Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blogger's guilt and vegetable ruminations

I have discovered a new form of guilt which is hardly something I need. It is blog-guilt which means that I haven't posted anything since the beginning of the year. I will catch up if any of you are still with me.

Blog-guilt is the twin of E-Mail-Guilt which settles on my shoulders when I don't answer e mails. I do try to answer all the e mails that come to me via my home page at and a clicking on the the heading for "Ask Barbara." There are a few that require more of answer than I gave; but they require testing and I have, sadly, been out of the kitchen. Again, I will catch up. Don't give up.

The reason that I have been so remiss is that I happily won the James Beard Lifetime Acheivement Award which showered me with interviews and I have written quite a few articles--more on them at the "news" button on the home page.

I have done a few new recipes and I will post them soon, particularly the salad ones as we are coming into the hot days. I find it hard to believe the weather we have had this year--terrible for the plants in my part of the world, but yet again, my Vermont garden will get caught up particularly the leafy greens that I can sow now. I heartily recommend two web sites for seeds: "Asian Vegetable Seeds" and Oriental Vegetable Seeds." They show the tremendous variety of available seeds.

It is interesting to note that many "Asian" vegetables are actually cultivars of American ones. Hot peppers (pod peppers) are a perfect example. None of these existed out side of the Americas until the Spaniards arrived. (I know Columbus was Italian.) Columbus may have set out to discover a route to the spice peppers grown in India. What he found instead is used all over the world.

This is why I have arranged VEGETABLE LOVE by the area of the world from which the different vegetables originally came. It tells so much about culture and history. Besides, I got tired of people telling me that tomatoes or zucchini were Italian. They have their own pride-of-place entries.

Dandelions, for instance were actually imported into this country by English settlers who were homesick for this green. It escaped from the garden and now festoons our land. That's why I have to weed out all those yellow heads and later the seed-bearing fluffs. Dandelion greens are good foraged from the wild in early spring when they are only about 3 to 4 inches long. Be careful; no roadside picking as used to be done in the old days--too much pollution.

More about vegetables next time.


Elana said...

Aren't tomatoes from Central America? Or is that potatoes? Says the lady from Ireland :-)

Barbara said...

Absolutely. When I say "America" I mean all the Americas. I am not US centric.
By the way, you are correct about about potatoes as well. As an Irish person, you know how thoroughly they have been adopted.