Good Housekeeping

Even though it’s been raining for days, my mood is much improved. The brief flirtation of springtime warmth a couple of weeks ago was followed by a rude rebuff as unconscionable cold settled back in for far too long. But despite what felt like a giant step backwards, things kept growing. And now that the thermometer is nudging upward, there’s been a burst of verdancy all over the place. In the garden, last year’s spinach, mâche, radicchio, garlic, parsley, celery, and a few random onions are all bursting forth again, along with the first of this year’s plantings. I admire the hell out of these tough-ass vegetables, and the way they can survive exposed to a long, harsh winter and just bounce back like nothing happened as soon as the ground thaws. I show my admiration by eating them.

On the virtual front, there is also some new growth that some of you may have already noticed. Over there to the right, I’ve added a little box for my Twitter feed. If you’re on twitter, follow me for what I promise will be useful and/or interesting links with a minimum of frivolous solipsism. (That’s what Facebook is for, after all). And just above the TwitBox™ is a link to my brand new Etsy page, where I’ve listed a bunch of the ceramic pieces that you’ve seen real live food featured in right here on this very blog.

You may notice that this blog is ad-free. I hate ads. I think they’re ugly, and loud, and they ruin all the work that goes into building an elegant front page. They are also often for products that represent the exact opposite of the sorts of food that the blogs themselves espouse. Having said that, I certainly don’t mean to criticize anybody who monetizes theirs. Hosting isn’t free, and times are tough. But I’m the guy who lunges for the knob if an ad comes on the radio, and I was trigger-quick with the mute button back when I used to watch TV. You’re not going to see an ad on this blog any time soon.

So my concession to the realities of capitalism is that I will shill for products if they are my own. I make my ceramic work for me, not the market. I make the pieces that I want to own, and that will inspire me to cook better and more beautiful food. I like my from-scratch meals to be presented on from-scratch pottery; it’s a wonderful synthesis of the aesthetic and functional and it drills down deep into the DIY ethos to great effect. Other people like them too, which is very gratifying, and sales to readers and friends alike have been good all winter. Inventory is replenished, so if you like what you see, make some your own. I’ll be happy to fill custom orders, too, and requests for other pieces not available in the store. You know you want them.

Tomorrow the compost arrives, and I’m going to get thoroughly sweaty and filthy and bone tired schlepping it to the garden one wheelbarrow at a time, digging the asparagus trench, rebuilding a busted stone wall, ripping out a hedge of brambles to make a new fruit garden, and a hundred other projects that also combine exertion with eventual food. What’s life all about, anyway?

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  1. April 6

    Is that Japanese spinach? Looks good. (Easy to save seed from too as long as you have male and female plants.)

    I wish you happiness in your garden work. The payoff’s usually pretty great.

  2. April 6

    Happy Spring! We have miner’s lettuce along the roadsides now and my stalwart Swiss chard plant is busily making new leaves (now that I’ve evicted the winter snails and weeded around it so they have a tough time coming back). I’m not an avid gardener like you but I’m planning green beans and a tomato or two for this summer.

    The ceramics are lust-worthy. Wish my bank account was larger at the moment.

  3. April 6

    That looked like orache to me (which I love, especially because its name is so close to orochi, the Japanese word for serpent).

    Good on you for sticking to your guns. I do hate having ads on my page, but I enjoy the slow trickle of funds into my paypal account, which always seems to have just enough money in it for that impulsive purchase of say, ceramic handicrafts.

  4. April 6

    I’ve started saving in my pp acct for some of that gorgeous pottery!

    My garden is starting to look beautiful. I’ve been having a hard time confronting the task of thinning stuff! I hate to pull anything out!

  5. Peter
    April 6

    El: It’s Bordeaux spinach. Lovely red stems and really good eating. I may leave these to flower so I can get their seeds.

    Zoomie: Any gardening is good gardening.

    Blanche: My hate far exceeds the power of a slow trickle to assuage.

    Mo: Think of thinning as “curating a salad.” It sounds much classier. The ones you leave will thank you.

  6. April 6

    Nice plates. I’ll start saving my pennies to buy a few. That, or perhaps we can arrange a swap: a few plates for an immersion circulator.

  7. Peter
    April 6

    I like the sound of that.

  8. April 6

    Yes, each batch of thinnings has turned into a lovely sprout salad. The beet sprouts are my favorite, super flavorful and I LOVE beets and beet greens already. Can’t go wrong!

  9. April 7

    Drop me a line, we’ll work out the details. I’ll warn you, I’m not nearly the craftsman you are.

  10. Peter
    April 7

    Mo: No, you can’t. My son was in the garden with me yesterday nibbling on the re-growing spinach and talking about how it was the perfect balance between sweet and bitter.

  11. April 7

    I love the mental picture of your son at school explaining to the other little kids that spinach has the perfect balance between sweet and bitter. He’ll either be the class leader, or he’ll get his ass kicked.

  12. April 8

    That is so sweet. My 1.5 year old loves eating the sprouts and I’ve been teaching him which flowers are edible, it’s so cute watching him stuff an entire sourgrass stem into his mouth. Now I just need to watch that he doesn’t stuff non-edible stuff in there!

  13. Peter
    April 11

    Zoomie: He’ll convert them all.

    Mo: Once they get used to eating the sprouts, the rest is easy.

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