Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Signs of September

September in Brooklyn. 

Small, wind-dropped pawpaws (Asimina triloba). Ragweed flower heads drying (for crackers). Sunflowers from the local deli, and books. Olia Hercules' Summer Kitchens has been a constant companion for months - an incongruously peaceful Ukraine spread across the beautiful pages. Food Plants of the World (under the pawpaws) by South African Ben-Erik van Wyk is a helpful reference for my own work (if you call delving into the edible uses of plants work; it sure is time-consuming) and for articles I might be writing.  

And Ethiopia, Recipes amd Traditions from the Horn of Africa, by Yohanis Gebreyesus and Keff Koehler is a wonderful resource that increased my spice shelf by a full row (six jars). I mean, I had used berbere (a fragrant, hot spice blend) for years, but this cookbook introduced me to ajowan, koseret, besobella, long pepper, the proper use of black nigella, and at last convinced me to acquire grains of paradise. What was even sexier was that the herbs' botanical names - with one vexing exception (tosegn, a species of thyme) - were included in a couple of explanatory pages. That never happens.

In the back, my old Margaret Roberts' Indigenous Healing Plants, consulted for a piece I wrote about black nightshade (you can read it on Gardenista). And my own two books. Forage, Harvest, Feast for a recent Pawpaw Spicecake for last weekend's forage walk and picnic with a group of 16 out on Staten Island. And 66 Square Feet - A Delicious Life, because it's been years since I really dipped into it. It's almost a seasonal archive, in the age of global warming - every month's weather and moods charted and described, and its produce grown or eaten. Perhaps, in 50 years' time, it will all seem implausible.



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