Saturday, 1 December 2012

Zucchini in sunlight

Photo: being the only descendant living in crete of two unmarried farmer uncles, i am never out of vegetables"Looks like you went to the λαϊκή," my husband remarked, when he saw a baking tin full of tomatoes and peppers, four broccoli heads and a large cabbage head. This is our private joke which we crack every time one of us visits my uncles' farm. They have spent most of their lives living in the same village and cultivating their land. They grow nearly everything: potatoes, onions and garlic, zucchini, eggplant and fennel bulb, lettuce, cabbage and even bok choy (I gave them seeds from a friend last year, which they allowed to go to seed and they have replanted them this year).

 Whenever I visit them, I hardly ever leave empty handed. Sometimes it's just one pomegranate, other times, it's a bag of cucumbers, and there are also times when it's a crate of pears. Since I am their only living descendant in Hania, I get a lion's share of everything. 

When the Chinese leafy vegetables began growing, my uncle phoned me to let me know. "The Kinezoi have arrived," he said.

It reminds me of something my aunt once told me. She had had serious financial problems when she was raising her family, and when things were very rough, she often stayed on the farm with her brothers. Even though these events are from a time long past, she always acknowledges the help of her younger brothers, insisting that their help sustained her throughout those periods of hardship.

The brocoli became a warm salad with tahini dressing.

Whenever I pick up this fresh produce from my uncles' farm, I feel that I'm reliving those past times of other family members. At any rate, I know I wouldn't buy much of this even if I didn't have access to it. So if my food is colourful and looks less boring, it's because of a lot of hard work that has gone into growing it to get it on the table.

 Summer-planted zucchini, sunbathing in our winter garden - 24°C today, even if it's December!
A broccoli head may sound insignificant because we aren't going to survive on just broccoli, but I'm saying that now because we haven't reached the bottom of the pit yet. If and when we do, it should be remembered that there is light at the end of the tunnel - even though it's winter, sunny weather is always round the corner in Crete.

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