Let’s Eat — A Writer’s Guide to Cooking

A little while ago, I visited our backyard parsley patch and picked a good-sized handful for a batch of string beans I’m making for my daughter’s birthday. Now that I’ve got the pan on to cook, I thought I’d take a moment to marvel at the fact that I haven’t done a single blessed thing gardening-wise for the past several months. The dead and blackened tomato plants, along with the stakes and twine I used to hold them up when they were green and growing, are still where I left them last fall. A healthy crop of weeds has sprouted up everywhere, but the ground is far too wet to do anything about it. To top it off, it just started raining again — one in an ongoing string of spring showers forecast for the next several days.

The parsley, though, is beautiful. It is amazing how much cold those plants can withstand. On frosty mornings, the leaves and stems appear to have had the life drained from them. Then, as the air warms, they perk right up, more vigorous than ever. One thing I noticed during today’s harvest is that the plants are just beginning to show signs of going to seed. Here and there are the telltale thickened stalks, and the tufts of jagged leaves that rise a little higher than the rest of the plants. There are still several weeks of good parsley eating ahead, but it is far too early to be planting the next crop. This means, unfortunately, that we will be forced to buy parsley at the grocery store for a time. But that’s okay. We’ll just add that to the list of other things we are forced to buy at the store due to weather constraints and limited gardening space.

The other day, we were talking about brussels sprouts. Most family members agreed that the vegetable didn’t have much to offer, either in taste or appearance. And it’s true, they are less than exciting. But I did have this to offer: many years ago, when we still lived in Central California, I raised a dozen plants, and ended up picking and eating most of the sprouts right in the garden. Yes, raw brussels sprouts. I have also eaten raw okra. To me, it tastes just fine, although the fuzzy skin takes a little getting used to. Raw potatoes are also good. And of course so is most everything that grows wild on hillsides, even though we no longer care to pursue the matter. It’s a sad loss. Instead of making use of the earth’s varied offerings, we take pills and eat fast food.

I am reminded of a wonderful time when my brother, a friend, and I walked in a stream in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, gathering buckets of watercress. Now, that is something I miss doing. And tasting. The other day at the grocery store, I noticed in the produce section that there were a couple of small bunches of watercress. They were just a few ounces each, about enough to spice up three or four decent sandwiches — for three dollars. I said to the produce manager, “Who in the world would pay three dollars for a few withered watercress leaves?” And he said, “We have only two watercress customers.”

When I think about it now, I wonder whether I should be mad or sad. Both, I guess.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

Main Page
Author’s Note
A Listening Thing
Among the Living
No Time to Cut My Hair
One Hand Clapping
Songs and Letters
Collected Poems
Early Short Stories
Armenian Translations
Cosmopsis Print Editions
News and Reviews
Highly Recommended
Favorite Books & Authors
Useless Information
Flippantly Answered Questions
E-mail & Parting Thoughts

Top of Page
Current Entry
Old Eats