Today was a pretty relaxed day, compared to the last week. We took out the remainder of the produce from our community garden, which was mainly digging up potatoes - a perfect treasure hunt activity for children! Nicholas made another zapple crisp to share with a friend at supper and I worked on sorting the good sunflower seeds from the grit and other stuff that was pulled out when harvesting the seeds on the weekend. And, I prepared brussel sprouts for supper, which is kind of like a labour of love around here.
If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be writing about brussel sprouts, I would have laughed myself silly. I hated brussel sprouts and would likely have only one mean word to write about them. That is, until I actually tasted them fresh from the organic farm we have our CSA share with. And today, I mused over how much has changed over the past 10 years as I went about cleaning this year's batch.
I thought back to that first year we received them from the farm, about 4 years ago. It was around Thanksgiving, and Chris had just brought all that fresh farm produce in. I looked at these long stocks with green balls all over it - kind of like what I imagine jingle bells are, but green - and grimaced.
"Why did you get those?" I asked.
"Because I like them," he replied, not knowing that my tastebuds were already rebelling. I found this hard to believe, because he had never in all our years together attempted to bring them into our house. Nevertheless, we would need to eat them now.
Yes, I remembered what they tasted like when my parents cooked the store-bought frozen ones. I also remembered that cheese sauce might cover up most of the taste. But there was no way I was making the Cheez Whiz kind now that we'd weaned ourselves off of most industrial food. So, I made a vegan cheese sauce, spent hours cleaning those little cabbages (they were so wormy), and prepared for the worse.
It was my Green Eggs and Ham moment. I closed my eyes tight, bravely opened my mouth, and took a bite. And say, they were good! Even without all the cheese sauce! So good, I raved about them to our farmer that night.
I wondered if my tastebuds had just matured, or if it was truly farm-fresh stuff that was behind this sudden and unexpected change. So, we bought some frozen ones from the store, gleefully skipped the cleaning part, whipped up a batch of that cheese sauce (just in case), and tried again. Thank goodness for the cheese sauce! These things tasted nothing like what we had experienced just months before.
The next year was too wet at the farm and they didn't grow, much to our disappointment. The year after that, they were so wormy I couldn't make a full meal out of them. The cleaning was time consuming, and it seemed that most times the worms got all the way to the core, leaving me with nothing but a big pile of unusable sprouts and a bit of disappointment.
This year, Chris brought them home again - two stocks. He, Astrin and Jaelyn busied themselves with taking them off the stocks so we could fit them in the fridge. I sighed, wondering how much time it would take to clean them this year. And today, I discovered it wouldn't take that much time at all! The sprouts were big and fat and they weren't too wormy at all! They tasted as lovely as that first time.
Now, I reflect on the seasonality of our food. Eating in season just tastes better. The anticipation of what will be coming out of the garden next makes the changing seasons so much more enjoyable. It heightens my awareness of those subtle changes. It reminds me that our Earth has so much to offer us, if we are just gentle enough to tread lightly.