Monday, December 29, 2014

I find your lack of cake disturbing

Thanks to all who helped to celebrate my 37th lap around the sun over the weekend! The food and company were, as usual, stellar. Dinners, silly hats, museums, yoga. Ahhh.

There was no lack of cake, BTW -- gluten-free rules don't apply to birthdays.

(Five points to those who can recite the original Star Wars line....)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

(Rose)mary Christmas

It's true that Christmas has never been my favorite holiday. I mean, seriously: it's cold, those muzak carols have been cranking in department stores since Black Friday, and there's all this commercial pressure to buy, buy, buy.

Bah humbug.

But I've been thinking I need to approach this holiday differently: by bundling up, avoiding department stores, and making some simple but thoughtful (and primarily edible) gifts for friends and family. And embracing the ridiculousness of the seasonal decor....
Check out this rosemary "living wreath." It was so ugly, I had to buy it (though I'd only technically stopped in to buy a bag of lemons). I giggled most of the way back from Whole Foods with it, thinking of edible decorations I could add to this most silly of herbal configurations.

What could complement rosemary better than garlic and hot peppers? Festive, no? And the added bonus is that I'll be all set for lamb marinades in the new year....

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Salem Bug Trials

It had been a challenging morning with a particularly loud and distracted group of fourth-graders, but after nearly two hours of garden work, talking and writing about decomposition, and cooking, things were looking up. It was time to eat. As the group sat down to steaming bowls of Thai curry noodle soup -- one of the most delicious dishes you can imagine -- one young upstart called out, "There's a bug in my soup!"

Oh lord.

Suddenly, what was traditionally the most calm part of class -- the eating part -- turned into a modern version of the Salem witch trials: like a wildfire, one student after another shrieked about little blobs floating in their soup until nearly the whole class was in hysterics. Most of the parents tried to calm the 9-year-olds, insisting that what they were seeing were not bugs at all but merely bits of the spices we'd used -- curry powder, cumin, turmeric -- but upon closer inspection, I did see some distinctly insect-like corpses in my own bowl. "Well," I tried to explain, "this is part of what organic gardening is about. We don't use any scary chemicals, so sometimes bugs like to eat our delicious vegetables, too. If it really bothers you, though, just pick out the bugs." Nearby, a couple of boys agreed, "Yeah, it's no big deal. It's part of nature. This is delicious!" And they asked their neighbors if they could finish their uneaten soup. I love having allies, and I slurped my soup right alongside them.

I am sad to report that the vast majority of soup this morning went uneaten, though. Tomorrow, my co-teacher and I decided, we will skip cooking the bug-laden broccoli from our garden, lest another near-riot erupt.