Thursday, September 6, 2012

Er, your salad is moving

I love when I have a chance to hang out with my cousin Caroline. It doesn't happen nearly as often as I would like, to be sure (and it's certainly harder since she stopped living in Queens and I no longer reside in Brooklyn). But I make it out to the Poconos to help her and Farmer Gary once or twice a year. Mostly around harvesting and festival time. You know, when there's lots of chocolate and garlic around.

I like helping on the farm itself, but most of my favorite times are in the kitchen making and sharing meals. Such amazing ingredients to play with: venison, freshly dug potatoes and carrots and beets, heirloom tomatoes and garlic, garple, homemade maple syrup, shiitakes from the logs they started a few years ago, edible flowers, and herbs galore. Mmm mmm mmm. And Gary and Caroline are quite the conversationalists.

During my final meal of this most recent visit, in the midst of an intense discussion about raw fish and pickled meats -- neither on the menu that night, thankfully -- I was about to stab a roasted beet with my fork when a squiggly green caterpillar meandered out of a nearby nasturtium on my plate. Guess I shouldn't harvest salad ingredients after dark without a flashlight, eh?

A few years ago, I might've freaked out a little bit. These days, I simply reflected on how the invertebrate still has more backbone than the last guy I dated. (At least the caterpillar has the excuse of having no opposable thumbs to be able to pick up the phone....) I delicately plucked the errant wriggler and moved him away from my salad and onto the table while continuing my defense of sushi as delicious. Didn't even lose my appetite. Imagine that!

(In case you're wondering, Gary eventually moved the little guy into the compost bin -- aka leaf-eater paradise. And, also in case you're wondering, no, I don't normally overlook lepidoptera when preparing food for others.)

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