Search This Blog

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Portents and Bushel Baskets

It isn't a portent, I'm pretty sure, that the silken grey ribbons pulled out from the spine of my little notebook, leaving it plain and undistinguished. It couldn't be an omen, for what would it be telling me? Don't use the notebook any longer? Don't rely on inanimate objects to mark your place? Pretty things die?


You see? You can make anything mean anything if you just set your mind to it. So I'll say this event signals that it is time to break out the glue gun and do some repairs. That's as deep as I want to go.


Now imagine a bushel basket. You don't see many of these any longer, unless you buy your tomatoes and peppers in bulk at the farmers' market. I love bushel baskets. My husband, not having grown up in a world that featured them, has trouble with the name and invariably refers to them as "bushels" not realizing that the operative word is baskets. I used to correct him (a bit harshly, sometimes, because surely after all these years with me he should remember this). But now I just let it go. Besides, we're about over our mock-farmer phase where we "put by" the peppers and romano beans and tomatoes for the coming year. So our supply of bushel baskets in the basement is dwindling, thank goodness. We really don't need to keep any on hand.


When our Hannah was not quite two (she's 23 now) her favourite game was to sit in a bushel basket, which we would place on a large towel or small rug. Then one of us—whichever adult had the most energy that moment—would grab one end of the towel or rug and pull the Hannah-loaded basket all through the house. We have pictures.


For vegetable deliveries from our CSA, Steph uses large plastic tubs with lids, which we return to her at the next delivery. They probably suit her needs much better than bushel baskets would. She can wash them with her power hose to clean them for the next delivery. They are sturdier by far than bushel baskets, whose rough thin slats are minimally held together with interweaving and wire. Plastic tubs don't have splinters, either.


But as long as farmers have stands and Dupont Street has Italian greengrocers who sell the tomatoes grown in the family fields, there will still be bushel baskets.


Once, when it mattered, I could recite the table of equivalents all the way up to bushel (16 T in a cup, 2 cups in a pint, 2 pints in a quart, 4 quarts in a gallon—and then something makes a peck and X number of pecks makes a bushel). "I love you a bushel and a peck". Take half a peck of small cucumbers . . .  These days if I need that information I just look in Mrs. Rombauer's index (under Table of Equivalents). Someone else might go online, but that wouldn't tap into the nostalgia of finding those words and figures on the printed page of an old cookbook.


Copyright © 2018 Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Brave and the Others

Beyond the shore lies danger enfolded in mystery.


Beyond the shore lies mystery encased in a shell of danger.

Only a few brave the depths and swells

of the unknown.

Only a few pierce the shell of danger

and approach the mystery,

itself not to be solved but acknowledged.

And what of those who stay on shore?

What of the timid who brave nothing but the struggles

of their own lives?


Do the rewards go only to the foolhardy

who actively seek the mysteries

surrounded by danger?

I find it hard to believe

we are stigmatized, favoured or not,

according to the boldness of our thrust through life.

To us all belong the spoils,

just for making it through.


Copyright © 2018 Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Inner Grace

How can you tell if you have inner grace?

What are its signs?

Oh, I get it. It's one of those things

that you're better off not thinking of.

Striving for it gets you nowhere.

Peering inward to see if it's there

reveals little.


Everyone wants it—don't they?—

but I think you can recognize it

only in others.

She has inner grace.

You have it.

But the statement doesn't work

when translated

into the first person singular.

The best we can hope for is, say,


Perhaps serenity.

Maybe non-fractious relations with others

(with relations, for example).

For the rest, just let it go.

Don't think about it.

Hope that someone notices and will say,

after the fact,

Y'know, I always felt she had an inner grace.

That's your validation,

though you may have to be dead

to receive it.



Copyright © 2018 Ann Tudor
Food blog: