Prose and Potatoes turned one year old this week! In this past year, as a result of starting Prose and Potatoes I've cooked and written and read so much, met so many people, experienced so many new and familiar and delicious tastes. Wow! Yet, here I am, the same person, (maybe older-with a few more gray hairs- maybe wiser with the experience of some failures) but still me, nonetheless.
It seems appropriate, then to point out that March, too, is an anniversary month: one year since we've had in-season spring foods. The cyclical motion of the year has revolved again to familiarity, much like welcoming back old friends from a 12-month-long journey. Achingly sweet, seed-studded strawberries, erect stalks of asparagus, and armor-studded artichokes have arrived! How I've missed them all. How I am comforted by the same garlic-roasted asparagus I made last March and the March before and the March before that. How I remember my delight at finding this amazing sauce from Orangette for artichokes, and making it again, scrapping my teeth against the leather artichoke leaves until the surrender their exquisite flesh.
The old adage, "the more things change, the more they remain the same," echoes in my mind today. By focusing on the food that revolves around the seasons, I am able to remind myself about change and predictability simultaneously. I am able to embrace the paradox in my everyday life. I am able to live and enjoy both the moment and the history that proceeds that moment. I am able to live fully.
In the year I've been writing Prose and Potatoes, not much has changed ideologically. Here's an excerpt from my very first post, that explains how I came by the name, Prose and Potatoes:
Why potatoes? Until I moved to Idaho nearly two years ago, I really hadn't thought much of the starchy little tuber, nor did I cook much with it. The variety of potatoes amazes me. Fingerling potatoes, Yukon gold, Russet, Idaho Blues, Red, Huckleberry potatoes (which have pink flesh). Although the stereotype that Idaho is one big potato patch is unfair, I can't deny how moving from the Midwest to the Northwest [and now, surprisingly back to the Midwest] has influenced the way I look at food. I am a product of my environment, and my kitchen reflects this. The things I cook and the things I eat change and evolve with my life experience: regionally, ideologically, and historically. Prose and Potatoes will be the tool in which I can plot these evolutions and share what I've learned about food, about myself, and about my world. Another endearing thing about potatoes is their utter humility. They are plain, simple, unpretentious. If there ever was a symbol for the everydayness of eating and cooking, it would be the brown, lumpy spud. It speaks of heartiness, comfort, and familiarity. "I'm a meat-and-potatoes type," we hear people say when they proclaim their culinary down-to-earth attitude. While I wouldn't call myself a culinary simpleton by any means, I do appreciate how its simplicity is something to notice in the potato. My hope for this blog, that it causes me to reflect on simplicity, on my daily eating, cooking, and writing life.
Why Prose? M.F.K. Fischer explained that she wrote about food because "our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others" (The Gastronomical Me). Fischer speaks with deep spiritual knowledge here, which is why this passage is so over quoted! (Please forgive me.) Likewise, I want this blog to be a chronicle of basic human need and desire to be loved, to be nourished, to be comforted. In the kitchen and around the dinner table is where the stuff of life happens.
Thanks for reading.
Here are some of the highlights from the past year of culinary experiments: