Being an account of soup, bisexual flowers and healing bark

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

I often wonder how big my yard would need to be if I had to grow everything I ate there.  Well, I don't often wonder that.  That would be sorta weird, wouldn't, it, but I do think about it from time to time as I go about my life being able to purchase vast quantities of herbs and spices and thingymies and jiggeries that wend their way to me from parts round the globe to end up looking rather dull in the local supermarket, so that I have to actually take the time to ponder their origins and write, in sentences far too long for good readibility, about how rich it makes me feel to have all of this stuff to be able to cook with and drink whenever I want.

Whereas these Indian women who are picking the camellia sinesis leaves that go into my five-a-day tea habit do not.  We are very lucky, my friends.  When I feel displeased because the era impedes on me with its whirrings and ringings and connectedness-but-notness, I remind myself of the basics of a rich life:  a bed, a roof, and a full pantry.

Image: Nac Datta

This is capsicum annuum.  From this variety we get regular capsicums (known also as bell peppers), cayenne pepper and paprika.  It would also need to grow in my garden because the paprika's gone into the slow cooker for tonight's chickpea soup.  Today it freezes in Susieland in a raining winterishness, and so a bit of pepperishness goes into the soup to keep the immune system running hot.

Image: Douneika

The brassica oleracea, or cabbage, is very unsexy.  It's sort of like the vegetabilic equivalent of a pair of daggy tracky dacks with the bum hanging out.  But I love cabbage.  Whether I love it in the above soup remains to be seen, because Chickpea and Cabbage Soup ain't exactly the thing you dream of rushing  home for when Mum's cooking, but we shall see.

Image: Frank Starmer

This is fabacae, sp. caesalpinioidae, and while we're here, aren't these Latin names rather tiresome?  There's not a lot of timbre about them, is there?  It's like other Latin words, like clitoris and testes;  it just takes all the humanity or shrubanity or life essence out of these things and turn them into something cold and antiseptic that you certainly would not want to touch even with a bargepole, let alone anything else.  Whereas plenty of people like to touch clitorises and testes, and actually find it quite a pleasurable experience.

Drinking this is also quite a pleasurable experience, although not in the same category.  But a cup of senna tea  is a lovely thing to help ... well, you know, move things along down there.  

Yeah, I know, I'm getting all coy suddenly talking about poo, after I've just talked about clitoresis and testes. But those are generalised clitorises and testes, not my personal ones.  Whereas now you all know that I had a cup of senna tea today because the cableman came round and there wasn't any cable to lay.  

Image: Lalithamba

This last one is my favourite.  It is ulmus rubra, commonly known as the slippery elm.  It's not the leaves or the flowers or the fruit that are eaten this time, but the bark.  

Speaking of the flowers, Wikipedia informs me that the flowers of elm trees are bisexual or unisexual.  Well, there you go.

Image: (C) Steve Baskauf

Ground down into a fine powder and drank, the bark becomes very moist and sticky when mixed in water, which helps to soothe inflamed parts of the body.  People use it to help with their inflamed gastrointestinal tracts, bringing relief to sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut syndrome.  

My old doggy had a bad day yesterday, throwing up his guts all over the floor.  A visit to the vet last night reported an overindulgence in bones (mea culpa) resulting in an overtaxed system and an inflamed stomach.  And so I was particularly heartened this morning when Lester, after not eating anything yesterday, partook of his very own soup:  broiled chicken in slippery elm and chicken stock-flavoured water.  Dat dog knows what's good for him.

Which may very well end up being tastier than the version the two leggeds have this evening, but we shall see :)
Image: Swamp Dude


  1. you never cease to amaze me with the topics you somehow manage to combine in one post


  2. Ditto what Kel said! And a really compelling post title. BTW I seem to recall the great self-sufficiency guru John Seymour said a small family would need 5 acres to raise all their own food. But I think he was including livestock.

  3. grrr, looks like the blogger monster ate our comments here . . . if only i could remember what i said :-)

    ooh yeah, something about your ability to combine seemingly unrelated topics into one cohesive post


  4. Well, here's what you both said:


    "you never cease to amaze me with the topics you somehow manage to combine in one post



    "Ditto what Kel said! And a really compelling post title. BTW I seem to recall the great self-sufficiency guru John Seymour said a small family would need 5 acres to raise all their own food. But I think he was including livestock."


    The Blogger monster's been at it big time hasn't s/he. Thanks to you both. I don't know where all these ideas come from, they waft in as I start not knowing what I'm really going to be writing about :)

    Tess, 5 acres - I was thinking after I read your comment that imagine what it would look like, each family living on 5 acres. I guess I am a pastoral girl in my heart :)

  5. Blogger was being a dumbass the other day.

    These are beautiful flowers, Suze. It reminds me of Latana (am I spelling that correctly?) Our mutual friend told me about the movie by that name and I watched the whole thing without realizing the title referred to a plant/bush/flower you guys have over there.

  6. Hey, Ms B!

    Yeah, it's lantana with an extra "n". It's a weed, a bit of a strangly sort I think that takes over. It's common in parts of New South Wales but not so much here.

  7. This post is most interesting! I think I shall have to try some slippery elm. I just have to get the thought of slipper eels ( as I keep reading it) out of my head so I can partake.


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