Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Definitive Salad

I regularly read a blog written by my friend Kate Outside the Square and today she has posted about defining moments in her life. She comments that these moments usually happen and then subsequently you realise that they were defining.

This started me thinking. I have another friend - yep 2 friends - who is a neighbour of Kate’s. Well, I guess I should explain, sitting in my little part of the world in south west France it seems like she is a neighbour. Kate is in Australia and my other friend, who, as far as I know, doesn’t write a blog, lives in New Zealand. So like I said, virtually neighbours.

Anyway, this friend of mine, who lives in New Zealand, has another way of thinking about these things. She often says that she is "making memories". So one friend looks forward and makes memories and the other looks back and finds defining moments.

This is great for me because the diversity gives me the choice.

Today I had a quiche for my dinner, accompanied by a small salad and I thought as I ate it that I was making memories. Maybe in the future I’ll look back and say it was a defining moment in my life. I hope so.

You see, what you don’t know was this was a simple meal, it was an incredibly tasty meal, but to me, it was also, an important meal.

The quiche came out of a box from the local supermarket. Yes, I know, I should have made it and I agree, I do live in France and there really isn’t that much to making a quiche, but I was busy, I was getting ready for some guests to arrive and I was a bit lazy.

So I opened the cardboard box and took out the quiche. In defence of myself, I can say that the quiche was made within about fifty miles of where I live.

The salad that accompanied it was the sort of salad I like. Again, it was nothing very special, a few lettuce leaves mixed with some mint and some basil. Some peas, a few chives and a red cabbage leaf were thrown in as well and, to pep up the taste a little, I added a couple of onion stalks, a garlic leaf and a couple of radish. So, as I said, the sort of salad I like but nothing special.

Except, this was very special.

You see, the salad contained a few lettuce leaves from my own garden, the mint was from the pot of mint growing outside my door. The basil was from my own collection of a few herbs, as were the chives, and the chive flowers. The red cabbage leaf was taken from one of those red cabbages I bought and blogged about earlier this year. The onion stalk was picked from the onions growing in my veggie bed, as were the garlic leaves and radish. The peas were not quite ready when I picked them from my plants. I even tossed in a few walnuts, which were picked last autumn but are still beautiful.

Yes, everything that went into that salad had grown right here in my kitchen garden, on a piece of ground that only 6 months ago was grass. Well, to be fair, not the walnuts. They grew on three trees that have probably stood there for about a hundred years but now find themselves in my garden.

So for me, today, I made some memories. I ate a great tasting salad. The very first dish entirely grown by myself, ever. I really hope I look back in the years to come and remember it and maybe, Kate, this will become one of my defining moments.



ilex said...

Lovely, Ian- and congratulations. Just-snipped salad greens sort of have a glow, don't they?

I know exactly what you mean about eating your own food being a defining moment. I still remember my first hot meal from the garden. It was lightly broiled crookneck squash, zucchini and tomatoes tossed in salt and olive oil. It was divine. I knew then I'd never buy another dead summer squash shipped all the way from California, and that I would always try to eat in season from that moment on. It truly changed the way I live and eat.

Maggie said...

Well neighbor in veggie salad world, it is so good to follow your food growing adventures and I am sure this time next year you will have so much more to add to that salad.
I have just put some photo's on our blog of our evolving veggie garden.
The thing that amazes me is that if you choose wisely for the seasons etc once the seedlings are in the ground and you get a little rain they just need very little attention.
Although a daily appreciative check and a few kind words helps the plants and us.
Happy gardening!

Kate said...

I am so pleased Ian! Next year I will help you pick a salad to share!
I, too, often think "this will be a defining moment" when I make something happen but, so often, it is the unexpected things that happen that make defining moments for me and those other things I think will be memories just don't have that power. For example, I may remember the day I read about your first salad because it came out of the blue when I clicked on your blog. You, on the other hand, have seen these things growing everyday in your garden until today when you decided to pick them - a slower kind of process, if you see what I mean (or maybe not??!!)

That is why my defining moments were all in retrospect.I would not want to lead myself up to such a moment; I am a kind of take-a-leap and see-what-happens kind of person!Scary but fun!

chaiselongue said...

Congratulations! It's wonderful isn't it, eating food you've grown yourself? You'll have lots more meals like this from now on, so it is really a defining moment.