Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lost in senses

Don't you just want to ruffle through the thyme and stick your nose in it? I do that every time when I'm on the roof. The aroma is delicious and it looks pretty with its lilac flowers. Just the ruffling will please four of my five senses: looking at it, feeling it, hearing it and smelling it. If I'd had a nibble, I could even taste it. The moment I step in the garden, I am greeted by beautiful, vibrant colours: the red poppies, the orange calendulas, the almost blue violas, the deep red of the black nasturtium, white and lilac pansies, the yellow of the courgette flowers, the red strawberries, the lush green of the herbs -- everything captures my eyes. I regularly rub the herbs to smell them, as well as I do pick lemon balm, spearmint or peppermint to make a tea to enjoy while I'm looking after the garden. Since we have plenty of lettuce, I pick some leaves in between to snack on, as well as some of the flowers.

You can eat both of the nasturtium. My iguana loves them and has decided that they, mustard greens and Pak Choi are his choice of the month. Iguanas, by the way, have mainly three senses that guide them: they have a superb eyesight, pretty good smell and taste. They can hear, too, but don't rely too much on it.
Back to me and my gardening; I love being up there, getting my hands dirty, discovering earthworms, new flowers, new fruit, another seedling poking its tender green leaves through the soil in search for the sun. There is so much to do and to learn. If we have a session with our gardener Alex, I can be sure I'll see things I've never seen before. Yesterday, she showed me a beautiful piece of art by nature, albeit not wanted in our garden: skeletons of a few leaves that had been eating by tiny grubs. I bet their taste buds jubilated.

But not everyone is able to use all their senses. We have one in our group who lost her sense of smell and has adapted to it, but I keep wondering how it would be to not be able to smell. I admit to have given her some black peppermint and asked her to have a sniff. Needless to say, that I ending up being mortified to have asked her. Although I know more people being blind or with a hearing impairment/mute, I only know two people who can't smell anything.
Not being able to smell often means it has an impact on taste, too. For me, being a keen cook and savourer of food, it would be devastating; not being able to sniff a good glass of wine before having a sip, letting it swirl around my mouth to unfold its full aroma, the pleasure of tasting the slight hint of tarragon in a sauce...

We take our and others' senses for granted, but I think we should celebrate our senses. Be aware of them, use them as much as we can, be grateful for them. Speaking of it: I cooked a meal with our home grown aquadulce beans (broad beans) and it was delicious.

Here is the very easy recipe:
Broad beans
Smoked bacon (copped or in fine stripes)
Small onion  (chopped finely)
Summer savory (a rare herb to enhance the flavour of the beans)
Fry the onions and bacon in a little bit of oil until brown, add the beans and cover with water. Season with salt, pepper and the summer savoury and let it simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Thicken the sauce with cornflower (best to mix it first with a bit of water in a cup). Serve with either, mashed or boiled potatoes.

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