Thursday 11 November 2010

Tales, Sagas, Stories we can glean from our vegetables ...

It’s that time of year for a bowl of hearty, thick, golden soup .. full of the harvest– the beans, the maize, the squash and the tomato .. rich steaming delicious mouth watering aromas reaching us from the simmering pot on the stove.

The indelible “Three Sisters” - the vegetables so revered by the native American Indians, that make up their three main native crops - which we now recognise in our culture, as well as in our agriculture as companion plants.

The strong maize stems provide a structure for the beans to climb up, while the beans give up nitrogen to the soil, and the squash spreads along the ground – the leaves acting as a ‘living mulch’, creating a micro-climate to retain moisture, while the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. These three sisters’ gardens often include the ‘fourth sister’ – the Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Cleome), which attracts bees to help in pollination.

Illustration depicting both male and female flowers of maize

There is a ‘Three Sister Tomato’ plant, so named because it grows fruits of three different shapes: a Roma, a pleated and flattened globe type. Heirloom tomatoes of all cultivars are making a return to the seed farms and have wonderful evocative descriptive names: Brandywine, Chocolate Stripes, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Yellow Pear, Summer Cider, Violet Jasper ... we can see them, we can smell them and we can dream of those dishes enhanced with the heady mixture of fresh or baked tomato.

A variety of specific cultivars, including Brandywine (biggest red), Black Krim (lower left) and Green Zebra (top right).

The stories that could be told through their names, while the sagas of how we came to use them today and how these heirlooms are being brought back to life through the legends of, and puzzles from the past.

We know about ‘Pozole’ a ritually significant, traditional pre-Columbian Mexican corn soup or stew from the writings of Bernardino de Sahagun’s “General History of the Things of New Spain”, (c 1500), the “Florentine Codex”.

A bowl of traditional Pozole in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Bernardino de Sahagun (1499 – 1590), a Spanish Franciscan missionary to the Aztec (Nahua) people of Mexico, is regarded by scholars as being one of the “fathers of ethnography” and creator of the first encyclopaedia of the new world. His ‘Historia General’ is an unparalleled work in the local Nahuatil language, completed in 1569.

The ‘Historia’ consisted of twelve books, a grammar and a dictionary of Nahuatl: the Florentine Codex as it is more commonly known ... as you would imagine it is one of the richest surviving sources of information on Aztec life before the Spanish Conquest. The Codex found its way to Italy by 1588 and there it remains in the ‘Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana’ in Florence.

Page 51 of Book IX from the Florentine Codex. The text is in Nahuatl.

Having deviated a little to tell you about the accomplishments of Bernadino de Sahagun in his recording of the Aztec’s history perhaps it’s time to get back to the bean, corn, squash and tomato heirlooms that we have today, or are being ‘re-established’.

Squash, in all its glory is a vegetable of middle America, Mesoamerica, first cultivated some 8,000 – 10,000 years ago – coming in all shapes and sizes, mature or immature fruits. Most parts of the plant can be used – the seeds as are, or being ground into a paste, ‘nut’ butter, oil or even a fine flour; the shoots, leaves and tendrils can be eaten as greens, while the blossoms, long used by the native Americans, are now to befound in the kitchens of today.

Gourds ... the name given to the hollow, dried shell of a type of pumpkin squash normally have a more utilitarian use than for food – following on the tradition of our ancestors. However gourds were one of the earliest plant species domesticated by humans and were originally used by people as containers or vessels, even before the advent of clay or stone pottery, sometimes being referred to as “nature’s pottery”.

Various squashes such as Turban, Sweet Dumpling, Carnival, Gold Acorn, Delicata, Buttercup and Golden Nugget.

A Turban Squash.

An interesting point re pollination – day-blooming gourds are pollinated in the same way as squash requiring bees, while night blooming gourds are pollinated by moths – which are normally present unless drawn off by night lights in the area.

Beans, beans and more beans – there are over 4,000 cultivars of beans grown in the States – with the common green (vine) bean being cultivated in the Americas for at least six thousand years. Most of the fresh beans that we eat today were brought across to Europe after Columbus sailed the Ocean waves.

Broad beans reached us via another ancient route – they were gathered from the wild in Afghanistan and the Himalayan foothills, grown in Thailand since the early 7th millennium BC (predating ceramics); deposited with the dead in Ancient Egypt, but not until the 2nd millennium BC did cultivated, large seeded broad beans appear in the Aegean, Iberian and southern European regions. A passing mention of beans and chickpeas cast on the threshing floor appears in the Iliad (late 8th C).

