This question was posed to my friend Wendy when she was in China adopting the darling Scott. Wendy had been describing something to one of her Chinese hosts about eating in America, and this woman just couldn’t believe that we bought fish dead in the grocery store. Who knows what you’re getting if you can’t see the whole fish — how can you tell how fresh it is if you can’t see the eyes or the gills? Better to buy your fish live, out of a tank, like sensible people, no?
I got thinking of this because my garden is ruining me for regular vegetables from the grocery store. How long has that zucchini been dead? What’s with that lettuce — it came all the way from Mexico and now I’m supposed to eat it? What am I going to do all winter (I sense experiments with cold frames ahead)? I know, again with the Swiss Chard, but it’s up and ready to go and having never really been a fan of Swiss Chard before, it’s a revelation. Cut it, carry inside, rinse in cold water, cut up and sautee with a little garlic until it wilts, add some chicken broth and a little wine and let simmer while the chicken cooks on the barbecue. Yum. Fresh greens from my very own backyard. And if you grow it yourself, you can eat it young, when it’s a little more tender than those enormous leaves you see in the store.
Speaking of greens, I went back to Seeds From Italy and ordered some more greens — some lettuces, a radicchio/chicory mix, and nice Bill McKay who runs the site sent along a packet of an escarole-like lettuce. I can’t say enough about these seeds — the arugula was fabulous, the basil is coming up really well (and I’ve had bad luck with basil in the past — which is odd as it’s supposed to be so easy), and I’m looking forward to more authentic Italian greens. Plus, he sends along some good cooking tips as well. Great site, great product, nice guy. Go check it out.