July 8, 2010


It makes sense that food features strongly in many stories, little else is so important to human survival. Yet no vegetable was so confounding to me as a child as that in the opening to the story Rapunzel. How could someone long for a bunch of leaves so desperately they'd end up trading their baby to an enchantress?

Then one day I was pregnant, and to my surprise craving leafy greens. Particularly Swiss Chard. (I've never tasted Rampion a.k.a. ramps - the fateful vegetable Mama Rapunzel pined for, and from which The Witch derived the child's name before locking her in a tower for life. Can anyone vouch for their crave-worthiness?) While acknowledging that I finally relate to her longing for leaves, I'd like to state that the comparison ends there. For the record: I did not cause my husband to trespass, steal vegetables from a sorceress' garden, or face the choice of choosing between his own life and that of our unborn baby so that I could eat some greens. And as pretty as Swiss Chard is, I opted not to name our baby after it.

I did, however, ask Jake to partake in many meals involving Swiss Chard. More than just hunger, for me greens satisfy almost soul-deep. And as such, I tend to like them done simply. One of my favorites is to boil the chopped chard in salted water with plenty of lemon juice. A great side dish, but if left up to me I'd consider it dinner. (Full elaboration on the recipe can be found in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, a cookbook I highly recommend.)

Even though I do SO love Swiss Chard, I still have not found time to finish my watercolor. (Anyone else noticing a theme here - A Defense of Things NOT Done...? hmn...) Brava Laura for posting your unfinished work! I am not brave enough to do so.

But may I present to you a photograph of the lovely, the brilliant and earthy... Ruby Red Chard!

This bunch is growing under the tender care of Aunt Sue's green thumb. And no matter how badly your pregnant wife pines for it, don't steal from her garden - she'll gladly share.