Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Damrosch & Higgins: Thoughts on sage and presidents with dirt under their fingernails

Do you have a few spare minutes because May showers are keeping you out of your garden? Then take 15 and link to the two recent Washington Post gardening articles by columnists Barbara Damrosh and Adrian Higgins.

In her “A Cook’s Garden” column, Damrosch lauds sage, which she calls a “powerful plant,” and laments that in the kitchen its use “has been strangely limited to stuffing a turkey or making sausage.”

Damrosch tells how she uses the herb, including this short, but complete, recipe: “Drop sage leaves into simmering butter or olive oil until they turn a bit crisp, then scatter on pasta and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.”

I wonder whether dripping saliva will damage my computer keyboard.

Beyond recipe hints, Damrosch tells how she and her husband grow sage and how she stores dried leaves for winter use.

To read Damrosch’s article, titled “Common sage: Spread the flavor” in the Post print edition, CLICK HERE.

Were George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison “dirt-under-their-fingernails gardeners whose love of the soil shaped the way they forged a nascent country”?

If you are a gardener or a history lover, I recommend you read Adrian Higgins’s conversation with Andrea Wulf, author of “Founding Gardeners,” a book that, surprisingly for a garden history, is inching its way up the New York Times bestseller list.

Here’s a typical anecdote about John Adams, while he was on diplomatic assignment in London, Higgins quoting Wulf: “On the fringes of the British capital, he once delighted in finding a compost pile to examine. ‘Teasing apart the straw and dung,’ Wulf writes, Adams ‘clearly didn’t mind the muck on his hands.’ He noted ‘with glee that it was “not equal to mine.”’”

Here’s the link to Higgins’s article, which in the Post’s print edition was titled “United seeds of America: The founding fathers, an author says, were grounded in the earth.” CLICK HERE.

1 comment:

  1. I love sage this way. One year for Thanksgiving I made mashed potatoes with brown butter and sage in this way and it was sure delicious!

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