Reminder: This week’s Wednesday deliveries will be moved up to Tuesday. Wishing you a meaningful week and a chag atzmaut sameach!
The seventh Nature-Therapy conference will take place at Ein Yael on May 3-4. For more details, see attached.
Thoughts about Earth Day and an Israeli Week
On Sunday, the world marked Earth Day, aimed to raise consciousness, education and action towards the health and wellbeing of our earth and the life existing upon it. Earth Day was initiated in 1970 by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. That year, twenty million Americans took to the streets, parks and auditoriums to gather, study, demonstrate and support this important cause.
In the history of the world’s ecological movement, the first Earth Day marked a major milestone. It occurred nearly a decade after the publication of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson’s revolutionary and thought-provoking book which stirred awareness to the threat of pollution. The first Earth Day also came after a major oil spill in Santa Barbara caused profound ecological damage. It was clear that there was a crisis brewing between us and our globe, and that action had to be taken. The historical importance of the Earth Day observance was bolstered by the fact that people of all strata took part in that event: rich and poor, Democrats and Republicans, village folk and city people, capitalists and labor union members. Thus, this day became a symbol of camaraderie. We are one people on the face of the same earth, where environmental threats do not differentiate between skin color, language or borders.
And there is something so natural about this. Sometimes Nature is perceived as a battlefield in which the strong overcomes the weak, and the battle is supreme. But in my ecology studies, I discovered with wonder that within the reciprocal relationships between the species, competition is the most destructive for both sides. Here both sides lose. Yet the relationship from which all sides benefit is… surprise! Cooperation and reciprocity. And this is scientific, rational and quantifiable research we’re talking, not rainbow- colored slogans painted by tree huggers…
At the end of this week, Israeli Memorial Day and Independence Day are interwoven like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the spirit of these days, when my daughters and I made up new verses to the song “I built a house in the land of Israel,” Netta blurted out in frustration: “I would so like for there to be peace, but I can’t sing ‘I made peace in the Land of Israel’ because there is no peace yet!” “Then why don’t you sing ‘I made peace with Jordan?’” recommended her practical five-year-old sister… And I thought about how much I would like to go on with this childish, naïve sort of talk, to use beautifully embellished words relating to friendship between different species and cooperation and peaceful solutions, just like we teach our children in kindergarten. Despite everything and in light of everything. Because not only the Americans are allowed to be so naïve and full of belief in their ability to make change for the better. Even though we’re Israeli Jews and we’re so fatalistic, we’re allowed to. And we can.
I remembered a beautiful story from a book of fairy tales given to me by Maya, Alon’s wife: Every Blade of Grass Has its Angel. These are tales told by Rabbi Shmuel Avidor-Hacohen and illustrated by Ora Eitan.
A Wooden Handle
“And Tzila gave birth too, to the child named: Tuval-Cain, the (first) grandmaster of working with iron and copper.”
Genesis 4, 22
Tuval Cain began making iron axes and copper knives. The trees heard and started crying and shaking with fear. God asked them, “Why are you so agitated?”
Said they, “We stand in the heat of the sun and the fierce storms and give shade and cover to man and animals. Birds nest among our branches and little rodents build their homes in our trunks. Now along comes Tuval Cain and creates deadly weapons in order to cut us down, branch and trunk and all!”
Said God to the trees, “If none of you becomes a handle to iron, the iron cannot chop you down. If you help the iron, it will rule you in evil, but if not, there will be no danger to your lives. For iron has no value if it has no wooden handle.”
And thus is man. It is not only weapons he can make of iron, but also a plough or a hammer. If it is life he seeks, let him make from the iron these tools which lengthen and improve his life. But if he craves weapons, why, then, would he complain about the iron?
Wishing you all a great week, one of beating swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning-hooks. Why stop at a week? May we have a year of this, a decade, a millennium! Amen.
Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team, working your ploughs and pruning hooks
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?
Monday: Cabbage, lettuce, Swiss chard, fennel, leeks, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, dill, potatoes
In the large box, in addition: zucchini, fresh fava beans, cauliflower
Wednesday: Swiss chard, daikon or radish, parsley, lettuce, beets, leeks, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes
In the large box, in addition: Cauliflower or peas, fennel, zucchini
RECIPES FOR EVERYDAY AND HOLIDAYS:
Avital from Jerusalem sent me this beautifully written recipe suggestion:
“Here’s a simple vegetable dish, Greek in origin, which I make primarily for myself. But this time I added a great many of the greens from my Chubeza box to prepare a refreshing delicacy for our Seder table:
I first met this dish in Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean Cookery, a cookbook which has remained delightful even decades after being published.
The principle is quite simple: cook the greens for a short time in a great deal of salted water (today’s chefs also recommend this. Meanwhile, you can make life easier by avoiding today’s chefs’ unnecessary recommendation to immerse the greens in ice water to ‘preserve’ their vibrant color. ….). Drain the greens very well, being careful not to crush. Transfer to a wide bowl and season with olive oil, lemon (optional), and salt.
The vegetables: Almost all greens and fresh legumes may be used. From the Chubeza pre-Pesach box, I selected Swiss chard, celery leaves, and the fresh fava beans and fresh peas.
Additional possibilities for greens: beet greens (best to cook them separately, since they dye everything red), mustard greens, spinach of all varieties, and even Romaine lettuce.
Additional possibilities for vegetables: green bean varieties, small whole zucchini (or sliced lengthwise), broccoli, cauliflower and kale.
Bring a large quantity of saltwater to a boil in a very large pot. Start by adding the stalks only from celery, Swiss chard, spinach and the firmer beats. Cook for 3-4 minutes, add the greens and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the fava beans and the peas and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Taste the fava. If it’s crisp and ready, that’s the sign that everything is ready. Turn off the heat and drain contents immediately in a large colander. Shake well and transfer to a wide bowl, generously sprinkle with olive oil and a bit of coarse salt. That’s it! You may want to add freshly grated lemon zest and lemon juice. Do not overcook, don’t overdo it by adding too many flavors, and don’t crush the vegetables. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Mediterranean cooks prepare many varieties of vegetables by a similar method and serve them with different sauces. In Provence, they eat “Le grand aioli,” a freshwater fish lightly cooked, served with cooked vegetables, potatoes, carrots and green beans, and accompanied by a homemade olive oil and garlic-based mayonnaise.
In Spain, many kinds of vegetables dishes are cooked in boiling saltwater (I add olive oil to the cooking liquid), including onions, leeks, potatoes, carrots, celery, cauliflower, green beans and zucchini. The dish is then served along with olive oil, lemons and vinegar, and each diner seasons the vegetables as he or she pleases.
In Italy, all vegetables (plus fennel and eggplant) that aren’t greens are placed on a grill, sliced into thick, lengthwise pieces, and served on a large, wide tray with olive oil, salt, and coarse pepper.
AND, IN ANSWER TO THOSE INCESSANT REQUESTS THAT START, “I KNOW IT’S REALLY HEALTHY, BUT WHAT IN THE WORLD CAN I DO WITH KALE?” CHUBEZA’S RECIPE CORNER PRESENTS: