Skip to content

Abbey rations

Chioggia beets, kale, abbey bread

When you try to live close to the earth, you’ve got to eat what you’ve got. I had hoped to stretch out the spring crops rather than harvesting them all at once, but the hot, dry weather has forced me to do otherwise. Still, I count my blessings. I haven’t eaten grocery store produce, other than a couple of squash from Whole Foods, in several weeks. I’ve been living off the garden.

When I bought beet seeds, I didn’t know that I was buying chioggia beets. When I realized what I had, I was a bit disappointed. After all, what’s the point of a beet that isn’t blood red? But I’ve found that the chioggia beets are delicious, and I’m not getting tired of them. It seems they’re a new “in” food. Sunset magazine put chioggia beets on a top 10 list of healthy foods.

Yes, I do eat protein foods. I’ve been having the vegetables with vegan pimento cheese. I made a batch that has lasted me for days. When Ken was here, dishes didn’t last as long, and leftovers were rare. Now, with no one to cook for but myself, leftovers are a daily thing.

We people of the grocery store era don’t realize how unnatural it is — or at least how environmentally costly it is — to have such a variety of foods available at any given time. Our ancestors had to eat what was available. When cabbage was plentiful, you ate cabbage, no matter how strong a craving you might have for tomatoes, which you might get later in the season if you were lucky.

Archeologists have shown that, though the Celtic people of the British Isles (my ancestors) ate meat, it was not something they had year round. They mostly ate meat in the late fall, when they thinned the herds that they couldn’t afford to keep over winter.

Yet, we’re not completely without some economic discipline in these matters. Whatever is in season and plentiful will usually be the cheapest. You can have blueberries from Chile, but they won’t be cheap.

As for me, if the beets have to be pulled and the kale has to be cut, that’s what I’ll eat. I’m still trying to figure how how to use all the celery. And today I cut a beautiful cauliflower that I’ll roast tomorrow.


  1. mountain madness wrote:

    How do you roast a cauliflower? That sounds good!! I love to eat celery as a snack with some of that pimento cheese dip… How much celery do you have?

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    To roast a cauliflower, cut it and break it into bite-size pieces, put it on a baking sheet, and toss it with olive oil (or something like sunflower oil would be good if you’re using a really hot oven). Then roast it at 425 or so until it sort of tender but sort of al dente. Some people roast at 450 or 475 … let your conscience be your guide.

    I have eight celery plants. They were an experiment. The gardening books say it’s hard to grow and that most gardens won’t support it’s deep root system. But the celery did beautifully, so I must be a good gardener. 🙂 It’s a very deep green, not at all pale like grocery store celery often is. I’ve made some celery soup. I may try to freeze it rather than letting any of it go bad. If frozen I’m sure it could still be used in soups and such.

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink
  3. mountain madness wrote:

    How awesome is it that you were able to start those plants from seeds and now they are on your table!! What an accomplishment and very satisfying! I can only imagine how you were feeling watching them melt in the heat of the day… It’s like watching your kids suffer with no remedy! Do you have the next crop started under the grow lights yet?

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink
  4. admin wrote:

    I started the celery, cabbage, etc., under grow lights in mid-February, and i started the tomatoes, etc., in mid-March. The squash, pumpkins, watermelons, canteloupe, etc., I started with seed planted directly into the garden. I don’t plan to use the grow lights again until next February.

    If it would only rain! We have a 50 percent chance today…

    Friday, June 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *