Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beans Green and Yellow

In fall it is mushrooms
gathered from dampness
under the pines:
in spring I have known
the taste of the lamb
full of milk and spring grass;
today it is beans green and yellow
 and lettuce and basil from my friends' garden-
how calmly, as though it were an ordinary thing,
we eat the blessed earth.

Just last week Mary spoke of eating a pine cone that had passed through the digestive system of a bear. Is there nothing she won't eat and be grateful for?

I for one have not been very grateful for the kinds of food that come in the form "green leaves."  I have not been able to eat kale, mustard greens, and spinach, even when covered in cheese such as in lasagna.  It took me years to be able to eat artichokes and Brussels spouts without gagging.  Maybe this has something to do with my mother serving canned spinach that was only slightly warmed up for dinner and became increasingly slimy as the meal progressed.  I was not able to leave the table until "'s all gone! Don't you know children are starving in India?"

Then this winter my spouse and I joined a food coop at an organic farm.  Winter vegetables in this part of the world are nearly synonymous with leafy vegetables.  "Oh my gosh"  I moaned when we picked up the first bag, "How will you eat this before it all goes bad?"   He answered this with a weekly ritual of cooking a pot of beans and vegetables, and adding some of the green leaves.  I love his vegetable stews normally, so I agreed to give it a go.  It looked and smelled terrible, but that first spoonful was doable, as long as I didn't look to closely at what was going in the gullet.  Each week since then he has been slowly adding a greater percentage of the organic vegetables, including turnips, radishes, and various things with big leaves we don't know the name of.  Each week I eat more and more of it and that pot's contents has become my major source of nutrition.  We are almost into spring and I have not tired of it, and am ever so grateful for it. 

Maybe the difference is that these vegetables come straight out of earth that I live upon. They are sturdy, firm, and fierce in my eyes.  For they bring me health and interconnection in ways I never knew was possible. Once a food nonbeliever, now I am saved.  What amazing grace is this world that we eat. Blessings to my spouse and all those others who make this possible.  

Are there foods for which you are not grateful? 


  1. My wife and I joined a CSA long ago. It has greatly improved our lives both nutritionally, gastronomically, and in terms of feeling a connection to our world. I am grateful for local, organic food.

    I am not grateful for processed "food-like" items produced for profit by large corporations, and I won't buy or consume them.

  2. LoraKim, I stumbled on this blog by accident, looking for the Oliver poem you begin your reflect with. I read the post, not knowing who the author was and loved it so much I thought I'd use it as a reading rather than the poem. I looked for the author so I could credit it properly and found your face. I should have guessed! This is beautiful, and if you were joining us tomorrow, you might have heard your words read back to you during worship.