“I only want to live in peace and plant potatoes and dream!”
– Moomintroll, from the Tove Jansson comics
Sometimes I dream of a rotund life. A potato life. Warm, comfortably asleep under dark blankets of earth, it seems a good existence. I’d like to be a lumpy, happy sort of person, round and confident of the direction I’m going, sending out little feelers ahead of me in all directions, ever upward, ever confident of the nearness of sunlight.
But graduate school doesn’t always seem to line up with potato dreams. Amidst the constant deadlines, the late nights, the stress of each new hurdle, the sunlight can seem awfully far away sometimes. That’s when I turn to cooking. If I can’t be a potato, at least I can remind myself of the things that the sun has nurtured and that bring me back to the best things in life– fresh tomatoes, little yeast monsters valiantly growing up into bread, molten chocolate chip cookies that burn the roof of my mouth, the sugary crust on the top of pies. Sometimes I do plant potatoes, in little pots on my deck. Sometimes they grow and sometimes they’re stubborn, but I like to encourage them. When I remember to be, I am as kind to myself as I am to my plants. This year I’m taking a leave of absence from my graduate programme, and I know there’s no need to wait. I’ve been meaning to make a cooking blog for a while now, but simply never had the time.
But I’ve realised the best time to plant potatoes and dream is now. I’m putting on my floppy hat and heading out to the garden.