The Tepary Bean

The cultivar ‘Tepary’ bean was known to the pre-Columbian native peoples, as it is especially valuable for its drought-resistant properties and can be grown in desert and semi-desert conditions. It has recently been introduced to African agriculture, in the countries with low annual rainfall.

And last but not least we return to that Mexican staple, the corn cob, lauded by the pre-Columbian peoples, reflected in their culture – as shown here in the Larco Museum, Lima, Peru: one of the world’s largest collections of pre-Columbian art.

Gold Maize: Moche Culture 300 AD,held in Larco Museum

The “Legend of the Bloody Butcher Corn” gives us the story of this blood red cob from its humble beginnings two hundred years ago, to the realisation of its value in today’s age. The full story can be read via the link ... but this seed tells a family story: a tale of a girl and her wolf dog.

Betsey, half white and half Pottawatomie Indian, was captured by the Native Indians around the 1800s, and while she waited to escape – she befriended her captors and learnt from them. On escaping she brought with her the bloody butcher seed and the beginnings of its recent history: the story is wonderful, featuring characters with the name of ‘Bandy Bill’, ‘Delilah Deal’ taking us to the roots of our earthy base as the Bloody Corn releases its family story.

Exotic varieties of maize are collected to add genetic diversity when selectively breeding new domestic strains.

These sisters of the vegetable world, these early domesticated plants, provide a wonderful creative field for us to draw on – characters, names, realisation of our roots – both from the earth and our ancestral travels – and perhaps as importantly today as yesterday ... sustain us at all times of the year .. with their beauty, their taste and tales from the past.

A weekend lunch or supper dish full of nourishing heirloom earthy vegetables, with a fresh loaf or two of crusty bread, some freshly churned butter, a selection of cheeses with a bowl of fruit to finish – a glass of wine, a golden cider or a tankard of beer ... it must be the time to make a pot- au-feu – a flavoursome satisfying broth to warm the soul and to share with family and friends.

Dear Mr Postman – we are in a quiet period .. and I just spend time quietly with my mother ... she knows I’m with her. It's a blustery wet old day!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Yaya' s Home said...

Wow! My mouth was a'ready waterin' at your first sentence. Then, you started tellin' 'bout alla' the ways the different plants contribute to each other an' to our bodies an' now, I can hardly wait for a good, hearty bowl of soup with alla' fixin's. Yuuummmm!

~ Yaya

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Yaya .. thanks so much .. fortunately it's supper time here - just cauliflower cheese though - but hearty and warming!

It was an interesting tale of veggies .. finding out where they came from & how we know about them .. and ensuring that we keep remembering.

Good to see you & I hope you get your soup soon!! Cheers for now - Hilary

Southpaw said...

The Three Sisters Tomato Plants sound really cool. I’d love one of those. All those veggies make a good soup.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Holly .. they do don't they - delicious.. three shapes off one set of plants. You're right - all veggies make a good soup.

Good to see you - Hilary

The Exception said...

Hi Hillary –
I love soup – anytime of year!! And yet I am afraid to make it myself… and Americans don’t seem to be found a places that are just about soups!! This is wonderful and warms from the inside out – the post that is – perfect for a rainy day.
I discovered (via internet) Farro yesterday. Now, I am looking forward to trying it. It is used in soups!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi TE .. give it a go ... especially if you love it .. just slowly follow the recipe - choose a simple one to start with! Give it a go & let me know!!

Have you got rain too .. it's quite stormy here .. lovely looking at it - but getting drenched is not much fun .. unless one is geared up for it.

I've never used Farro .. so you really are one up on me .. again - let me know how you go .. & enjoy the results .. cheers Hilary

Karen Lange said...

Wonderful info! For some reason, I am now in the mood to make a pot of soup. :) Thanks so much for sharing, Hilary. Your blog is always chock full of good stuff.
Have a lovely weekend,

Jannie Funster said...

Yummy yummy hearty veggies and soups. I feel healthier just reading this post, Hilree!!

Fresh loaf of bread. Tankard of beer.

Could life get any better??

But without a Delilah Deal or any such butchering, yikes.

And with pumpkin pie sent via the Austin / Eastbourne tunnel? :)


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. thank you - a warming pot of soup for these long nights. The stories that one finds from just delving a little always amazes me .. glad you enjoyed it .. chock full = a good phrase.

