Nature’s Serving Suggestions

Food & Cooking, Poetry

As a young child, I was sometimes woken up when it was barely light, to go off with my mother mushrooming on the decommissioned RAF airfield near our house. Blackberrying was for late summer, always, and rosehips for autumn, when the entire village school would spend afternoons gathering rosehips for Delrosa to turn into rosehip syrup (‘Whaddya mean, slave labour? The best pickers got a tin badge to keep!’). Later, in France, we added wild asparagus, wild cherries, mushrooms, walnuts, chestnuts and sloes to our Free Food bonanza. It’s made me a seasonal eater. I love it when the seasons announce that we have a different food to add to our diet, for a few weeks only. Fresh peas straight from the pod! The newest and smallest potatoes! Discovery apples in August! And in winter, these same foods, bottled and preserved give us a different pleasure – a memory of summer, but presented in a comforting, warming way: plum jam to spread on toast after a brisk winter walk; walnuts stirred into the soon-to-be steamed Christmas pudding; a nip of sloe gin on the coldest of days.

Nature’s had a habit of giving us the right foods for the right season. It’s a modern idea to expect strawberries in November. asparagus in September. All that anticipation, all that enjoyment of a food made special, distinctive by its very limited season has gone. If we listen, we can hear Nature telling us to get back in touch with the way things always used to be. Then we can get rid of all those unnecessary Air Miles too.

This week’s Tanka Tuesday asks us to write on the theme of Lessons from Nature. I’ve chosen the Shadorma form to illustrate what I’ve just been talking about. Mirabelles by the way are rarely seen in the shops. They’re small plums, yellow or rosy pink.

So …





And Nature said …

56 thoughts on “Nature’s Serving Suggestions

  1. I’m all for seasonal food, and largely do eat it, I mean strawberries, cherries πŸ’ out of season?? Asparagus in the wrong months…argh Well done with the Shadorma

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  2. I must agree Margaret. We send foodstuffs to other countries and they send exactly the same food of theirs to here. Madness!!!
    Fresh peas in the pod….used to come home from school and help Mum in the kitchen. More peas for me than went into the saucepan for the family meal I reckon πŸ˜‚

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    1. This made me smile BB. When I was a child I was in charge of pea and bean podding for Sunday lunch. My mother used to buy twice as many as required because I’d eat half of them fresh from the pod!

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  3. Good sound sense and another style of poetry I’ve never heard of πŸ€—πŸ’— I have to say you’re much more industrious than me. I’m more of a pick and eat. Never make the jam jar stage πŸ€£πŸ’Ÿ

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  4. You’re so right that seasonal food fits its time much better than when we eat things out of season. Even those of us who get all our food in shops can get excited when the Brussels sprouts appear, likewise strawberries, cherries etc.
    We noticed on our walks in Yorkshire and Derbyshire last weekend that there were a lot of ripe blackberries on the bushes (and yes, we helped ourselves to some!) Years ago the bushes would be stripped as soon as the fruit was ready. Do people not go blackberrying any more?

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  5. Too true. If only we could go back to those days. Less airmiles and less food waste too. We don’t need all these choices, just fresh seasonal produce will do. Great poetry too – I haven’t heard of most of these forms you keep coming up with.

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  6. Margaret! This is a wonderful reflection – one that resonates with me. When I lived in Northern Manitoba where we had about 2 months of summer. (We had snow in June and snow in September) My father would take the family out, in the summer months, to the bush that had been burned by fire. There we would pick blueberries, strawberries and pin cherries. One year we had so many blueberries that Mom made 200 blueberry pies to freeze for the winter. Whenever we had company, which was often (my dad was the Minister) we would have blueberry pie. Thank you for reminding me of this precious memory.

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  7. I used to make jam with my kids, years ago. We lived in the high desert and had to buy the strawberries, but we had so much fun. I grew tomatoes, and different varieties of peppers. Salsa became our canning speciality. Those were good memories. Bravo on your shadorma. They’re perfect. BTW, I had to sign back into WP when I got to your blog so I could comment. I’ve not had that with anyone else… so there is something strange with WP, still! πŸ’œ

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  8. This year in my raised garden I grew on cucumber plant. I got just enough to share one or two and add to salad. I enjoy the ‘seconds’ table at a local farmers market – today I added some Patty Pan squash to my pasta sauce πŸ™‚

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      1. I’ve been trying to grow some herbs on a windowsil… only some success though.

        I’ve also cut the tops and or bottoms off of veg just to see how they grow… like the celery and cabbage or brussel sprout that are still growing in my raised garden. Not sure if I’ll get much edible out of them maybe just the leaves to add to soup.

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  9. This a good post and an excellent reminder to shop locally and if possible grow your own. Farmers’ markets are places to support and homemade jams or chutneys are so delicious.

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  10. Brilliant post. We are indeed having a very sweet seasonal fruit season this year, aren’t we? When and where do you pick sloes? I remember my mother trying the sloe gin thing, but not a success.

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    1. Sloes? You just have to look out for them down country lanes. They’re said to improve in flavour after frosts, but you can cheat the system by freezing them. I wonder if your mother tried to be healthy and cut down on sugar? Can’t be done, I’m afraid!

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