Oh, Brassicas!


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Oh, how I love being the Mother of children who cook!  Its so rewarding to hear my three grown kids discussing the various ways to prepare incredibly healthy foods! All of them buy local, sustainable, GMO free organic foods whenever they can.  All three of them cook those foods and eat them with great pleasure and an awareness of the health benefits of what they are consuming.

I’m so proud of them!

In fact, I’m so proud of them that when I realized that both of my sons would be heading home this weekend to complete their tax forms, I decided that I should probably cook something local, organic, sustainable and wicked delicious.   So I defrosted a big pork roast, from a farm about 5 miles away.  As a fairly recent convert to fresh, organic pork, all I can tell you is YUMMMMMMMM.  Yum, Yum, super yum, holy yummification factor, wow, YUM.    I love these fresh pork roasts.  So. Much.

And I decided that I should also roast up a big pan of local, delicious, fresh veggies.  Like the red onion, the fingerling potatoes and the crisp fresh carrots that I got from our local food source last month.

But I also decided to add a big pile of brussel sprouts to the roasting pan.  Because my son Matt told me a couple of weeks ago that he “loves all of the brassicas”.

Yep.  The little boy who wouldn’t eat a grilled cheese unless it was served on a glass plate and cut on the diagonal, that little boy, “loves all of the brassicas.”  The child who refused to eat green beans or fresh tomato, that boy has grown up to be the king of roasted parsnips, brussel sprouts and cabbages.

So I tossed a huge pile of wonderful veggies in olive oil and flavored salt. I added some herbs from last summer’s garden, and popped it all into the oven with the incredible roast.

And everyone came for dinner.  My daughter and her husband and our beautiful baby Ellie, and both of our sons.  All gathered in the house for a wonderful dinner, for laughter and music and good conversation.

It was just what this Momma needed! Nothing is sweeter than seeing my children together, seeing them happy, seeing them with the baby.  My heart was full to bursting!

And after they left, and the table was all cleaned up, Paul and I went out onto the deck, to relax in our hot tub.  We gazed at the beautiful stars, and listened to the wind in the pines. We talked softly about how blessed we feel to have such happy and loving young adults as our children. We soaked in the hot water, feeling our muscles relax and our minds fill with peace.

And we stepped out of the hot water, and into the warmth of our home.

Where we were greeted by the lingering dirty diaper smell of roasted brassicas on the air. We looked at each other, our noses wrinkled.  “What the?????” Paul asked.  I hurriedly lit a lilac scented candle and opened the kitchen window.

Phew.

I know that no matter what I do to counteract it, we will smell the uniquely sulphurous aroma of roasted sprouts all night.  There will be no escape.

My only hope is that as I come awake at 3 AM to the unpleasant reek, I will roll over and murmur to myself, “I love having kids who can cook.”

Holy Brassicas.

Next time I’m going to make some frozen corn.

 

Abbondanza


My son Tim came home today.  We had a wonderful time chatting, catching up on news, having a bit of lunch.

Then we headed off to our local Farmer’s Market, just to grab a few goodies.

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Wow.  We drove up the hill, into the small town center.  We parked along the town green, parking on the grass across the small road from the old white houses and rambling farms. It was raining hard, for the first time in several weeks. Tim held an umbrella over our heads, but the rain streamed down over us nonetheless. We were chilly and wet by the time we got to the first vendor’s tent.

As we stood shivering under our small umbrella, I gazed at the incredible array of fresh, organic, locally grown foods.  There were baskets filled with beets, kale, onions, garlic, red and gold potatoes, lettuce, beans, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, turnips, parsnips and fennel.  Tim and I chose a few items to take home, chatting and laughing with the young man behind the counter.  No need for garlic or tomatoes, or carrots: I grew those at home! No need for beets or onions, I just bought those at the farm stand in town.

We chose some eggs, some lettuce and small, crisp cukes.  Some broccoli and a few sweet red peppers.

As we walked around the rest of the market, we bought some fresh, colorful eggs, a loaf of crisp fresh bread and a local package of goat cheese.

We stopped at the freezer truck where our friend and local farmer was selling fresh sweet corn and all kinds of local organic meats. We bought a dozen ears of corn and two pounds of freshly ground beef.

As we headed back to the car with our treasures, I kept telling Tim that I was feeling overwhelmed by the bounty all around us.  We had enough money to buy as much fresh, safe, healthy food as we could use. We had a choice of fresh foods that was almost an embarrassment of riches. I wished that I could buy and save enough of this wonderful food to see us all the way through the winter.

And two things struck me then: One is that I absolutely CAN buy and preserve enough fresh food to last until next spring. I only have to put in the effort to cook and can or freeze it all.  The second thought was more profound: how is it that I find myself surrounded by more food than any of us could ever consume, when the world is filled with so many hungry families? I thought of people far away, suffering in Syria and Iraq and Gaza and Ukraine. And I thought of people in my own community, young families with hungry children, who are unable to access the incredible bounty of the summer in New England.

I don’t know how I can share all this wealth. I don’t know how I can manage to feed those hungry children.  But I do know that I am committed to buying, saving, cooking, eating and sharing as much of this fresh, nutritious food as I possibly can.  And I will do whatever it is that I can do to bring these wonderful treasures to hungry people wherever they may be.

In praise of local farmers, who work so hard to bring us the beautiful gifts of summer!