Jelly Bean Salad

My first garden. 

My first garden. 

Fresh salad greens sprinkled with carrots and jelly beans. Sounds delicious, right? Well, that's the first dish I ever prepared, and my mom (or so she tells me) happily ate it. As a toddler, I spent most of my time during the day working from "my office" - essentially a space between two bookshelves in my mom's home office - while she worked at her desk just a few feet away. I pretended to calculate numbers on one of these, bossed my stuffed animals (and real cats) around, and somewhere along the way, picked up a desire to learn how to cook. I was about 4 years old when I made "Jelly Bean Salad" for my mom, and I have desired to create dishes, hopefully better tasting, ever since. 

This blog is essentially a one-and-a-half man operation. I cultivate the recipes, photograph them and write the posts, while occasionally seeking the help of an extra hand to hold the reflector or a taste tester to tell me how I did. I'm sure there are things you or others will do differently with my recipes and I can't wait to hear about them. Cooking is a creative expression and you should be able to take an of the dirt recipe as a well prepped canvas and tailor it to your taste. I intend for the recipes to be simple yet delicious. Something not to be intimidated by, but rather something that will impress your consumers while equally impressing yourself at your abilities. If you decide that there should be more garlic or to substitute chicken for roasted eggplant, I hope that you will do so and leave a comment so I can try it myself.


Why the name, of the dirt.

I have to give credit to my husband for the phrase. He used it in a song lyric and the idea was perfect: "we are children of the dirt." Dependent on good soil to give them a healthy habitat and the nutrients to grow, plants are children of the dirt. Dependent on plants to give them clean air to breathe and the nutrients to grow, people are children of the dirt. You can get religious or scientific in your interpretation of this phrase, but the reality is, we rely on dirt to give us life. And we are borrowers of this dirt. 

You won't find an outspoken environmentalist under the shell of this wannabe master gardener and creative cook. You will, however, find a person who believes that people (should) have a connection with their food and how important it is for us recognize that plants, animals, and people are codependent. It's a mutually platonic relationship; you and your kale plants should be wearing friendship bracelets. If we appreciate how our food is grown or raised, where it comes from and what real food is, we appreciate our resources more and begin to treat ourselves and each other with more respect.

There is also something uniquely human and meaningful about gathering around a table with friends or strangers and enjoying food in unity. You can see these traditions spanning deep into the heritage of cultures around the world and, sadly, our culture has turned away from family dinners toward fast food and eating on the go. While we don't always have the time to create a meal and join together around a table, it's important to make time to do so when you can. I hope I can help by brining you delicious and feasible recipes.  

My blog will share recipes and thoughts on using whole foods and explore my own journey of getting connected to our food. I believe in supporting local farmers and buying in season to the best of our ability, but I'm not naive about how globalized our system is. Sometimes you just need what's convenient. You won't find judgement here. However, I hope that through of the dirt you will begin to make a small change. And a little more. And then a little bit more. 


PS - I'm not vegetarian or vegan. I fully believe in eating a really great piece of meat. However, we need to be be conscious consumers of our animals - where they come from, how they are treated, what they consume for food - we need to respect them. Now, get me a piece of grilled (pasture raised, ideally local) chicken, please!