Is there a meal that reminds you of home? Whether it’s your mom’s pad see ew or your Grandpa’s ratatouille, you can probably think of a dish or ingredient that reminds you of the place you are from. Replicating these meals can make home seem a little closer, but what do you if you can’t even find the ingredients in this country? I joined Farmer Tany at Fresh Pond Apartments’ vegetable gardens and discovered how one can grow a piece of home in one’s own backyard.
Fresh Pond Apartments has an ethnically diverse population. On the day of our maintenance visit, tenants speaking myriad languages joined us to harvest the last of summer’s crops. Several of the women, wearing vibrant scarves and jewel colored silks and linens, pulled up the last of a red, spinach-esque plant which I had never seen. There were many names for this vegetable: Chaulimaath, ptee, and others I cannot respectably transliterate. Every one of these urban farmers had memories of their mothers cooking the red spinach into a curry or dipping it in tuk krueng sauce at holiday meals. The recipes varied as widely as the names ascribed to it, but each woman recalled the memories with a shared fondness.
Growing your own vegetables is rewarding in innumerable ways. The food is fresh and it is your own. Gardening can nourish so much more than your body, though. As people grow and move farther away from childhood and possibly home, food can serve as a reminder of your roots and your own garden can be a little piece of home.