We had a rhubarb plant when I was a kid. It was tucked somewhere in the side yard, between the big vegetable garden and the lanky-limbed pine tree. When we weren’t climbing that tree, my brother, Jeff and I liked to perform ritual vegetable sacrifices.
A pile of green carrot tops formed next to the cashier at the farmers market. They had been summarily removed from their lanky roots like some kind of ritual beheading. I declined the procedure, adamant about finding a use for the lush fronds.
Dr. James Salisbury called it a “muscle pulp of beef” but we know it today as Salisbury steak. The good doctor believed that chopped beef (and coffee) could cure the intestinal ailments of Union soldiers during the Civil War. Convinced of the virtues of this diet—and that fruits and vegetables were the, uh, root of all evil—Dr. Salisbury published The Relation of Alimentation and Disease, which became America’s first fad diet.*
Spring was 6 days away, and there was a blizzard warning. Why does winter wait until the last possible moment to make an appearance? I was angry at the nor’easter now dusting the crocuses and daffodils in snow and ice, but it also gave me an excuse to hunker down in the apartment and make a pan of baked oatmeal, a cozy yet long-forgotten breakfast dish.
What do I do when it seems our country is spiraling toward tyranny, I feel as if I’ve accomplished nothing during my time on earth, and it’s 4 pm on Sunday?
I reassert some control over my life.
I bake muffins.