Have a great weekend .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jannie .. does sound delicioza doesn't it .. and our ancestors knew how to ensure their bodies were healthy.

Jannie you describe it well .. a life worth living in good company .. perhaps a guitar strumming nymph at the table too! Definitely pumpkin pie to finish via our special underground .. good thoughts.

Delilah Deal was a good person - she kept the butcher corn seed alive for today. So she doesn't quite fit the butchering mob!!

Have a fantastic weekend .. more lyrics, more rhythms? Enjoy the time .. xoxo Hilree

Helen Ginger said...

I do love soup. I would make more if my family liked it as much as I do. Some of your pictures were extraordinary. Some things I've never seen. Thanks!

Talli Roland said...

Hilary, your posts are always so informative - thank you. I'm fron North America where squash and gourds are in abundance! I'm not a big fan of them, though, sadly.

Thank you for the history behind them!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Helen .. I love soup too - and only occasionally get to make it .. but when a chance is going for a big bowl .. it is delicious.

Delighted you like the pictures - it's fun to add these in & opens the mind a little!

Great to see you - have a good weekend Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talli .. well you're on your way north today .. to the land of swede and turnip .. ?! I love squashes of all sorts .. and veggies too ..

Glad you enjoyed the history behind them .. it does make fascinating reading doesn't it.

Enjoy Liverpool .. hope it's not too blustery .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

My wife makes the best homemade soup in the world! In fact she just made a big pot of chicken noodle last weekend and it was delicious. I like mine with some fresh sourdough bread :-)


Helen Ginger said...

Thanks, Hilary. You have a good weekend, too. My favorite soups are often when I take out all the left-overs crammed in the fridge and combine stuff, add broth and call it soup!

Liara Covert said...

Love receiving all this delicious information. YOu are a gem Hilary. It is a wonderful concoction ot mix sweet potato, sqash, turnip, pumpkin and/or other veggies. The possibilities are endless. Love and blessings to you. The color orange brings beautiful energy 2 all everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Hilary. Good thing I just finished lunch or my mouth would be watering! Awesome pictures.

vered said...

Your opening sentence has made me so hungry for a hearty soup!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ron .. I think your wife has you taped .. and you her - seems like a wonderfully matched pairing .. no wonder we see the happy gray hairs!

Nothing like chicken soup .. warming and with healthy slices of sour dough - dipped in - sounds good!

Have a great weekend .. lovely seeing you here .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Helen .. like you I hate waste & a good 'muck up' can be so delicious .. especially for a good hearty broth.

Sounds delicious - warming too .. enjoy the weekend .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. I've been wanting to write about the 'Bloody Butcher Corn' family story .. as it was just so evocative and seemed to bring the times from our ancestors, as well as remind us of the special knowledge that the Indians (and other indigenous peoples) have & the soup being known as "Three Sisters Soup" .. just tied the info together ..

Let alone the historical element - which I loved finding out about - I'd have never known the Florentine Codex actually was "born" in Mexico!!

Also the veggies go so well together - all sorts! The oranges of the gourds, tomatoes, squashes .. go so well with the leafing colours of Autumn.

Lovely seeing you .. thanks for being here .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susanne .. thanks - I know .. I too read or write about wonderful food in our posts .. and then sit down to the basics! And my mouth waters quite often too ..

I loved the pictures .. and I especially love adding in the historical pictures .. gives that extra layer of explanation.

Enjoy the weekend .. and thank you - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vered .. yes I can see that would suit you down to the ground .. a rich veggie soup. I'm certain you will have a recipe for us tucked away?!

Have a fun weekend .. Hilary

... Paige said...

wonderful post full of nutrition and made me hungry for more beans, which we had for supper last night

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Paige .. a good earthy pot of bean stew .. be it Mexican, French or any mix .. is always heart warming and tummy desirous ... thanks for coming by and have a good weekend .. Hilary

Blue Bunny said...

deerest hilree.

wen you talking veggies, yoo speaks Blue Bunny languages.

Thanks you for remembiring how importint is nutrishin is and sharing exsillent foods..


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BB .. I should have guessed you'd be the first from Funsterland to comments - u're so rite .. veggies - aren't they just the best!!

I bet ur ansesters wood hav bin around for the writings of the Florentine Codex - p'raps they helped translate from Native Indian into Spanish .. ?! Could be - or more likesly le Francaise ...

