(Editor’s Note: You may not know this about Marada, but there is something in her temperament which is in keeping with Flemish painters. She likes earthy colors and spare cool palates, and light that grants you space to think. I think, sometimes, she’d love to just live in an empty house, with nothing on the walls or floors but sun on wood and whitewash.
I say this so you truly, genuinely believe her when you read this dispatch. She is not actually pitching for the sake of sales, she really does find some relief in radishes after the rich repasts of the holidays.
We are different in this way, and others. If you know me you may have an inkling of my penchant for color–I prefer to immerse myself tactilely in discerning shades of bold color. If you’ve seen the El Camino, you’ll know what I mean …
There are some foods I do indeed term ‘martyr food’, or foods that are good for you, but you suffer for them. Radishes don’t have to be martyr food, especially with these great varieties. We shouldn’t have to suffer to eat well in my opinion.
Enjoy the dispatch, enjoy pleasures of austere space, even as we emerge from our winter cocoons. Soon we’ll be surrounded by bursting fecundity, and empty winter rooms will be a remembered dream again.
This one originally went out December 26, 2013.
The Best of Non-Holiday Eating…
1. Winter Radishes
2. Sea Vegetables
3. Whole Grains (we’ve got lots)
4 . Roast chicken
6. Burdock root for detox
8. Root slaw
9. Plain yogurt
10. Salad Spinach
I can almost hear the cringes when I write, “Let’s hear it for radish season!”. Seriously, folks, I’ve brought in a lovely mountain (okay, small hill) of them and after a week of Granma’s incomparable traditional cookies, abundant and never ending bowls of nuts, more kinds of pie than will fit in an email, a modest array of ‘okay-it’s-a-holiday’ beverages, and plenty of rich dishes of locally raised meat in one form or another – I crave the honest, everyday love of a winter radish.
Leah calls many of the items listed above ‘martyr food’. But what you know about us, after years of local food and e-missives, is that everything has its season. And if you know me at all (I’m fairly transparent) you know I’m a lover, not a fighter. Especially in the food arena. To me, martyrdom would be choosing to live without when the joys of the season (any of the seasons) abound.
If any of my relatives are reading (and I know a few of you are!) please do NOT mistake this craving of simple for a distaste for the bounty of these last 4 days…au contraire! The two combined compose our regal terroir here in Maine…the lavish, immediate, and fleeting fruit season late summer, the desire to eat small, handpicked, newly appeared green things in the spring, and almost exhausting autumn and its bushels of demanding carbs to put away (somewhere!). Then the part of winter we never favor until we are here – austere, limited, and oddly, complete. If I were stranded on an island in January with radishes in the cellar and maybe a hock of prosciutto (okay I know that’s a stretch – how about few blocks of tempeh or sharp cheese?)…the only thing I’d bug Chellie Pingree for would be access to her library.
It was indeed a simplified Christmas season for those of us in Kennebec County without power in the ice storm. No last minute run around if possible. All party plans on hold (although my gratitude to our local power company who got our street up and running on Christmas eve in time for family to come by), wrapping presents by candlelight and telling stories to the kids while piled under sleeping bags on the couch…I’ll admit I haven’t attained the sweet homestead with wood stove independence at this point in our family calendar, but I’m grateful for all we do have to celebrate, and to enjoy, one radish slice at a time, in these cold winter days.
Lucky for all of you, the Crown O’Maine warehouse is in a(n) (almost) never-fail power grid in North Vassalboro. So while we were home bound by sheer ice and falling trees, your favorite inventory items were cozy and/or contentedly rock-hard frozen (gelato lovers, fear not)!
Order up your munchener bier radish (your call on how much beer to have with it) and celebrate the simple in the New Year!