This may be the final post that I get chance to write for the Silent Eye… that decision has been taken out of my hands. I spent much of last week in hospital, having, as many of you know, been diagnosed with incurable small cell lung cancer last September. It has been an interesting and informative journey on so many levels as familiar things have been stripped away and a gift of love left in its place… rather like the tooth fairy leaving something of real value in place of a discarded incisor.
First to go was the illusion of near-immortality that gets us through life, one way or another. We know there is a certain inevitability about life leading to death, but we tend not to apply it to ourselves until we are forced to pay attention. Dealing with the situation that made me sit up and listen meant…
Food is an integral part of every living thing’s existence. We humans, given our great intelligence, have taken the ol’ hunt/gather/farm approach to greater and greater heights. Not only have we crafted tools beyond a pointed stick to spear our wooly mammoth dinner; we’ve gone on to mix that mammoth meat with grassland herbs, treetop seeds, and a pinch of some black powder Grog produced with his Smashy Rock.
What always gets me is wondering who first decided to make a cake. I know! I’ll crack open this white orb what fell from this flapping animal without much sense. Ah, yes! something yellow and goopy! Now, I’ll try mooshing that with this rock-smashed white stuff I got from the tan plants near Poo Mound. Excellent! Hmmm… what about some mammoth fat? Ooh! And, now, bake for 350º F in these flat rocks that I’ve suddenly decided to call an “oven…”
I’m getting off-topic, though. What I’m really interested in talking about today are fruits and vegetables. Those most common to we European-descent Americans surrounded by a few tropical areas include: apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, berries, apricots, peaches, squashes, carrots, corn (oh, my goodness! so much corn!), lettuce, beans, peas, and potatoes. With the exception of the oranges, I can grow any of those in my backyard. I find them in the grocery store year-round.
These fruits and veggies are so common and prevalent that they slip into phrases (“that’s like comparing apples to oranges”). They are the staple of tradition (“as American as apple pie”). They even show up in nursery rhymes (“Peter, Peter, Pumpkin-Eater”).
Not until I watched a Curious George television cartoon with my son did it occur to me that life was not a piece of fruitcake. The episode responsible for this enlightenment centered around George the monkey (yes, yes; he’s actually an ape) meeting new neighbors from an Asian country. They’d opened a restaurant and store, and introduced George and his yellow-hatted friend to a variety of new dishes made from fruits the two had never seen before.
Forget George; I’d never seen them before.
Shortly before that point, I had learned that everything is not America where crops are concerned. Barbara Kingsolver snuck that fact in to her The Poisonwood Bible, when Nathan Price tries to cultivate the seeds they brought from home in the African Congo. Spoiler alert: they all fail because the local pollinators don’t know what to do with a squash plant.
I’m intrigued. What is a fruit or vegetable that you can grow near you, that I do not have here in the western part of America? What does it taste like? Further, what is one I have or that you’ve heard I have, that you wonder about?
How do you like them apples?
All right. I’m finished with the puns and idioms. Go ahead and check out what I wrote:
Thursday, February 18: Asked everyone about common meals where they live.
“Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.”
There’s a special place in my heart for food; especially, as my efforts to lose my post-pregnancy weight can attest, for sweet foods. Really, though, I’m only picky about quality. Because of that and the number of children I sired, I make almost all of my own meals.
Where am I going with this? To the kitchen, of course! Let’s say that it’s time to start the oven for dinner. Looks like I’m making tuna on toast tonight, a budget-friendly concoction of a white tuna sauce with peas served over broken-up bits of toasted bread. The rest of next week will be pizza, broccoli cheese soup, baked chicken with mashed potatoes and rolls, cottage pie, tempura vegetables over rice, hash browns and eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, chicken à la king…. This means I’m currently organized enough to have a meal plan, and that I’m an American of mostly-British descent.
I have go-to meals and favorites. Further, I have a full kitchen, seasonings and spices, food storage, and a stocked fridge. I know what to do with a whisk.
But, what about you? What are you planning tonight? Tomorrow? Next week? What are some of your favorite foods to make or have made? Have you all the latest appliances and gadgets? What about that whisk?
Hungry stomachs want to know…
Here’s about what I wrote/posted for the past week:
Wednesday, February 10: Re-blogged Gregory Joel‘s excellent observations of humanity.
Here at the Carrot Ranch, we take the business of 99-word literary art seriously. Those who participate in the Ranch prompts or yearly Rodeo saddle up to TUFF (The Ultimate Flash Fiction) it out and train new Rough Riders as we go. Now, the Ranch is hosting a new event to sharpen minds, welcome new hands, and celebrate one of our own the best way we know how: our first ever Rodeo Classic.
In this Rodeo Classic, we’re here to celebrate a stalwart center of many blogging corners, Sue Vincent. Sue has variously contributed to the community here at the Carrot Ranch, through communication with many other bloggers, and run her own famous #writephoto weekly blog prompt. You can (and should!) follow her on her blogs, The Daily Echo and the shared blog France & Vincent. She has inspired us to become better writers and shown…