Tuesday, 1 July 2008


I was just thinking about what I am picking in my garden and realised that most of it is not available to buy, except Tony Scarfo does grow some - but things like broad bean shoots, watercress, mustard greens, fresh water chestnuts, the Chinese seashells, warrigal greens etc etc are not available at all if you don't grow them. Even at the market a lot of the vegetables don't change from season to season. How boring, how safe, how stupid, actually.

On blogs all over the world people are putting up ideas on what to make with their season's harvest. There is some discussion about red and black and pink and white currants on Patrick's blog and people have put comments about jams and tarts and fruit schnapps and granitas and so on and it is wonderful. Just wonderful.

Recently we had a thing about turnips here, after Deb gave me some and there were so many ideas - I never knew turnips could be such fun! Now I have lots of greens and they are going into everything and can be used creatively in so many ways. I dug up the white sweet potato, the leaves of which I had put into salads all summer long (and maybe that is why my harvest was so meagre - 1 enormous one plus 2 smaller ones!), and I am looking forward to some carrots and parsnips. These are all lovely winter things. Why would I want capsicums in winter?...Anyway I dried the last of mine because they were still green and I don't like them raw much when they are green so I am putting them in stews and they are much nicer that way.

I want to stand up in the shops and say no! Leave all that transported food alone, dear people of the earth, and pick the seasonal stuff not because it is good for the environment (altho' it is) but because it tastes so much better and gives you such variety and so many choices about what to cook. I used to love cooking with my children, right from when they were about 2 years old. Messy? Of course, and time-consuming! But fun and why have children if you can't have some fun with them? Eventually they could do it themselves and it was Hugh's contribution to the family to cook a cake every week, for their lunch boxes, and he got so good at it he put some things into the cooking competitions in the show and won some prizes. Now they both live away from home and love to cook for themselves and friends. Isn't that what it is all about, all this having children?? A proud mother I definitely am and so grateful to have had the opportunity to help them grow into the fine young men they are today.

Every day I go out and pick something from my garden for our meals. Everyday I eat a fair bit just wandering along the rows, picking a leaf or shoot or flower of this and that and noticing the things that are happening there, in the vegetable patch. The birds are all around, the light is always changing, the chooks are chatting away (hoping I will give them something from the garden or the kitchen) and I am there, with my basket and knife, choosing food for the day, every day. It is the only shopping I really enjoy - shopping from the garden.

Where has all the fun gone from people's lives? I am having more fun than is my portion, perhaps....but why aren't other people who could be? I truly believe that living a simple life is more fun and more fulfilling. It gives you time to think about stuff - serious stuff - but also time to be creative and to give of yourself to others and to share time with friends and revel in life. And time to grow - grow food, grow in spirit and grow in the love for the earth and the people you care about. Too much busy-ness stunts your growth, I think. This is the mistake of recent generations, and may be the downfall of future generations. If you only got half as much done in your life would it matter, when all is said and done? Yes, we would be happier, quieter, gentler, more content...and we could concentrate on fixing the earth's problems instead of causing them. And we could have had a lot more fun doing it!

Time is precious. Make some fast and use it slow.
Fun is contagious. Use some time to make some soon.



chaiselongue said...

As usual, you're so right Kate! I love not knowing what I'm going to cook and eat until I see what's ready in the garden, and the variety from one season to the next. Who wants to eat the same things all the year round? My favourite time (and foods) are now in summer, but I still like all the winter things too, trying new ways of cooking them, going back to the old ways too. And I'm very proud that my children have both grown up into people who love to cook! Every time we talk on the phone the conversation comes round to food and when they visit we all cook together.

Maggie said...

We had the most delicious meal of stir fry Asian greens, garlic and red spring onions last night, all from our garden. My Tummy is very happy this morning!