I am stirring chopped kale in a frying pan with hot olive oil and garlic. As I stir, I am saying, “Thank you thank you thank you,” to the rows of vegetables growing in the shared garden at Lisa’s. And I’m also thanking Lisa for sacrificing some of her flower-growing space for the more mundane peas and potatoes and beets and tomatoes.
The truth is, I’m looking to this sizzling kale and some lettuce, too, to restore balance in my life. I need to get back to the wholesomeness of greens, after days of feasting on Mother’s Day delights.
Make no mistake, my Mother’s Day celebrations were fabulous. Gifts tended towards exotic coffees, dark chocolate, and licorice. (Only strong flavors need apply in my case, apparently!) The festivities over a period of days featured such delicacies as teriyaki salmon, homemade gnocchi with mushrooms, oh, and let’s not forget the cream puffs drenched in chocolate sauce, the little white ramekins offering molten chocolate cake puffs, and the waffle and strawberry breakfast with Vermont maple syrup!
But the blue-green Siberian kale I cut today is making the transition back to regular nutrition easy. Not only is it great sautéed as the evening’s vegetable, it can be roasted in the oven until it forms crunchy, kid-friendly chips sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Its smooth firm leaves are actually being massaged in some kitchens–massaged and cut up into this year’s favorite upscale salad with praline pecans and pomegranate seeds and balsamic vinaigrette. And don’t get me started on the soups and pastas that feature kale leaves; kale is so very versatile you can’t get tired of it.
It’s not just about the vitamins and the minimal calories. With every green and crunchy bite, I am also savoring what it felt like to kneel on the earth to plant, weed, and harvest. I’m taking in the dance of sun and rain on growing leaves. And I’m remembering delicate killdeer footprints in the chilly garden the day I planted both the lettuce and the kale. I never saw the shy little birds, but the tracks were everywhere, filling me with delight. The only other killdeer I’ve ever seen was running along between the strawberry rows my father planted years ago.
Lisa may have given up some flower space for our four long rows of shared vegetables. But no beauty was sacrificed in the growing of these foods. When I arranged my first lettuce harvest into a salad, the painted bowl and the heap of dark red and lime green lettuce leaves echoed each other’s colors—the perfect “edible arrangement.”