Nurishing foods is so importants as U says .. U knows because you luvs them so ..

How's ure mistress of the lyrics, and tree loving vino drinking habit doings with her zongs .. are they flying into completion? Enjoys ure weekend .. cozy one here ..

Bysee bye .. xoxo Hilree

Betsy Wuebker said...

Hi Hilary - Thank you for all this yummy information. Pete has been busy putting up his pumpkin pies, and it seems everywhere I go with friends we must try the fine purees of squash and root vegetables. Soup or side dish, it doesn't matter; I have a hankerin' for it! On Thursday, after a lovely time at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, we stopped for lunch and it was puree of butternut squash, flavord with nutmeg and other spices, so thick even though they called it soup I begged to differ. Can't believe I wouldn't stand for this type of thing as a child; now it is comfort food. Thanks so much for this wonderful info.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betsy .. good to see you & wasn't it funny that you put up your wonderful post about Tecumseh - the Courageous Warrior and Statesman .. the corn story mentions Jamestown and this blood red corn.

Pete and his food .. it's wonderful to read about .. you're a lucky woman having him tuck pumpkin pies away! I agree I love the squashes and root veg all pureed down .. I used to make it a lot when I helped out with the cooking at my mother's care home .. delicious .. platefuls of puree.

It certainly is comfort food at this time of year - warming our cockles ... and so glad to hear you enjoyed your day out .. have a good weekend .. Hilary

Marinela said...

Wonderful info, great job done. Thanks for sharing with us :)

Meredith said...

Hilary, I so enjoyed your post. The history was informative, interesting, and rich with detail. I did not realize Pozole was a ritually-important pre-Columbian soup. Now I'm inspired to try creating some of my own. :)

When considering planting the three sisters, I have recently learned, one probably wouldn't want to plant a modern hybrid corn seed. These plants are too greedy for water and fertilizer. It would be better to choose heirloom "dent" corn seed and bean seed specifically labeled as "cornfield beans."

Chris Edgar said...

Hi Hilary -- given how delectable that soup looks, it's no surprise to me at all that the ancient Mesoamericans worshipped corn. Personally, if I were to idolize a vegetable, I'd probably make golden eggplants.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Marinela .. glad you enjoyed the read .. good to see you here - thank you - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Meredith .. thank you and delighted to hear you enjoyed the historical outlines. Also fantastic that you know about the soup .. let me know how you go with its recreation!! Sounds delicious.

Thanks for the tip - I was given the name of the corn from a friend who grows his own veg and knows a great deal about the value of good quality seed etc. buying heirloom seed, or keeping his own.

Essential to know that we shouldn't grow hybrid corn .. because of their 'demand' for extra water and fertiliser .. and the other thing I learnt this morning is that some plant seed now-a-days can't be saved for next year .. you have to buy more.

So thanks for your salient comment in this day & age - somethings we need to be aware of ..

Lovely seeing you here .. and so pleased you enjoyed yourself in your read ... have a good Sunday - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chris .. thanks - rich thick soups .. nothing like home-made ones at this time of year especially, as you say.

The ancients reverence for life - we should emulate in this day and age .. if we can leave our concrete jungles! On the other hand - we can communicate this way .. and I enjoy this!!

Interesting - golden eggplant .. like the goose who laid the golden egg?

Thanks - Chris .. great to see you here .. have a good Sunday .. Hilary

Mandy Allen said...

Hi Hilary,

I was interested to hear you mention heirloom varieties of tomato as my friend has an organic allotment and she grows heirloom varities of everything. It's nice to see then coming back, they have such great flavour. She just wrote a book about the crops you can grow for harvest in the 'hungry gap' (

Having just returned from America I also loved to see the photos of squash and corn as there were lots of varieties there, very colourful, and really nicely presented. I took photos of them too!

Hope you and your mum are ok. My mum is doing really well, a different person on my return, all down to the carer she was with while I was away! She was a star!

Enjoy the journey.


Mason Canyon said...

Enjoyed your post as always. Even though I'm drinking my first cup of coffee of the day I already know what I'm preparing for supper - vegetable soup. We are going into our winter here and soup will hit the spot since it's also suppose to rain for the next two days. Have a great week.

Thoughts in Progress

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mandy .. ah - you're back - I was wondering where you woz! Now I know .. how fantastic that your mother is way better .. we've turned 90 down here! & today she was talking about her 100th .. my comments can't be said!! But Mum was bright this pm .. so that was lovely having mother-daughter chat.

