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Recipes and Stories

28 February 2023: Into the Wilderness in Lent—New Potatoes with Garlic and Olive Oil

New Potatoes with Garlic and Olive Oil

While I've been out in the jungle we call the back garden, hacking away at the briars that have surrounded our sadly neglected greenhouse like Sleeping Beauty's castle, Lent has crept up on me.


For those who don't observe the Christian calendar, Lent is a penitential season of spiritual fasting modeled on the forty day fast that Jesus took to prepare for his ministry. Well, since he retreated to the wilderness for that one, in a way it seems appropriate that my Lenten observance began out in our own little wilderness.


Many who observe Lent focus on what they're not doing (most often what they're not eating and drinking). But a proper spiritual fast is less about the abstinence that marks it outwardly than the introspection and contemplation that ought to be going on inwardly. To that end, there's been a trend over the last few years to shift the focus from "giving things up" to "taking things on" as a spiritual discipline.


Perhaps rescuing our sadly neglected garden could be thought of as spiritual, but then again, so can everything we do. With that idea in mind, these days  Read More 

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10 February 2023: Winter Gardening and Spinach Gratin

Spinach Gratin or, as we call it down South "Souffle"


The weather here in Virginia has been unusually mild, cool enough to invigorate, but not too warm to make working in the garden uncomfortable. Since there are only a few weeks left in the dormant season, I've been back out in it, trying to get as much as possible under control before spring.


I'm doing the work mostly alone, with limited tools, which would be daunting for someone half my age. And as the masses of yard waste, pruned limbs, felled trees, cut bamboo, and tangles of cut vines continue to pile up, what remains to be done is a little overwhelming. It's probably to be expected that my cooking has been basic and heavy on winter comfort food that I've shared too often to revisit on this page.


But every now and again inspiration strikes. It may be an unexpected discovery Read More 

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