My winter botanical effort has been growing herbs in the window. I’m feeling pleased to have accomplished this because these herbs had a rough start. They were leftovers from my volunteer gig where I give away produce. The food we give is often close to expiration date so the herbs were a little tired to begin with. On top of that, they’d been outside for hours in the freezing cold. I decided to root them in water even though they looked pretty sad, and despite the odds, the herbs are thriving. They make me happy when I see the snow outside. Sometimes I brush the mint or rosemary with my hand for the cheerful scent.
I’ve discovered the majority of people who get free food from my volunteer gig don’t know what to do with herbs. I find this rather befuddling since food without herbs can be dull, or at least I think it’s dull. Put basil on a pizza and the pizza is better. Make pesto and put it on pasta. Make tea with mint. The list of ideas is only limited by imagination.
When I was a kid, I wanted to branch out from recipes, but I didn’t know how. I opened all the herb and spice jars and smelled them. Tasting the spices didn’t really give me a good idea of their qualities, but the aroma was very telling. I experimented until I found the combinations I liked best.
For example, I made a couple of apple cakes the other day. This was also courtesy of the food giveaway leftovers because there were some sad looking apples left in the box. I made one cake for a friend who appreciates apple cake. His cake had the proscribed amount of cinnamon and no other spices since I don’t know his feelings about experimentation. For my own cake, I added ginger and cumin. I think it’s yummy.
We had a lot of people at our last food giveaway even though it was really, really cold outside. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the US government shutdown or the usual poverty. Keep in mind we give the food away in a middle class area. The poverty is invisible around here, but it still exists. It warmed my heart when many people went out of their way to say how much they appreciate our efforts. It’s nice of them to say so. It makes me feel happy about freezing in a parking lot.
I looked for a long time for a volunteer effort that I felt drawn to helping. Handing out vegetables makes me happy. I’m happy talking about cooking. I’m happy to talk with friendly volunteers and food recipients. I figure I’m getting quite a few positives out of the experience so it feels kind of too much to also get thanked for my own happiness. It’s an abundance of riches and I get to take home free food too. Even freezing outside feels like a positive. I’m getting exercise and burning calories.
At the same time, I’m concerned there are so many hungry people. It shouldn’t be that way. If some of these people are hungry because of the government shutdown, that’s even worse. Trump needs to forget about his wall and deal with his legal nightmares instead. Good people are hurting.
Smile at someone today. It will make both of you happier!