If there is one book for the cook and gardener on your list this year, this is it.
“I have sown somewhat more than I have reaped. But as somewhere to watch things grow, a place to read and nurture, to sit and eat, to drink and think, to taste and smell and most importantly to understand the unity of growing, cooking and eating, it is a monumental success. At least it is to me. “–Nigel Slater, on his backyard and garden, from his book, Tender.
I have been absolutely mesmerized with Tender, a cookbook and memoir by Brit and BBC food columnist, Nigel Slater. His writing is so beautiful and insightful, I feel he’s sometimes taking the thoughts from my head. The above passage is one such case. This year in the raised bed outside my son’s bedroom window, I decided to plant wild flowers and herbs and a few tomato plants. While gratifying, I can get bell peppers that are riper, okra that is more tender, and beans and peas that are heartier, from the local Amish produce stand than out of my little garden. A garden is for watching things, anything, grow, and to dig and think and enjoy. Wildflowers provided the beauty, basil the aroma, and tomatoes, the satisfaction of eating something right off the vine warmed from the sun. Plus I enjoyed the flowers with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee in our new Adirondack chairs just beyond the bed.
As for now, my winter garden (my first ever), has chard, kale and lettuce. I just planted garlic and red onions and oh yes hyacinths for color. I’m settled in with Nigel’s book, plus the galley of his forthcoming new one, Ripe A cook in the orchard, to dream and plan and imagine next year’s gardens..blueberry bushes maybe? Whether in the pages of his book, your mind, or your yard, make gardening part of your 2012, and your friends’.