Monday, September 8, 2008
For the Beauty of the Earth, Or: Vegetable Love
This fall marks a first for my life: the first time I have been overcome on more than one occasion by the urge to photograph vegetables. I suspect it’s because I have a closer connection this time, having been part of the process of planting and harvesting on a farm, sharing tasks with three other families in the garden. To be honest, Will has done the lion’s share of the work this summer, but even though I but rarely got my hands dirty, there is something delightful about knowing where things started and then celebrating their end.
We bring home big baskets of produce and I enjoy how beautiful it all is. I line the various bundles up on the kitchen counter like distant relatives at a family reunion: a few potatoes, a bit of parsley, some broccoli peeking out, beans, carrots, lettuce, zucchini, and tomato. And I think, “How lovely you all look. So many different colors from the same dark dirt. Smile.”
But all-too-soon my celebration ends and I have a second “first” to add to my list: the first time I have felt oppressed by produce. There are mounds of peas that need to be shelled and beans to be blanched and frozen and tomatoes to be dried and sauced and zucchini to disguise in a hundred different dishes. There are more vegetables than I’ve ever had come to me at one time and I need new pots, new techniques, new recipes to deal with them all.
In this season of “firsts,” I thank God and the good earth for such loveliness. And I realize I don't mind feeling oppressed by vegetables because it leads me to newness and creativity in recipes, in how I spend my time, in what I eat, in how I live. And to think it all started with dirt ...