Friday, June 5, 2009

Vegetable Magnetism

We bought these yesterday at the Produce Patch in Bend. Could they possibly be any more beautiful?

On the advice of PP's proprietor, we broiled them for 5 minutes, coated only in a thin layer of olive oil, and then garnished them with a bit of herbed sea salt.

This is flavor that goes beyond flavor. Garlic spears have a deep, pungent mysteriousness that infiltrates taste bud, sinus, alveoli, neuron... Few times in my life have I held something in my mouth that so permeated my entire being. My cells and I can only moan in response.


In the store, these strange stalks called to me. I didn't know what they were but I was irresistibly attracted to them, the compass needles in all my cells marking true north by their presence. This has happened to me a number of times, always in the presence of immensely fresh produce, and almost always I've been drawn to something with which I was unfamiliar. My kale kick started this way, back on a beautiful day in November at the Portland Farmer's Market. Gigantic, warty, purple veined leaf - I couldn't walk away without buying a bundle, and when I steamed some for myself, for breakfast! of all things, my body threw open all the gates and sucked in some nutrient I'd clearly been missing all my life. And now, any breakfast without a bodacious leafy green just isn't.

I'm grateful for these strange moments of vegetable-oriented intuition, where my body knows what it needs without any help from my bumbling, energy-sucking brain. I feel lucky to have this... nutritional sensitivity? And yet, I wonder if my interpretation of these events isn't too anthropocentric.

Michael Pollan, of The Botany of Desire fame, might wonder whether my attraction to the garlic spears is a function of the stalks benefiting themselves in some self-perpetuating way. I'd like to take that one step further. What if these moments are the universe's way of inviting me to partake in all of its scrumptious brilliance?

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