Victory Gardens have long been an American symbol of what the Spanish call cocina povera (peasant cookery). Call it conscious cuisine or conscious cookery — it’s making clever use of humble ingredients and is a keeper of a kitchen skill that will likely benefit us all in these interesting times amid Coronavirus quarantines and social distancing protocols.
Women suffragettes work in their victory garden. Public domain.
The key to our future is the past. During World War II, as America faced a food shortage, civilians took to growing victory gardens, growing food. Three-quarters of a century later, it’s time to do it again. At a time when we’re rightly coronaphobic, growing and cooking some of what you eat puts you in control in the most delicious way.
Channel some of your nervous energy into something positive as you’re self-quarantining, social distancing, flattening the curve, or whatever you want to call it. Start by growing some of what you eat, be it a wee pot of parsley by the window or a tub of tomatoes, whatever you have room for. It’s spring, the time when nature wakes up and gets happy. Get some seeds or a seedling, get a planter and get your hands in some dirt. It takes you from consumer to producer. Bonus points — you can get your kids stuck home from school involved, too.
Just a handful of fresh herbs can lift a recipe and spirits. Mint is the surprise in the spring pea puree recipe from my book, Feeding the Hungry Ghost. No fresh peas? Frozen ones will do you fine. Stock up when you can.
We’re all in this together, and we can all use a little victory. So get to it. When the going gets tough, the tough get growing.
If you don’t have a garden going yet try my Wild Greens and Barley recipe and make use of dandelion and nettle that you may have in your yard now.
Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing some tidbits of knowledge along with tips for becoming a more conscious cook. Something we all need a little more of these days. Check back with us and share your thoughts in the comments.
If you were to plant a victory garden today, what would you plant?
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