someone looked at these and said, “hmmm”
at some point, however many millenia ago, some random proto-human diver in the shallows saw one of these shells pulling itself slowly and steadily along the floor of the ocean beneath, and thought, “hmmm. I bet I could eat that.” on the other hand, he or she would have to wait several thousand years to be able to simmer them in chicken stock, thyme, laurel leaf, and pastis, before eating them with a sharp, lemony aïoli.
edible sea snails from the Etang de Thau
national punctuation day
my husband doesn’t like it when i use too many exclamation points and emojis. he is a writer and a lover of subtext and insinuation. . i am a rule breaker and a rebel. actually let me rephrase that. my husband is a writer!!! i like to tease him!!! he’s gonna HATE this!!!!!! Happy punctuation day, sweetie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
beach rocks from the beach at sète, france
play with your food
our neighbors, jean-luc and nicole,brought over a heaping plate full of black figs. they had gone out to their orchard to pick the last figs of the season, all at once, because rain was forecast. hence the heaping plate. if they had brought over say 6 figs, steve and i would have eaten them very intentionally, one at a time, savoring the end of the fig season. but, a heaping plate of figs in another thing entirely. the skin is thin, so they won’t keep long. it means i had permission, born of necessity, to play with my food. they were no longer precious morsels of mediterranean sunshine, that won’t return for another year. they were perishable organic matter that will go to waste in a matter of days if not used right away. in the end, the figs got used three ways; 1) we ate the best with gratitude for such neighbors, 2) i made two great still blog photos by cutting them open and revealing their lush interiors, and 3) steve made jam with my cut-up remains. so, in fact, fig season will now be extended, with butter and baguette slices, for a number of mornings.
black fig pinwheeled
two ways of knowing
here’s a little test. milk thistle has a number of benefits and properties. here’s one: “A recent review and analysis found that people routinely taking silymarin experienced a significant reduction in their fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1c, a measure of blood sugar control.” Here’s another: “The virgin Mary, traveling with the infant Jesus to escape Herod, hid her child in a thistle patch with the intention of giving him the breast. In the process several drops of her milk spilled onto the plants, and ever since, milk thistles have been identified by the prominent white vein running down their stems.” OK now walk away for five minutes and then come back . . . Are you back? OK, which feature of milk thistle do you remember? And are you any more willing to think of stories not just as entertainment, but as ways of learning about the world?
chardon-marie (milk thistle) Silybum marianum
these sloe berries are known in france as prunelles. they are inedible right now, but after the first frost they turn just slightly sweet with a sour cherry aroma, and then they are made into a coveted local liqueur. my husband and i just found a big patch of them. he is concerned that someone else will pick them first, but they are not yet ripe. i had to tell him to sloe down.
prunelle, le fruit du prunellier or sloe fruit (prunus spinosa)