I like to write my thoughts down, before transferring them into cohesive sentences and paragraphs on my laptop. It’s more work, writing a post in my notebook, then revising and rewriting with the help of word perfect. My favorite place to write, is on the train, to and from work. It’s probably one of the few moments of my day when I’m truly alone. On the train in a car filled with people. No one pays attention to me sitting by the window, Mp3 player tuned in and tuned out; and I pay no attention to them.
Lately my thoughts have turned to spring and the mercurial changes in weather from cold to warm, to rainy, with sporadic blasts of sunshine. I’ve been thinking hard about vegetables and plants that grow in the months of March to May. I’ve been trying to find inspiration to write about all the wonderful vegetables available to chefs this season. Imagine, riding the train with thoughts of wild ramps and strawberries and asparagus. I tried and failed.
I could not understand
I walked into my kitchen and spent some time searching the produce cooler. I saw boxes of strawberries, from California. I looked at the asparagus – grown in Mexico or Peru I cannot remember which. It’s been on my mind for the past two weeks, my inability to write about spring. I could not connect my thoughts to what I was seeing. Nervous and afraid. I rode the train hoping to capture spring from my window seat. The page remained blank, but I did see – cars, Atlanta traffic, urban life, signs and billboards. I tried a different tactic, I Googled the word spring, with the hope of finding inspiration on the internet; I ended up checking my Facebook messages instead.
I wrote this paragraph on the train to work
“Spring is an exciting time to be a cook in a professional kitchen. Old man winter, has released his tenuous hold on the earth. What was frozen and hard is thawing and squirming vigorously with all kinds of growing things. Both above and below ground there is a sense of expectation and exuberance as we all wait for the first vegetables of spring. This is the season to fill the menu with sunlight and shed the heavy winter soups, legumes and bitter greens. Chefs are getting ready to change the menu. Gone, are braised dishes like Short Ribs and Osso Bucco. They may have kept diners warm and sated throughout the winter, but spring is time for a lighter touch. Emulsions and broth, fruit sauces, fresh vegetables, salads, lemons, lime, cilantro.”
But could not finish
I figured it out. How could I write about spring and all that it entails from the confines of the train and glass windows. How could I relate spring from a cook’s perspective within the confines of my apartment? Spring is outside, with the grass beneath my feet and the trees over my head. If I meant to do my post justice, I needed to write about Spring, in its natural environment. I need to feel and see it growing all around me.
I’ve set myself a task
To find a farm, a family farm in Atlanta, a small one. I’m excited, and plan to share whatever I find with you, my readers in honesty and truth.