Friday, July 6, 2012

The vegetable man

Photo: step-by-step cook

The first Savoy cabbage I saw was grown by a Dutch immigrant who'd arrived in Canada after WWII. He was probably relieved to be able to grow food in peace, in the rich black alluvial soil of Braun's Island in the Skeena River. The farmer went door to door, selling freshly harvested vegetables from his truck.

The first time he came to our house, Mom bought onions and a cabbage; finding these good she expanded her purchases in later visits to include yellow and green beans, beets and carrots. In the fall, she bought potatoes by the sack, and different kinds of turnips.

I don't recall this farmer having tomatoes for sale, or peppers. In those days in the north, tomatoes were a rare treat, and a crop not attempted by local growers. We ate them two ways: in salad with iceberg lettuce, or sliced in sandwiches with mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

Mom didn't buy peppers, even if the vegetable man had them. Like broccoli, they were off my mother's culinary map, and only entered our house when as teens, we kids began to cook.

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