Monday, June 28, 2010
Shelling Peas & Snapping Beans
I signed my kids up for the Sprouts program at my local farmer’s market today. The Sprouts program provides various kid related activities at the farmer’s market to encourage kids to participate. We faithfully head to the market in the downtown of our small college town every Saturday morning, where people know us and greet us. It is my hope my kids will grow up loving the entire process of bringing food to the table in the summer—from planting the seeds in the spring, to weeding and picking our own garden and yes even purchasing those items we do not raise ourselves from the local farmers who grow them. When we got home today we snapped the first green beans of the season, always a big deal in this household.
These things are important to me because they form such a strong core of my own childhood memories. From the smell of freshly baking bread every week in my mother’s home to picking strawberries and blackberries near my grandparents’ house, there are not many childhood memories for me that are not in some way permeated by food. And these memories always come back strongest in the late spring to early fall, when fruits and vegetables are pouring in from the garden.
As an adult cook, I get most excited for tomatoes, corn and berries, which to me are the holy trinity of foods that must be locally grown and fresh picked to be enjoyed properly. But the child in me revels in the peas and beans, because when I am shelling peas and snapping beans I am instantly and always transported back to my grandpa and grandma’s house. I can feel the sun on my back and the breeze in my hair—and the wind chimes are tinkling around me despite the fact that we have no wind chimes at our house. I can even hear my grandma’s screen door swinging open and shut. And maybe my grandma yelling at my grandpa because he just mowed her violets again—always a weed to him but never to her. And I am sneaking bites of fresh, raw peas—the best way to enjoy them, straight out of the pod, while my mom and grandma both admonish me not to eat them all.