Friday, August 13, 2010

wheat salad, memory, and early morning congress with slugs

I remember that I have a bag of whole wheat on the shelf, so I put a cup of it into a bowl of water to soak before I go to bed. In the morning, I remember that I have started a wheat salad, so I venture out to the garden, because I remember that I have some sweet, plump pea pods, ready for picking. I think they would go well with the wheat.

I pause to say that remembering creeps up slowly on me in the morning. Now that I am walking to work each morning, I reserve coffee-drinking for after my arrival at the office. This adds incentive to get walking, and prevents the urge for an ill-timed potty stop somewhere along the way to work. When I arrive at work, I put the coffee on for the seniors who will soon walk in the door, ready for a day of fun, and those who bound up the stairs after their early morning squash and tennis, ready for the coffee that they have also surely deferred, perhaps for reasons similar to mine.

That first cup of coffee aids remembering, mightily.

Let's go back to the garden. I am standing in rather lanky grass, still wet with dew. I am wearing my pajamas and a pair of pink croc shoes that Fiona used to wear when she was about 10 years old. Andy and I both use these as garden shoes. He looks very cute in them. I am scanning the 8 foot tall pea plants for treasure. It's interesting how pea pods are exactly the same colour as pea stems and pea leaves. The only variation on the plant is the blossoms, of which there are many more, and so potentially many more peas. After a moment of calm focussing, I see lots of peas. I make a mental note to look up more recipes using peas, a note which I instantly forget.

I notice also that the slugs have not messed with the peas. Perhaps they would fall off of the slender pea plant branches, or succumb to altitude sickness. At any rate, I am glad to find many pea pods, ready for eating by me and my family, and not already partially eaten by slugs. I pick a hearty handful of peas and stick them in the pocket of my dressing gown. Then I look at the kale, because I think I would like some for the pizza that I plan to make for supper. The kale has not fared so well with the slugs. It's early enough in the morning, in fact, that a fat slug munches brazenly on one of the lower leaves of the purple kale plant. I pluck the slug and fling it to the other side of the yard, where it lands in the lanky, damp grass. Why can't we get the slugs to eat the grass, like goats do? That way the slugs would be fed, and we would not have to mow the lawn. Well, I guess I don't like to eat grass, so maybe the slugs have the same good taste in vegetables that I have. I note to myself that slugs are more similar in aesthetic values to human beings than they are to goats. I instantly forget this thought, as well. I do remember to pick a bunch of mint from the garden, but not before I wipe the slug-slime off of my fingers in the damp grass. I do remember that slug slime is impervious to soap and water, but removes nicely with a lawn-wipe.

Back to the salad. I am now running short on time to pack lunch, shower and dress before walking to work. So in super-speedy mode, I concoct the following salad:

1 cup whole wheat, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
a good handful of grape tomatoes, halved
a couple of tablespoons of chopped mint leaves
one dressing gown pocketfull of pea pods, halved
one chunk of cucumber, diced
a slice or two of red onion, also diced

I mix these up in the container that I used to soak the wheat, then dress them with

1/2 cup olive oil
a splash of balsamic vinegar (proportion to taste)
salt and pepper

I mix this well, portion a lunch-size scoopful into a smaller container, and remember to pack a wee container of crumbled feta cheese, to garnish the salad at lunch time. The rest of the salad goes into the fridge where it will keep for a day or two.

I pack my knapsack, shower, dress, forget to water the petunias on the porch, remember my cell phone and iPod, and walk to work, leaving at 7:35am, just in time to NOT have to take the bus.

I arrive at 8:30am, and put the coffee on. I remember to put my salad into the fridge in the staff room, but know that it wouldn't have hurt it to stay warm in my pack until lunch. I dress in work attire, and get that cup of coffee. AHHHH!

Bigger AAAAAAHHHHHH! at lunchtime. The wheat salad is delicious. It takes considerable time to eat because the wheat is very chewy. The flavours and colours are nicely balanced and the pea pods are sweet and bright. I remember how much I like wheat salad, and I think about how I might incorporate more pea pods from the garden into tonight's supper. I haven't forgotten about the slugs, but they don't really bother me. They are teaching me about patience, and abundance (enough there for them and us!). I am teaching them how to fly.

question: what do you find on your shelf? in your garden?

mompoet - remembering to share with the slugs

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