Last night I made a nice little dinner for myself. I had a nice salad of fresh fall greens from my garden and a bowl of pasta with home-grown pesto, topped with my own sun-dried tomatoes. It got me thinking about what growing my own food has meant this year. It makes food so much more special when you coaxed it out of the earth yourself. A plain, ordinary meal like pesto pasta and salad becomes a sign of self-reliance, and a connection to the natural world in the middle of the city.
The basil came from seedlings that my friend gave me. The garlic came from my neighbor’s plot. The tomatoes were end-of-season cherry tomatoes, of various colors, from my plot. The salad greens came from the seeds I planted at the beginning of September. I don’t want to wax too rhapsodic – sometimes I think locavores and gardeners can get awfully precious about home-grown food. It’s not that growing your own veggies somehow endows them with magical properties. But it does make you think about what’s on your plate. When a meal is not just about flavor but also about memories and accomplishments, it provides mental nourishment in addition to the actual nourishment. A relaxing, energizing, delicious break in the day!