Wednesday, April 10, 2019

All day and all night chunks of ice have been sliding and crashing off the roof. It's warm but it's cold; it's snowy but it's rainy; it's spring but it's winter. Mid-sleetstorm, a flock of robins appeared and began cherry-picking all of the earthworms out of my new pile of soil. The robins are fat and fluffed and seem relieved to have discovered something edible in this white town.

Last night I made a funny yet delicious meal. For a while now I've been planning to reprise my granny's green bean recipe. This is straight Appalachian garbage food--exactly how we've all learned not to cook--and yet I have powerful happy memories of shoveling these beans down after a long day among the cows and the tractors. I had two bags of frozen green beans from last year's garden, and I decided to cook them granny-style. First, I softened some diced onion in some chopped bacon. Then I added the beans, covered them with water, brought them to a boil, and then let them simmer on the back of the stove for about an hour and a half. The result, of course, is mush . . . delicious salty mush that tastes exactly like Scottdale.

In the meantime, however, I've also been teaching myself how to make injera--that beautiful sour bread served in Ethiopian restaurants. It's quite simple, if you can find teff or teff flour and if you give the batter a few days to ferment. Anyway, I cooked up some injera and served it with granny's beans, and the combination was perfection. Granny would have been shocked, but squishy green beans bear a great deal of resemblance to squishy Ethiopian greens, and the injera soaks up the juice and salt beautifully.

If you're looking for other clash-of-cultures dishes, I also recommend latkes with guacamole and mangoes with maple syrup.

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