Monthly Archives: March 2016

Food: Yes, You can Feast on This Beauty

redbuds

I wait for them.  Yearn for them, all through winter’s grey.  And then one day, they appear.  A few paces in time behind the ever-brave forsythia, they infuse the still-leafless forest with extraordinary splashes of magenta.

A feast for the eye and the heart. And also, I’ve learned, an edible treat!

Cercis Canadensis, the Eastern Red Bud.

Light and tangy.  Buds and flowers.  Perfect for sprinkling a bit of extra magic on a lush Spring salad shared with friends.

I know folks whose Ozark wildcrafting wisdom expands far beyond Red Buds.  Their resourcefulness, sometimes cultivated across generations, stretches from poke to greens to mushrooms and more.   For them even everyday chickweed and dandelions easily translate into nutritious treasures.  How I admire this knowledgeable, respectful linking with the land and its bounty; this way of being in touch, in harmony, in place, and in the moment with the Earth’s vitality.

Foraging, of course, isn’t a realistic option or necessity for many of us.  But for most of us choosing foods and related rituals (preparation, eating, celebration) that boost and integrate our spiritual, psychological, relational and physical vitality is viable . . . . at least from time to time.

I would love to hear about your wildcrafting adventures and/or the personal foodways which vitalize your everyday life and being.

 

 

Food: Digesting a Garden Smorgasbord

lauritzen

Visiting a northern botanical garden in February with two toddlers in tow hints at limitation — in time, attention, flora variety and color.   Thus, my expectations were set just slightly higher than pavement level when our snuggly packed chevy sedan pulled into the nearly empty parking lot of  Omaha’s 100 acre Lauritzen Gardens located in the heart of the city’s riverfront hills.

My sister and brother-in-law, who frequent the gardens, had pre-chosen two kid-friendly destinations:  the lushly tropical, invitingly warm Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory and the windy bluffs, home to two of world’s largest retired locomotives.

The contrast was striking.

train

Organic vs Machine.   Life vs Death.

exotic

But both evoked awe.

big boyBoth had a story.  An appeal.   A part to play in the modern psyche:  the pull of the exotic, Nature’s enchantment,  power’s thrill, the rise and results of fossil fuel-based  “progress.”

My mind’s been digesting this experience for  2 weeks, ruminating on a smorgasbord of questions about Life’s directing influence and cycles,  creativity and choice, the power of desire, and the inherent human capacity to stand in the present, eyes perceiving, heart open, hands ready, feet on the ground.

hands

Which distilled down to this:  the urgent necessity of tending and feeding our togetherness.   Here.  On this small planet.  Now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food: A Taste of Modern Love on South 50th Street

Modern Love

Roasted Root and Maple Mustard Salad (photo from modernloveomaha.com)

Last weekend I drove north, traveling through rolling Missouri farmland and gradually climbing into the sun-drenched high plains, until finally crossing the Missouri River at Council Bluffs seven hours later to arrive in Omaha, Nebraska, for a visit with my youngest sister and her family.

This journey yielded an unexpected opportunity:  dinner at Modern Love, an all vegan restaurant.

Tucked into a cinder block building enclosed by a triangle of bustling thoroughfares, the non-descript eatery seems, at first glance, hard pressed to fulfill its promise of “swanky vegan comfort food.”   I had my doubts.

But step inside. The staff, the lighting, the aromas all emanate health.  Welcome. Vitality.  Quality.  Omaha, in its commercial revitalization, seems to excel in offering superb experiences in unlikely spaces.

I have eaten a vegan diet for twenty years or so.   To hold a menu where every  single item from robust appetizers to yummy desserts is a real possibility stands as a rare joy!   No need to inquire about the presence of milk, eggs, or meat.   No need to settle for romaine lettuce and a baked potato. Just let the stomach and the intuition decide.

I chose the Roasted Root and Maple Mustard Salad.  Bliss!

And yet beyond the food’s tantalizing texture, color and taste, the greatest benefit of dining at Modern Love, without a doubt, rested in my sister’s heart-full company and our shared conversation.

Indeed, in our technology-centric, disconnecting world, an essential part of modern love certainly exists in appreciating small moments with family and friends . . . hopefully over good food.  Regardless of one’s dietary preferences.  Whether on South 50th Street in Omaha, Nebraska, or in  locations far afield.