Root vegetables can grow most of the winter if the preparations are done right. It is the rituals of generational knowledge, the practices of things that build our folkloric memories of home and family. The way traditions are passed down.
On my mother’s side they used their hands. They worked the soil. They built things from wood and stone. This wisdom is in me as the story I belong to. The history in my bones.
I have memories of my Grandfather in the fall of the year digging trenches in his garden and lining the sides with ply wood. He would transplant the escarole and other greens into this trench and cover it with a canvas tarp before the frost. This gave us fresh greens for most of the winter.
Escarole was a main ingredient in almost every soup while growing up. It was delivered in a recycled paper grocery bag by my Grandfather. Picked fresh. It needed to be washed or it would be gritty. I remember standing at the sink washing it and draining the leaves in the old dented colander.
My favorite soup to put escarole in is chicken. It was the last thing added to the soup. It mixed with the onions, celery, carrots and broth to add just the right amount of bitter. That tang that marked the green’s unique flavor. Chicken soup is not quite right without it. Escarole brought the essence of the earth. The taste of soil. A much needed reminder during the winter months
These kinds memories are the stories that defined what we internalize as home. That sense of belonging to a place and a time. We know the taste of the soil that grows our roots, strengthens the fibers of our being and gives us the nutrients to be whole.
Take time to taste the soil that feeds your soul that gives you the resources you need to make the world what it needs to be.