Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pease Porridge Hot

I got the first zucchini out of my garden today.  I was ridiculously excited about it, though as anyone who has ever raised zucchini knows, by the time the plant stops bearing, I'll never want to see another zucchini again as long as I live.  The vine is covered with big yellow flowers.  I have never eaten squash blossoms, but I would love to give it a try.  I believe that one dips them in batter and fries them.  If any of you Dear Readers have a good squash blossom recipe, I'd love to have it.

I am currently undergoing one of my periodic healthy eating frenzies.  I do this with some regularity every couple of years.  This time I'm back on the macrobiotic diet, which is basically seasonal, whole foods and lots of whole grains. I plan to do this for a couple of months as a dietary tune up.  Perhaps it will do me good, or perhaps not, but it does make me feel virtuous, at least.
I bring this up because I find it impossible to make just a little bit of rice at a time.  I make enough rice, or millet, or lentils to feed an army, then end up with a pot full of ... well, pottage, which I keep adding something to every night, like carrots, or a tablespoon of peanut butter, or toasted sunflower seeds, any handy vegetable, herb, green I have on hand.  My last mess of rice and lentils lasted a week in its various incarnations.

This is the way people in Europe ate for centuries.  The lady of the cottage kept a cauldron hanging on an iron swivel arm by the fireplace, simmering at all times. Her son would bring in a rabbit, or she'd find some wild onions or herbs, or pull up a turnip, and into the pot it would go, along with a cup of dried beans, or a handful of barley.

There wasn't necessarily a set mealtime.  The hungry family member would come in and scoop up a bowlful whenever he felt like it.  A simmering cauldron full of a hearty soup/stew and some nice crusty flatbread baked up fresh on a flat stone by the fire any time you want it - now, that's convenience! 


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