It is good to see the 'old' strains of good old fashioned crops coming back to life .. and glad to hear your friend grows them - must be delicious. Fantastic to have written a book about them .. I'll have to have a look - being without a garden at the moment is a stumbling block!

I'm sure you'll have lots of wonderful photos of your time - & I hope we get to see them in various posts on your blog? The colours are wonderful - as are the stories.

Thanks Mandy - good to have you back and see you at your place very soon .. cheers for now - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mason .. good old veggie soup & hearty bread .. full of wholesome goodness - it is wonderful .. mind you so is that first cup of coffee!

We have just had a few deluges today - I think there must be a few floods around - so wet, but still (relatively) warm!

You too- have a great week .. Hilary

Sibyl - alternaview said...

Great post filled with fascinating information. It makes me realize that I need to eat more vegetables. Who would have even though squash was from Mesoamerica ... so interesting.

TALON said...

Yummy - the time of year when a soup is necessary for body and soul.

Your post made my tummy rumble and think about what I'll prepare for tomorrow's dinner.

I hope your Mom is doing well, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sibyl .. I'd have thought you'd have eaten lots of veggies!! But if this inspires you to add more to your plate or bowl of hearty soup .. excellent!!

I'd come across the tie in with corn, beans and squash - but finding out more was so interesting - couldn't believe it. I think I sort of understand where MesoAmerica was situated .. now too - large area.

Lovely seeing and glad you enjoyed the post - have a good week .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talon .. thanks so much .. - a good pot of soup can go a long way and cover many bases .. as you say, and open many doors to conversation and family love.

Nothing like a meal of soup .. especially as we can make it in advance .. and then supper/dinner is taken care of! Enjoy your meal tonight!

Mum is fine - we had a good chat yesterday .. she is so appreciative, but sleeps loads - yet is still completely with it - amazing, really. I'm blessed. Many thanks Talon - lovely seeing you over here - your pictures are superb .. I admire from afar sometimes - but I do see them!! Enjoy the week .. Hilary

Robin Easton said...

Dearest Hilary, This is remarkable. I LOVE it because I used to do all my own cooking, everything from scratch, from the garden to the table all on my own. I've cooked more soups and bread in more parts of the world that I can remember. I've cooked on wood stoves of all kinds, cook in rock fire pits, earth covered pits, my own improvised solar cooker, and even on the hot engine of a truck.

I hunger to return to this lifestyle at some point. I miss living with and from the land. This article is so inspiring for me, and I LOVE the photos as well.

Also, as always, I am moved to tears by your "Dear Mr. Postman" letters. They tug at my heart and make me love you even more and more. You are so precious, generous and deep of heart. I love you and am truly blessed and humbled by your goodness. It is so huge. Robin

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Dearest Robin .. I cannot believe the love you exude and your appreciation for my mother - you are the mother lode for many of us! I often think of you and many others who've been so kind and supportive to me .. and let me tell you - Mum loves having her hugs from around the world .. it amazes her!!

We had a lovely chat yesterday in one of her brighter moments - when she very much expressed her appreciation for my care of her, and my love for her .. it was very touching - makes the whole thing so worth while .. I am lucky that I have been able to have this contact, connection and compassion with my mother during these days, months and years .. it shows us what life is about ..

and I appreciate being able to share these thoughts and how we're doing via Mr Postman - he's a good deliverer!

When I wrote this post - I wondered if you'd comment .. as it so relates to you .. and I couldn't stop thinking .. this is Robin from days gone by - millennia ago?!

And today I can imagine you out gathering and garnering all that information from these wonderful indigenous people of ours.

But for now you have more important things to do - promote your book and long may it be a success .. it's arrived here - I need to put my reading glasses on for the books I have to read!?!

Many thanks Robin .. for this staggering comment - you cannot believe how much I appreciate it today .. it's so good to be supported here .. with love and hugs to you .. Hilary

Chase March said...

The Three Sisters is a great story and an ingenious way to grow the plants. I know that I make a point of telling my students this every year I have to teach about plants and soil.

Thanks for sharing!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chase .. it is a good story .. and I'm sure you'd bring in the Indian peoples and the value of their knowledge re plants etc & remind the kids to get the older varieties of seed?

We forget there's so much to learn as kids .. you seem to be doing such a good job teaching them from a practical point of view .. it's always good to read about ..

