Be present at our table, Lord;
Be here and everywhere adored;
Thy creatures bless and grant that we
May feast in Paradise with Thee.
John Cennick, Moravian deacon (1741)
Down the road from Paradise, Pennsylvania the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye and ripe for the picking. With all the roadside stands the Lady-of-the-house is well supplied with farm fresh odds and ends. Meals must be made all the time. To keep motivated the Lady-of-the-house will surround perpetual kitchen chores with romantic notions.
On summer Saturdays the Lady and Man-of-the-house shop at the Quarryville Grower’s Market with a string bag just like the one Mr. Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise carries his lettuce in. (on the pages of Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Jeremy Fisher.) And the Lady-of-the-house is never without her shopping basket. This indestructible basket (pictured in the raspberry post) was picked up ten years before at an antique/junk store for a song. She wonders how long the basket was in use (by a homemaker of the 1930s or 40s perhaps?) And how many years did it lay dormant after cars, parking lots and supermarkets replaced walking several blocks to the corner grocer. Whenever she watches period pieces such as the BBC “All Creatures Great and Small,” she takes note of the women who shop on Main Street with the same sort of shopping basket hooked on an arm.
“Aren’t you the lady who shops at the health food store?” asked the dark haired Amish girl. She works at the store. She also sells her jams and relish every Saturday at the grower’s market.
“Yes,” replied the Lady-of-the-house and she counted out her dollars for two jars of relish.
“I thought so. I recognized the basket,” the girl added. The Lady-of-the-house was momentarily taken aback. Apparently basket carrying made her unusual but she knew no insult was intended. Distinctive, that’s a nicer term, she consoled herself.
The Amish girl would have made a pretty picture. The Man-of-the-house, however, at his wife’s reminder, took a photograph of the jars with the girl and her sisters standing aside, to respect their religious beliefs.
Local produce and grass fed beef, all organically raised by Lime Valley Mill, is sold in the stand next-door. The girls in the photograph set up attractive tables with free recipes provided and are always cheerful to the Basket-Lady (her shopping name). They laugh at the remarks made by her husband with the camera.
It’s a good feeling to return home with farm fresh odds-and-ends. Of course someone has to turn them into meals. This, most often, falls to the creative imagination, knowledge of nutrition, and romantic notions of the Basket-lady. She doesn’t always feel up to the task and has been known to slip into the rut of her stand-by recipes. Less so in summer.
The green beans, garlic, fresh oregano and basil, helped make a pot of Minestrone soup.
Daydreaming about a relative’s stories of her recent trip to the Mediterranean, a Greek Salad covered with roasted eggplant settled the matter on another day. It made good use of the tangy muti-colored cherry tomatoes. (Click salad for a close up and you’ll see the quirky homemade napkin.)
Where was the Man-of-the-house while his wife’s feet were up, at the end of an afternoon, writing this post? He was outside at a hot grill turning onion slices, zucchini strips and grass-fed beef-burgers with long tongs. At supper the Lady-of-the-house (the name she prefers) was very appreciative.