18 March 2007

Suppertime at Grandma Annie's: A Light Approach and Plenty of Raw Vegetables

March is a funny month in Wisconsin. You never know about the weather. Will it be winter or spring?

But there comes a time, about mid-month, when the weather turns toward warm and the birds of spring are back to battle for position with the birds of winter. The juncos stick around a while longer, and the cardinals become aggressive as they guard their turf. The finches trill merrily at all hours of the day, and the red wing blackbirds cling to reeds and tall grass and join the song with a raspier trill.

Jerry, my neighbor, continues to burn wood, filling the air with that pungent aroma I remember from childhood. Dusk and the gathering night draw us inside to putter about in the warm kitchen.

My kitchen is small, not an eat-in kitchen at all, not like Grandma Annie's. Hers was truly the heart of the home, the comfort zone, the place we all felt secure and loved.

She was not an exotic cook at all. It is Grandma Annie from whom I derive my notion that it is not what you make but how you make it, and her meals were always made with love for the process, for the food and for the people who would eat it.

Annie and Mémere subscribed to the theory that large meals should be eaten early in the day, and light meals at night. So evening meals, which we called supper, were usually soup, salad and cold meat sandwiches.

Annie would set out plates of chicken or ham or turkey and various cheeses along with spreads and pickle or tomato slices. She adopted the "build your own sandwich" approach long ago.

Always on her table was a plate of raw carrots, celery and radishes. As a result, I prefer sandwiches eaten with these crudités.

I bought the radishes above because they still held dirt from the ground in which they were planted. That allowed me to cling to the idea that they were very fresh.

The radishes are very lovely and piquant, and they reminded me of a shiva with their root stems pointing this way and that.

25 comments:

Lydia said...

Lovely, lovely photograph. Spring, eh? We got our biggest snow storm of the entire winter just two days ago!

Mimi said...

I feel for you, Lydia. I truly do.

Don't sent it our way.

Maybe the northern tundra is not so bad after all...

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Please understand, I'm not gloating, I'm marveling at how the internet connects us all. I've just spend days working and planting in my garden and you are in the cold or snow. It does give me a different feel for the world.

Mimi said...

Yes, it's amazing. We got into the 30s today, and will get some snow tomorrow. But this is part of spring here.

In Wisconsin, we once had snow on May 9.

It nevers lasts long this late in the season.

I feel for our East Coast blogger friends.

But yes, Tanna, the connections are wonderful!

Christine said...

I am in awe of your photography!!!!
What an eye!
What a camera!
How do you do it???

Mimi said...

It's lighting from above and holding the camera at s slight angle.

It's just my kitchen situation, Christine, nothing brilliant on my part.

But thank you!

C said...

Well, you may think it's nothing brilliant my dear, but I think what you do is spectacular!

Kristen said...

I am so looking forward to Spring!

Anonymous said...

Great photo Mimi and agree with you about eating crudites, my lunch box is usually full of them. Spring will be a little later although the daffodils, snowdrops and hellebores are flowering, we are having a cold snap and snow flurries here in England.
Annd

Erika said...

Dare I say it Mimi? The dusting of snow we awoke to this morning is clearly long gone, the sunshine is beating brightly, and it weren't for the coolish breeze yet...

But it is warm and breezy out, so my laundry went out on the line today to soak up that spring air and bring inside later.

I clearly have spring fever as I'm trying really hard to not plan my vegetable plot. Hmmm...radishes now must be added to the list. French ones I think.

Mimi said...

C, thank you very kindly!

Oh, me, too, Kristen. Really. More so than any other year.

Oh, Anne, we've had snow, too, as Erika notes below - almost gone though! It's windy but the sky is mostly blue now - very March! I love it.

Erika, that sounds good. Then I can raid your garden.

I love the smell of clothing and sheets that hang outside. Oh, it's one of life's small joys!

cityfarmer said...

tulips are up here and robins abound...hopeful is the keyword.


Radishes are very well loved around here.

Christine said...

Hmmm. I'm the "C" who left a second comment Mimi. I wonder why my entire name and profile didn't show up? Ahhh the mysteries of the Internet...

FarmgirlCyn said...

I am in agreement with the others, Mimi. Your photography has been getting better and better every day! I like the focus on just the one thing that you have been doing!
Love is in the air around here! The birds are kissing, the ducks are mating like crazy, and the hens are being pestered constantly by Albie, the rooster! Yup, it's spring!

Mimi said...

Well, shucks, thanks! I wondered who C was!

I appreciate your kind words, Cyn.

Sorry I've been MIA lately — much work Here it is 10:30 and I just got home.

Please forgive me, all of you, for not visiting your sites much lately. I hope it lets up soon here!

Ed Bruske said...

The radishes still had soil on them? Where did they come from? I have relatives in Door County who say they still have snow on the ground, not ready to garden yet...

Mimi said...

I'm not sure where they came from, Ed. Finding anything remotely local and fresh this time of year is impossible.

But I craved radishes...

Kristen said...

I forgot to add that my kids love radishes. I slice them up and call them chips (and dip). Red chips. Whatever works for them :)

Mimi said...

Much better than potato chips, Kristen! What a good idea to get kids started on healthy snacks.

When I think of what we ate...

Katie said...

Mimi, I remember snow later than May 9...maybe 15th or 18th?
Those radishes (or redishes, as my mother would say) look wonderful!
I saw the first 'breakfast' radishes at the market last week. They were still too expensive to buy but this week should be good.
Our winter came back and I am sooooo anxious for spring!

Ronnie Ann said...

I have to add my praise for the gorgeous photo. You make radishes look like glowing jewels, Mimi! Of course I love your blog all on its own...but those photos are absolutely delicious.

Mimi said...

Oh, Katie, breakfast radishes, so good with buttered toast.

Thanks, Ronnie, I've sort of been on a blogging break lately. Not losing enthusiasm, just steam!

Lisa said...

That is such a beautiful photo! Just wonderful. Love looking at it.

Betty C. said...

I've been writing about the winter or spring issue too. It is freezing and kind of snowing right now in Aveyron! I yearn for spring. I also have decided to turn into a purple cauliflower. I felt sort of strange seeing my picture on so many comment pages...

Mimi said...

I know what you mean! I think you wrote about purple cauliflower about a month or so before I even discovered it here, BTW.

And I have not seen it since.