Archive for Vegetables
The Year 2016
Even though 2016 is barely half over, I can say that it has been one of the crummiest years I have experienced. This isn’t because of life’s usual turmoil but because my Daddy died. I knew the day would eventually be here and I dreaded it. I probably dreaded it for more than 30 years. That’s a long time to dread something.
Gino R. Narboni was born on November 18th, 1923 and died on July 16th, 2016. My father was a unique individual who was kind to everyone. He touched many lives–as a medical oncologist and as a father, husband, friend and hero. I miss his intelligence, his wit, his insight and his gentle nature.
I have a picture of him on my desk that became the front page of his funeral program. I love this picture. He is looking directly at the camera and has a smile on his face. He is wearing his special “birthday suit” that my parents bought many years ago. My mother thinks they bought it at a PX in Germany. It was on the reduced rack for $15.00. Apparently, jewel-toned velvet suits were all the rage that year. To think that it still fit him when he was 90 years old is amazing.
When Heath and I bought this house in Bulverde last year, we were delighted to find an area that had obviously been a vegetable garden a long time ago. It was overgrown with weeds and volunteer trees but it had a fence around it and was perfectly situated on our property. (It is close to the house and there is a beautiful live oak that provides shade around the garden but not over it.) Heath and I cleaned it out and I planted tomatoes and herbs this past spring. Since the fence around it was only about 4 feet tall, the deer considered our tomato plants (and shallots and red onions) to have been planted expressly for their eating pleasure. I think we probably harvested 3 tomatoes all season.
So back to how this became “Daddy’s Garden”…Heath spent a long time thinking about how to build a fence around the garden that would be both functional and beautiful. His solution became what we call the non-pergola. The walls of this non-pergola are made of wood frames with hog fencing spanning each frame. It is VERY hard to describe but see the pictures below. Once it is finished, Heath he is going to build ‘troughs’ and hang the troughs on top of the fence. He really wants to grow strawberries so we will plant them in the troughs and hopefully, the plants will cascade down and make a beautiful border around the top of the fence. I don’t think he has figured out how to water the plants, yet. Keep in mind that the fence is probably 10 feet tall!
I decided to dedicate this garden to my Daddy about halfway through its construction. I realized I was going to fill it with so many of the fruits and vegetables that he loved it was natural that it be created and maintained in his honor.
Some of the trees and shrubs I intend to plant include a fig tree (one of my Daddy’s favorite fruits), a pomegranate tree, a peach tree, multiple lemon trees and an olive tree. (There will also be a persimmon tree planted in my mother’s honor.)
Eventually I am going to hang a large gong-like wind chime because I know that my father would have enjoyed the sound of it.
I hope that his spirit will fill the garden so that I know he is always close by.
You know, it isn’t easy being a vegetarian. I guess it’s kinda like Kermit being green. I made the decision to go meat-less in 1992. I still remember the conversation I had with a couple from Springfield, Missouri. They didn’t set out to change my carnivore habits but simply explained to me why eating vegetables was a better choice. In the 16 years that I haven’t eaten meat, I have eaten some fowl and I continue to eat fish (fish feed themselves). I could never give up dairy products or eggs (my “world’s best chocolate chips” wouldn’t taste the same if I didn’t use eggs or butter). For me, being a vegetarian is a personal choice. I don’t expect anybody else to adopt my lifestyle choice. The only problem is that my cats refuse to join me in my meat-free diet. They insist on eating chicken and turkey and one of them even likes pork products! What is a mother to do?
I love almost all vegetables with the exception of zucchini. I have hated zucchini since I was a little girl. My mother still doesn’t understand why. I think it is the bitter taste that the nasty vegetable leaves in my mouth. I remember when she would serve her famous zucchini boats (even the mere thought of them makes me cringe), I would look for ways to “dispose” of my portion without her knowledge. I spent many an evening waiting for her to leave the kitchen so I could quietly dump the boat in the trash.
I do like zucchini bread so go figure…
Did you know that eggplant in Arabic is zaalook?
That chickpeas in French are poi chiches?
That the word for chocolate is almost universally the same?
That fried tofu is actually very tasty?