“[We must think of fungi] not as a thing but as a process: an exploratory, irregular tendency.” – Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures Fungi burst borders and boundaries. Of matter, of thought, of mental categories. They tendril between previously discrete things […]Read more
Creamed pearl onions.
Since y’all seemed to like the talked-through bacon and brussels sprouts recipe, here’s one more: creamed pearl onions, a Thanksgiving and Christmas classic from holidays at home that has won new converts up here, where it’s going to a friend’s house this afternoon. (Sorghum sweet potatoes and a hummingbird cake, the Southern- and fruit-infused cousin […]Read more
Bacon and Brussels sprouts.
Next time you want a quick, warm, good winter supper — or a dish for Thanksgiving — especially if you are a Southerner in the Upper Midwest, here’s what you do: Go out in your garden and break off some Brussels sprouts. Brush off snow as necessary. Bring the individual sprouts cupped in your shirt […]Read more
If that don’t beet all…
Benjamin Franklin once remarked, “Experience is a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other.” Put another way, knowledge can be expensive, but a little pain can make it stick. Put a third way, I will never again — even in the fall, no matter how busy this busy time always is — […]Read more
New life, in waiting.
For the last few weeks of what’s been a brutally long winter, this was what I saw when I opened my bottom cabinet: thronging vines springing toward the light they’d been seeking in the dark, on their own, whether I was there to open the door or not. These are last year’s potatoes, harvested but […]Read more
The pleasures of okra.
If I had a dollar for every time somebody, emboldened by my Southern accent, asked me a question about okra — “What is that?” when they see it growing (once somebody asked, “Is that marijuana?”), or “How do you cook it?” or “Doesn’t it get slimy?” — I’d be able to buy, well, a whole […]Read more
The Mesabi cherry tree I planted last year is bearing its first cherries this year — only a handful so far, but each one tender and delicious!Read more
Evanescence on a plate: spring pasta.
The raw ingredients of a simple, overwhelmingly delicious and seasonal spring dinner last week: asparagus, morel mushrooms, and ramps (or wild leeks, which have a delicate, indescribably oniony taste), with perhaps a few cherry tomatoes in for color. Chop and sautee them in butter, lemon juice, and white wine (or verjus blanc), then spoon over […]Read more
The pleasure of collards.
As the days shorten and daylight “savings” time – what a name! – is about to make oncoming winter even more official, I come in from canvassing for my chosen presidential candidate and turn to the stalwarts still waiting patiently out in the garden, which a little cold only improves: two kinds of kale, two […]Read more
You pull up to the little grocery store in a distinguished area of a small west-Georgia river city, near the country club and a ladies dress shop named after a Confederate novel. There are beautiful old homes here, and old white people of the genteel and eccentric kind that live on mostly in Southern caricature […]Read more