Thanks - enjoy the week .. Hilary

Sara said...

Hilary -- This a perfect post for me to land on today. It's a bit chilly and wet where I'm at and the thought of nice warm vegetable soup...Yummy!

I loved learning about all the heirloom vegies and their history, told only as you can do so well.

One fact I really enjoyed about the pollinating of gourds. I found it fascinating that nature has provided ways for both day and night pollination. Very clever she is:~)

Thanks for this interesting lesson on heirloom vegetables!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. it is a good stockpot post - full of goodies! We've had a decent day here .. but I gather loads of fog elsewhere in the country.

Thanks - delighted to hear you enjoyed the stories!!

I nearly left that part out about the gourds and the day and night-time pollination .. as you say nature is very clever ...

Delighted to have your visit .. see you soon .. Hilary

Robin Easton said...

Dearest Hilary, I am in tears reading your comment. My God, you have a profoundly beautiful and generous heart. I am more humbled around you than anyone I know.

I am honored that you shared with me the day with your mom, and the things she said. Oh my word, that is so cherished. And I know that this time is not easy on you at all, and yet you are SO amazing because you not only move through it with incredible grace, but you embrace all there is to treasure in it and grow from it. You are SO wise.

Know that my heart is with you, and you are a very special soul. So beautiful. Much love and warm hugs to you and your mom. There really are those who think of you both.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Dearest Robin .. your words ring around me .. I was speaking of you today - as we made my video .. which amused and amazed the nurses, caring staff and residents at the Home - Mum was more interested in Susie playing the Mandolin ..

I thought of you then & your guitar .. I have little music - other than of my soul - but Susie can play .. and I hope the video isn't too long .. a few seconds maybe.

I'd love to share more of my Mum and one day I will .. she still has amazing perspicacity -

Til anon .. we, the blogging community and wider world, are so lucky to have you amongst us - to offer love and compassion and guide us in our future.

Me too - I think of all my blogging friends and support they offer & am mighty grateful for it .. and my mother just loves to hear about it too!! Thank you thank you .. with love and many many thoughts .. Hilary

Jemi Fraser said...

I really want one of those 3 Sister Tomato Plants - how very cool is that!! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jemi - thanks for coming by .. I know - it seems an amazing little plant .. Have a great week .. Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

It is 4:50 AM and suddenly I am hungry for soup with bread. the power of the suggestion.

I'm glad you got to spend time with your mother even if it was quiet time. They are wonderful gifts.

Have a great week, my friend.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Good heavens above Teresa .. 4.50 am - too much .. that's when I turn over and think another hour or so ..

Getting up and being drawn to the computer - that is pushing the power of attraction to a few lengths too far!!

Mind you soup and bread would be a very good addition to your present situation I think?!

Yes - we still have some good times, and quiet times .. and she does appreciate them all.

Thank you - you too .. if you don't fall asleep half way during the day .. I'm tired thinking about you! cheers Hilary

Zeenat{Positive Provocations} said...

Hilary have me all hungry and craving soup now :)
I loved all the delicious details you put together here. Soups make amazing companions for wet cold days. ...yumm...I am running tot he kitchen right about NOW....
Much Love,
p.s. love to your beautiful mum

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Zeenat - how wonderful to see you here .. and how right you are .. a bowl full of delicious soup does warm the cockles of the soul - doesn't it.

My mother will be delighted to hear from you .. and for describing her as beautiful .. she was a wonderful cook and gardener too.

With much love to you and the family .. from us here .. Hilary xoxo

Patricia said...

wow I finally got here and it is a warm yummy spot to drop into !

I have Brandywine Tomato puree on the stove right now for soup and sauce bases as we need and lots of baggies of cubed tomatoes in the freezer.

We live by squash here at our house and I make a great lentil stew (beans) inside of a pie pumpkin while it roasts in the oven.

Such good things (I personally can not eat corn anything, but that is another story - I certainly cook a lot of it here.)

Last night at book group Gloria made home made tortillas with her Mexican tomato soup - wow was it yummy. I am trying to pursue her to give me the recipe! and I am not very good at the making tortillas...

Thanks for sharing...
Glad you had time with your mum, giver my best
We had an earthquake yesterday and keep losing our power with all the wind and rain...Quite a week so far here

J.D. Meier said...

> the first encyclopaedia of the new world
That is just way too cool.

