Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rotten potatoes and lye soap

You can tell a lot about a person
by the kind of potatoes you find
in their kitchen potato-holder thingees.
I found a rotten new potato (which of course
was not new at all but very old, juices running
into the bottom of the plaster-cast chipped
china mosaic container I keep my potatoes,
onions, and garlic in). You can tell when
they're giving up or giving in--people, that is.
If you want to do a mental check, just ask
them where they keep the potatoes.

I don't know where I've been for some time now.

Today, I left here in search of fresh kale
and happened to think about the Farmer's
Market, which is open on Wednesdays
and Saturdays. No kale, but I bought fresh
asparagus, two huge tomatoes (as it's too
early for home-grown here, I hope these
aren't the tainted ones from New Mexico
or Texas, as my mother pointed out
when I stopped by her house to take her the bar
of lye soap I bought her at the market), and
lye soap.

The couple there were a stern looking
pair, and the woman chided me for coming early
and asked me to please respect the 12:30-6
time the market's open if I come again, which I
probably will even though I don't appreciate
being spoken to like I'm 5 years old, but it
was worth it to get my mom her soap. I don't
know why I thought about it, but she was happy
I did. She uses it for a variety of things. Me--
I'm just plain scared out it. I'll stick to my dial
and dove.

So, I brought my mom soap and she
sent me home with about a bushel of string beans
and an Annie Proulx book (she said she loved
Brokeback Mountain, which took me off-guard
but I made sure not to look surprised). She makes
comments on a regular basis that would lead
me to believe she would not consider reading
a book about gay cowboys. And I'm not sure what to make
of her comments, so I just don't say anything.
However, after reading BB Mtn, she bought more
Proulx, she likes her work so much.

So I drove to Kroger and bought some kale
and white sweet corn-on-the cob. Tonight
is veggie night. Kale, asparagus, broccoli, corn
and salad with radicchio, frisee, romaine,
arugula, fresh herbs (chives, cilantro,
dill) radishes, red peppers, scallions, bean
sprouts, carrots and feta cheese.


I'm tired.


*********************************************

...Once, a man shot an eagle out of the sky. He examined
the eagle and found the dry skull of a weasel fixed by the
jaws to his throat. The supposition is that the eagle
had pounced on the weasel and the weasel swiveled
and bit as instinct taught him, tooth to neck, and nearly
won. I would like to have seen that eagle from the air
a few weeks or months before he was shot: was the whole
weasel still attached to his feathered throat, a fur
pendant? Or did the eagle eat what he could reach,
gutting the living weasel with his talons before his breast,
bending his beak, cleaning the beautiful airborne bones?

...I would like to learn, or remember, how to live. I
come to Hollins Pond not so much to learn how to
live as, frankly, to forget about it. That is, I don't
think I can learn from a wild animal how to live in
particular--shall I suck warm blood, hold my tail
high, walk with my footprints precisely over the
prints of my hands?--but I might learn something of
mindlessness, something of the purity of living in
the physical senses and the dignity of living without
bias or motive. The weasel lives in necessity and we
live in choice, hating necessity and dying at the last
ignobly in its talons. I would like to live as I should,
as the weasel lives as he should. And I suspect that
for me the way is like the weasel's: open to time
and death painlessly, noticing everything, remembering
nothing, chosen the given with a fierce and pointed will.

From: Living Like Weasels
Teaching A Stone To Talk: Expeditions and Encounters
Annie Dillard

2 comments:

Talia said...

I keep my potatos in the fridge. And I know you're not supposed to because it takes away from their nutritional value, but I just don't use them that often. In the winter I make a lot of mashed potatoes, but not so much now.

What does that say about me?

And I don't have one of those potato keeper thingies.

And, you are SERIOUS about your veggies.

Maggie said...

My sister keeps hers in the fridge, too. That's a no-no.

What does it say about you?

That you are pragmatic and conscientious. You know you may not use them before they have a chance to go bad, so you do the smartest thing--you put them in the fridge.

What it says about me is that I am in a funk. I rarely (if ever) have potatoes here long enough for them to go bad. Of course, you can always get a bad one in a bag, but you usually know when you take them out of the bag and put them in your potato thingee (mine sits on the counter and is quite lovely--it is rectangular and has pieces of chipped china inlaid in white plaster--the colors of the china pieces go very nicely with my cobalt countertops).

What it says about me is that I haven't been myself or I would not have lost a potato.

You see where I'm going with this, yes?

I rarely mash them, but I cook them lots of other ways. I make roasted potatoes with herbs, potato soup, baked potatoes, smashed (which is almost the same as mashed--just chunkier--I add a little freshly grated garlic, some chicken stock, some cream, and kosher salt and just smash them until they are a consistency I like). I make breakfast potatoes with garlic, onion, and red and green peppers. I cut them in half and oven roast them on parchment paper (sprinkled with kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper).

So, I was going to do some herbed potatoes tonight and I found out that my potatoes were not in good shape.

Alas.

Yes, I am serious about my veggies. Not a big fruit lover but I sure love veggies!