We sometimes read leading lines like, “To Make a Better Pesto (or Cobbler)…”

If you’re like me, we often read on because we’re looking for a shortcut. Somebody else is going to tell us, from their learning or their experience (or preferably both), how to spend less time to get better results.

The last few weeks of homesteading adventure with our grandkids has led me to a very different “How-To” suggestion. If you test this suggestion, I promise it will take you MORE TIME. So if it’s a shortcut you want, you might want to stop reading this. ; )

A few weeks ago we concluded blackberry season here. Nature seems to give us her signal that the time is right to go picking, as I journalled in June 2003:

“When the lightning bugs electrify the summer’s evening sky –
The blackberries are in bloom.”

The highlight of that season for me this year was to go picking with our grandkids. Wild blackberries can be tough to get at: “pricklers” and ticks and tall grasses test our resolve. This year I tried something new. I’d go into the thicket alone, in dark-colored clothes, and snip off long branches full of fruit to bundle up and carry to our utility golf cart (called The GigiMobile), where the grandkids were waiting. They would pick the berries and drop them (those they didn’t eat!) into buckets we had given them.

This weekend was our Pesto Party. The grandkids walked three long rows of basil and snipped as many branches of those fragrant green and purple leaves as they could, until we had pails full of them. The kitchen was abuzz with the processing – and eating, too much eating! – of fresh pesto well into the night.

So what’s the point? I think you can make a better blackberry cobbler and better pesto – and, for that matter, a better tomato sandwich, or salad, or pickle.

Just grow, pick, process and cook it yourself.

Somehow, when you cultivate and prepare things with thoughtful intention, when you participate more deeply in the creation of the food you eat, it will taste just a little better. (And sometimes, it will taste A LOT better.)

Maybe that will have something to do with your bias for things that are of your own making. Sometimes it will just be that you are more richly appreciating things about the berry, or the basil – or whatever else. Thoreau observed this even about water:

“If you turn on the water spigot and water comes pouring out, you don’t have to pump it yourself. But it is in the very act of pumping the water yourself, that you feel the weight and substance of the water. In your hands, in your arms.”

Some of you know all about this, and think I’m sharing the obvious. And perhaps I am. Like Truth, we don’t create Beauty: we merely discover it.

But it’s a kind of new lesson for me. So some of you might want to join me through the triumphs, trials, and errors of learning this lesson. LOL

Taste test it, and see.



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