It's amazing how much information is at our finger tips now, and how easy it is to take for granted. It's a perfect reminder that it's not what you know or what you have access to, but how you use it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. wow to your comment too! Excellent - BrandyWine Tomato puree - sounds delicious .. as does your kitchen and freezer .. all kinds of goodies tucked away in there!

I love those large pumpkins filled with sweet or savoury .. we had quite a lot sweet fillings in the ones I ate in South Africa .. full of spices from the East Indies trading routes!

I do love corn .. so in that way I'm lucky .. just homemade food sounds wonderful .. tortillas and Mexican tomato soup - sounds very good .. ask Gloria for the recipe for your next Potluck book - then we'd get it?!

I see you mention the earthquake in other comments .. sounds a little worrying - but life goes on! We had floods down in the West Country - quite bad ones .. nasty time of year to lose a lot of stock, or have a major mess to clear up.

Mum sleeps but she enjoyed some Mandolin playing on Tuesday - so that was very good .. when she comes too she's fine .. but I go with the flow! Thanks for your thoughts ..

Lovely seeing you here Patricia .. have a good week & hope the outage etc doesn't affect you any more. Thinking of you - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JD .. you picked it .. the first encyclopaedia ..I couldn't leave it out could I?!

But how right you are about information and how lucky we are - that still more is being found .. which is accessible at our fingertips - we're so lucky. My next post or two absolutely proves that point - we have access to the information, we find hidden gems and then that gets publicised .. and we again as members of the public get to see it too.

It is as you say .. how we use the knowledge base that is accessible through the web - thank goodness for Tim Berners-Lee and to Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia fame .. let alone the techies that gave us the hardware to use it .. the Gates, Jobs et al ..- this is your side of life!?!

Thanks JD - good to see you .. Hilary

Patricia Stoltey said...

It's quite chilly here in Northern Colorado this week, so a simmering pot of soup sounds perfect. This is a delightful post, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. we're on the way to cold (cold!) .. but for the moment it's tolerable - comes of being an island nation. Soups are wonderful aren't they for a good fill-up with the companionship of family and friends .. delighted to hear you enjoyed it.

Thanks so much - Hilary

R.S Mallari said...

Thanks for this another entertaining yet informative article. I like squash cooked with coconut milk and maize for soup is my favorite.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi RS .. thank you! Now squash cooked with coconut milk sounds interesting .. something different to try .. Corn/Maize soup is delicious isn't it .. actually I just love plain corn kernels off the cob and butter!

Have a great weekend and thanks so much for coming by .. Hilary

Davina Haisell said...

Hilary, I did not know such a thing existed as a Three Sister Tomato plant. I'm amazed by this. And the names of those tomatoes -- Cherokee Purple and Green Zebra! :-)

I made soup last weekend, though not with any of these ingredients -- curry carrot and sweet potato. It is definitely the season for soup.

I'm reading this post before turning in and you've made me hungry with all this talk about crusty bread, freshly churned butter and cheese.

Another excellent post. Hi to your mom!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Davina .. and as Patricia mentioned BrandyWine tomatoes - sound good?! Nor did I .. so of course - I get interested and have to write about them .. then the rest follows - history et al.

Your soup sounds delicious - thick and steaming .. it does make such an excellent meal ..

I hope you are having a night's sleep and not dreaming of steaming bowls of soup, comfortable company and a long chatty evening ahead ..

see you tomorrow .. Hilary & thanks I will say 'hi' to my Mama ..

Theresa Milstein said...

This post really brought me back in time to when I used to teach 5th-graders about Native Americans. It's amazing how many items didn't exist in Europe and America before the exchange. Imagine Italians without tomatoes?

The photo of the bread is beautiful.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Theresa .. you're so right & we forget these trading positions in those days ... the seeds etc ... & Italians without tomatoes ..Mama Mia!!

Good point - we do forget .. thanks good to note ..

Wikipedia's bread at its best .. thank you .. Hilary

Liara Covert said...

People will often encourage the development of a green thumb and talking to plants. Nice you remind people to allow the voices of veggies to ring true and awaken consciousness on new levels. Everything and everyone has a voice.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. certainly more of us are 'talking' to our plants .. as well as starting to get a green thumb - more and more of us are getting out there - not sure I'd do it today - it's freezing!

But if we can remember where things began .. and bring back the old seeds and old ways of growing our food - we may well be better off - healthier.

As you say - we all, and so do plants, have a voice.

It's good to remember our pasts .. have a great weekend .. Hilary