Friday, September 30, 2011

everyday food: from the earth to the plate

When I was a kid, my Mother and Father taught me how to garden. I didn't dislike it, but I can't say as I enjoyed many of the parts that came along with it. I hated weeding the potato patch, especially if my brother wasn't there to keep me company. Even though he spent half the time pulling huge weeds and throwing them, dirt clods and all, at me until there was seemingly more dirt stuck in my hair and the folds of my clothing than was on the ground, I still adored his company. Gardening is hard work, and as a child I had a hard time putting into perspective the magic of putting a tiny seed in the ground and exercising faith. 

The summer after my freshman year of college, I came home in the summer with a broken heart. I had such a hard time focusing on the positive at first, but then I took solace in the garden. I planted things and relished their beauty as they grew and flourished. I appreciated what I had always taken for granted, because suddenly I was spending most of my life living away from home. 

This past summer is the first summer I've had a garden of my own. I've written about it in this space before, but not necessarily the therapeutic quality of gardening. Quite often this summer, I would get done working in the office at IU and then head home to work all afternoon, and I'd just wish I could get away from it all for a few minutes. On those days, I'd stop at the garden, pick an armful of tomatoes and basil, kale and beets, kohlrabi and sugar-snap peas, and I'd load them into my hot car and revel in the amazing feeling of growing food. I'd drive and appreciate the smell of the garden on my hands; this is a smell that is hard to describe: it is a combination of earth and fragrant herbs, tomato vines and hot summer sun.

A few days ago I stopped at the garden on the way home and decided to make pesto. I didn't have any pine nuts or walnuts, so I used roasted almonds instead. The pesto was amazing.  

And this was the resulting lunch that came post-pesto. I love it when my husband grills extra chicken breast, because that means I get to have it cold on a sandwich. YUM!

I'm so happy it's Friday! :) We get to head off to see our dear friends in Kansas City this weekend! Can't wait! :)

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