Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Second to last walk of the year

December 29, 2005

*Without a prayer of an internet connection in sight, I have been enjoying my friends, the garden and the splendid but freezing environs. Today’s hike up the mountain led us past miner’s lettuce growing in the maze of thick stone walls. And while talking of lettuces and of mines, there was gunshot all around us. It’s hunting season, and I had left my orange cap at home.

The walk turned into a real adventure when, by chance, we met a bear of a mountain man, in his other life, an oceanographer. Our new acquaintance generously asked us in for some mountain style coffee on his homemade terrace which had irises **somehow hardy enough to bloom. Our new aquaintence has a two hundred degree view of both valleys, and is set up to maximise every minute of sunshine. He told us, that usually when the weather gets like this, (three weeks a year) he simply goes into hibernation, eating dinner at 15h and going to bed by 17h! An interesting man though, and we are pleased to have finally met an inhabitant of this mountain.

* - Merci, Wanadoo et France Neuf, both of whom treat their Mac customers very poorly.
** - My hopes of turning the soil before returning to the Pays Bas have been dashed by the cold.

debra at 13:28 | Comments (1) | post to

What smell is this, so strong and good?

December 28, 2005

Shih ching, in C. Birch and D. Keene (eds.) Anthology of Chinese Literature (1965), pb 1967 pp. 37-8.

High we load the stands,
The stands of wood and earthenware.
As soon as the smell rises
God on high is very pleased:
‘What smell is this, so strong and good?’

A text from the Shih ching, (Book of Songs), a collection of traditional ballads and fragments gathered after 600 BCE describing the life of the warrior farmers of the north western highlands of Shanxi (Shensi). This text is being quoted nowadays on websites hocking everything from garlic to hemp.

image: a closeup of kale farci

debra at 13:52 | Comments (2) | post to

Birthday picnic au plein air

December 24, 2005

With a small group of friends we celebrated my birthday with a fresh and freezing garden picnic in the painfully crisp air. Champagne, oysters and a sorrel quiche, in the case of the sorrel, eaten one meter away from the very plant that grew it. New neighbours, new but wonderful friends, all kicking the frozen ground and sipping champagne. We unanimously are longing for summer, or at least the spring planting.

Still, the leaves of the bruxelles sprouts are very sweet and the kale is abundant. In the case of the kale, the plants came from seeds that spilled unto the ground whilst moving the cabane, all so very sweet.

debra at 13:13 | Comments (0) | post to

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