My friend and her family recently visited from Scotland. Her kids were a blast! Since I don’t have kids, before they came, I tried to think of fun things for girls ages five and three. One thing I didn’t include on my list was the “garden tour.”
But they were quite impressed when I went out to the porch to pick some oregano leaves for the salad. As I assembled the salad, they kept asking, “Can I have a leaf?” and I would give them spinach to munch on. (Full disclosure: the spinach came from the grocery store.) The girls excitedly told their dad, “We can eat Kristen’s leaves!” Unfortunately, at that particular moment, the youngest was about to eat my poisonous lily plant, so we had to teach them that they could only eat certain ones of Kristen’s leaves.
The girls, particularly the oldest, were very interested in all my plants. The next morning we went outside and sampled all of the herbs. Then we had blind taste testings, were you had to guess what kind of leaf you were eating and which plant it came from. This became more complicated when somebody put leaves from multiple plants in my mouth.
I would have had a great time with these precious girls even if they weren’t interested in plants and didn’t like salad. We had so much fun together eating Rita’s water ice, walking to the park, and comparing accents. But the fact that they shared my delight in eating leaves from my own plants increased my joy. I hadn’t expected two young girls to be my garden’s most enthusiastic visitors!
Farfalle Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach
1 lb butterfly or spiral pasta, cooked
3 spring onions
2 oz sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
1 lb baby spinach leaves
4 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
(Recipe is from a friend's vegetarian cookbook.)