Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Springtime in Belgium...last week it hovered near 80 degrees for 4 days. It hasn't rained at all in weeks and weeks. This isn't at all what it was like last year, but I'm not complaining. Well, not about the weather at any rate.

While Appalachia has ramps, garlicky greens that sprout in spring and are consumed by the local community, Western Europe has ramsons, essentially the same thing. First we noticed the aroma as we crushed it underfoot in a park in one of the communes to the NW of the city, and shortly thereafter (in the park across the street) we saw an interpretive sign indicating that it was "l'ail des ours", or bear's garlic. It was blanketing the ground and crowding out any other life forms in this second park, and putting up a pleasantly biting aroma when disturbed. I didn't find out it was edible until we arrived home and I did some research. The next time we tramped around in the woods, this time to the south of the city, I made sure to bring my pocket knife for collecting purposes, because who's going to notice that the amount sufficient for pesto has gone missing, and sure enough there was none in this park.

Here's a photo of Jesus on a hilltop in the garlicky park. Jesus has taken the gold, while a towel draped on a chair receives the silver. Congrats, Son of God!

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