Hitting the Mother Lode

After I got back from the Okanagan, I made a giant pot of ratatouille. At the garden the next day, I was telling my fellow gardeners about it. “It was so good, I couldn’t stop eating it,” I said. This was not a boast, it was amazement that I could make something so delicious. I have never considered myself much of a cook.

I come from a long line of great cooks, women who gardened, canned, pickled and preserved. However, I did not follow their example for many, many years. In fact I strongly resisted it. So now, when I have a week like the one I’m having, I marvel at how very much I am now one in that line. How their example seeped into my very being, without me even knowing it. I also appreciate like never before how much work is involved and I am not putting up nearly the quantities my mother and grandmother did.

Here’s what I’ve been up to. I needed to use up some left over, not very flavourful yellow watermelon. I found a recipe for watermelon sorbet that looked delightful, but as I didn’t have an ice cream maker, opted for the watermelon popsicles. Wow! I drank the remaining juice – also wow! Washed and froze some of the apricots I’d brought back too. Great for cobblers this winter.

Yesterday I rode my bike to my top secret blackberry patch and hit the mother lode. My timing has never been great with blackberries, either they’ve just been picked over or they’re all green or I have to dive into the centre of the patch. One year I got so tangled I had to take my shirt off to get free. This year there was no struggle, oodles of plump, ripe berries dangling right in front of me. Now they’re frozen in my freezer. Bought a few more blueberries yesterday too, they will soon join the blackberries, rhubarb, apricots, and even frozen bananas (for banana bread and smoothies).

Today was pickle day. I got my dill and fresh hot red peppers yesterday. This morning I went to the farmers market first thing to get my pickling cukes. I had intended on ten pounds, came home with twenty, just like my mother would have. As I passed my money to the farmer, I noticed my blackberry stained hands.

I guess you can’t help becoming who you really are. I was lucky to be born into this line of great, hard-working women who knew a thing or two about providing healthy food for their families.


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