Thursday, October 6, 2011

Soul Food

It would not be an exaggeration to say that for nine hours every day my soul is wrung from my body drop by drop like spring water squeezed from an old towel.

It's hard to come home and be loving and patient and enthusiastic about anything when you feel like a dry husk, like the exuvia of some animal that has moved on to something else.

I had never really considered the meaning of the term "soul food" before, except, I suppose, for some mental linkage to deep-fried southern dishes (which I never really found very soulful during a brief spell living in Texas).

Then, last night, after coming home from another soul-wringing day, I headed out into the garden to pluck the tomatoes from their vines and pick the peppers, in anticipation of the coming frost.

Our sad, sad tomato plants.
I harvested the tomatoes first, filling a grocery bag with the still-green fruits. Then I moved onto the pepper bed. With each each luscious green chile I snapped from its dark vegetation, I felt another drop of my soul slowly seep back into my body.

C joined me and we filled our bag with big, fat poblanos, and threw a handful of fattening serranos on top (I don't know what became of the jalapenos, but no matter, I still have a freezer full of them from two years ago).

Garden clogs, work pants and tomatillo vines--a fashion statement (the tomatillos should be good out there until November).
Ha! We had finally tricked this glacial northern soil into bursting forth with not brussels sprouts and rutabagas but voluptuous, spicy, sinful and most un-Puritanical poblano peppers.

Inside, we placed the bag on the scale--twelve-and-one-half pounds! Perhaps a record for this northeastern corner of the world (the farmers markets sometimes boast banana peppers, anaheims, long red Italian sweet peppers, and occasional habaneros or jalapenos, but never poblanos).

The harvest.
I haven't decided what to do with them yet. Another meal (or two) of chiles rellenos, oh yes. But also perhaps roasting and freezing the rest. Or making New Mexico green chili (sorry, Colorado, but your green chili has pork in it) to freeze and bring out some cold, dark winter day when the sun and the garden seem impossibly far away.

The self-seeding morning glories still going strong.


  1. Wow, look at those peppers! I'm pinning that photo so I can remember to try them next spring. We still have morning glories blooming, along with zinnias and a whole range of wildflowers. I need to bring in the last of the basil before the frost, and I should check the bean teepee one more time. We're pretty much at the end!

  2. Hi Andrea! Just stopping by your blog as I haven't visited in a while. It never ceases to amaze me how you do everything that you do. And a whole pot of peppers too. Not to mention a forthcoming MFA! Congrats again on that -- and thanks for the visit! K

  3. Is it still sunny enough to use your solar oven? You could roast the poblanos all day in that then slice them up & saute them with some greens and add some melty cheese at the end. Then fold them in soft tortillas for some tacos. mmmm


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