The Path To Self-Understanding Is Filled With Weeds


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I've been gardening a lot lately and, in turn, thinking a lot about how it leads me to understand myself a little better. So, I wrote this piece for Heated, which I wanted to share here. The first part is excerpted below; if you find it interesting, you can read the rest on the website, or just skip straight to the recipe (Pasta with Broccoli Rabe, Pine Nuts, and Raisins) that I've been cooking with my "bounty." Have the best weekend.

—Mark

Gardening, like cooking, or anything solitary and semi-relaxing, showcases our personality quirks and makes them more obvious. (Oliver Sacks, says Maria Popova, equates gardens and music.) Or at least that’s the case for me. When I’m gardening, I’m more aware that I can be obsessive, creative, disorganized, lazy, indifferent, and sometimes mindful — which I, in turn, love or loathe about myself. When I feel laziness is diminishing my accomplishments, I’m self-deprecating; when a laid-back attitude allows me to enjoy gardening without becoming a maniac, I’m glad about that.

I’m a gardener (and a cook) not a farmer (or a chef), so there’s little pressure to actually produce. I garden because I like it; I don’t do it because I have to. This has advantages — crop failure isn’t much of an issue for me — and disadvantages: I can be indifferent at times, which gardens do not like.

All of this has a history, and please bear with me if you’ve read this little bit before. In 1973, when I was 23, I moved into a house on Burnside Avenue in Somerville, Massachusetts. The geography of that city, if not its character, looks the same: houses way too close together, separated by eight- or at ten-foot-wide driveways, tiny backyards, mostly paved over and gated.

Click here (or below) to read the rest of this story.


MY NOT-SO-SECRET GARDEN


Couldn’t be much easier: You use the same water for the broccoli as you do for the pasta. It’s hard to say how much oil you’ll wind up adding to this dish: The answer is “enough.” I cook the garlic in the 1/4 cup listed here, but I usually add a teaspoon or two more per serving at the table, more for flavor than for moisture.

PASTA WITH BROCCOLI RABE


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Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.