon she’ll be excited to go for a ride again.

I’m grateful for the easy early harvests of Ukrainian radishes, golden snow peas, and cilantro, and for knowing how to preserve at least two of them. I popped the snow peas right into the freezer without blanching, they are so fragile I think that will be ok. I’m not sure what to do with the radishes except wash and refrigerate them, and eat them pretty quickly. Friday for lunch I sliced one up in a stir fry with snow peas, arugula, orach, rice, and an egg. It was delicious, but today the thought leaves me cold.

I’ve preserved cilantro before in herb butter, which is in the freezer and I keep forgetting to use. Today I tried cilantro salt: finely chop 1 cup cilantro and mix with ¼ cup kosher salt. It’s supposed to keep in the fridge for a year! I’m grateful that the row of cilantro I planted did so well, and that I bothered to cut it back and preserve it for later before it went to coriander. There are plenty of stray cilantros going to seed in other beds. I never seem to have it when a recipe calls for it, but now I will.

I’m grateful that I felt like eating something, anyway, today, even if cooking and vegetables didn’t appeal. I tried a piece of buttered toast around noon. About three I made a simple cheese sandwich with some cilantro scraps, Havarti, and mayo. And when we came in from car training, I turned to my old foolproof hangover remedy which I haven’t had occasion to use in many years: orange Gatorade and potato chips. I’m grateful to have both of them in the house; grateful to have plenty of food, even if I don’t want it right now. Tomorrow is another day.

But wait! I couldn’t stand it. I’m grateful for the technology at my fingertips to learn how to preserve radishes. It took about fifteen minutes: went out into the night garden to snip some dill, sliced the washed radishes and a carrot, layered them into a clean pint mason jar, mixed a brine of two cups distilled water and one tablespoon kosher salt… in a few days I’ll have lacto-fermented radish pickles! They will allegedly last a couple of months in the fridge. There were other options including freezing and drying, but this seemed easiest and tastiest.

Zoom Cooking with Amy: Waffles + Mochi

Tomato in Drag lip syncing for her life

Oh, please let this be the new Sesame Street, the new Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, the new the rest of those zany educational children’s shows that hit the big time afterwards. Please let ‘Waffles + Mochi’ be the new culturally-defining kids’ show! Drag Race meets the Garden!

We’re all born naked and the rest is drag.”

What even is mochi? Auto-correct wants it to say ‘mocha,’ but it’s not. Even after looking it up it doesn’t make sense in my world view – some kind of rice. But this is what this show’s about: expanding the world views of children everywhere; children of all ages. Fearful people might perceive it as a threat to some single thing they hold dear, like skin color, pizza recipes, or language. But anyone else, a person with compassion, curiosity, and wonder at the miracle of life on this planet, a gardener for example, couldn’t help but be charmed. This show brings together all my favorite values. Good food (food that is healthy for us and for the planet), color (a dense rainbow of colors), self-inquiry self-discovery self-acceptance, curiosity, compassion, tolerance, love, nourishment, reverence for Life… and gardening! The transformative power of knowing where your food comes from.

Chef Samin Nosrat teaches the puppets that tomatoes are fruits…

From a ridiculous premise – give it a few minutes – it develops into an utterly charming exploration of food and food as metaphor. Guest stars Samin Nosrat and Chef José Andres add expertise and enthusiasm to episode one, teaching the puppets and some real kids about what makes tomatoes a fruit and a vegetable, and how to know where they belong.

… and Chef José instructs the puppets on the uses of tomatoes as vegetables.

Amy and I aren’t actually cooking this weekend, what with one thing and another, but we did FaceTime happy hour this evening. She reminded me that I meant to watch this show I’d read about, so now I’m doing it. It’s camp, it’s creative, it’s comedic, it celebrates real food, from the POV of an odd-couple of frozen puppets who dream of becoming chefs. Along with these novices fresh out of the frozen foods section, we (children of all ages) learn all about tomatoes in the first episode, and a little bit about how to think of our own belonging. In the second episode we explore salts of the world.

I’m no social scientist or education specialist, but my evaluation is that eventually this show (along with decriminalizing marijuana) could actually facilitate world peace. This world’s new crop of humans, the children of the Covid generation, could, with the loving guidance of wise, open-hearted elders, change the paradigm and bring humanity back into harmony with the planet, through a healthier relationship with food. I’m grateful for this clever, heartwarming show and its message of interconnection, well disguised as a frolic through the world of foods.

I’m also grateful for this ancient juniper on the canyon rim, and for still having the agility to get down below it for a portrait.