Thursday, April 28, 2011

Salad Days

One of the last things I did in the US before moving to Nepal was buy some lettuce seeds. Obviously.

Before I departed, Claudine let me know that our landlord was interested in growing some produce in the backyard garden, and, when it comes to lettuce at least, packaged seeds are evidently easier to come by in the States. Not knowing exactly what would grow well in Kathmandu's climate and wanting to be sure I brought something accommodating to my new landlord's tastes, I picked up no fewer than 13 types of lettuce seeds (Bibb, Romaine, Iceberg, Spicy Italian Mix, Sunshine Mix, Butter Head, Crispy Wonder, You Name It). Please debate whether this behavior was more driven by my upbringing in a Cub Scout household by an Eagle Scout father ("Be Prepared!") or my plan-for-every-contingency, cover-every-single-base-and-especially-your-own-ass lawyer mentality.

I have little to no experience growing my own food, but like every good yuppy of a certain age, I enjoy supporting local agriculture, especially when the support comes down to the eating part. Fresh produce from an urban farm is like catnip to our kind, so what could be better than plucking food out of your own backyard in the middle of the city? (answer: serving it to your other yuppy friends with a crisp, undiscovered but "really quite good" Pinot Gris, letting them know in a casual way that tonight's salad has a farm-to-table distance of less than 10 yards and was cultivated with the help of underprivileged neighborhood youth you've taken under your tutelage).

After delivering the seeds to my landlord, I didn't give the lettuce much thought. But now it's impossible to ignore, sprouting in spring glory and starring on my dinner plate.

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(a creative, green-friendly garden divider made from spent wine bottles, or, as I call it, a firewater wall)


I can't help but feel a little proud of the lettuce I did nothing to cultivate beyond buying some supermarket seeds.

Maybe I have a green thumb after all.

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