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The Meaning of Liberal

The generosity of my back porch herbs infuses a new liberality to my cooking. When I worked I was too tired to experiment in the kitchen. But now there is time to prepare beautiful foods with ingredients as local I as I can source them. From my own herb pot emerges basil, with deep green leaves that contrast with vine-ripe Farmers Market tomatoes (or the even fresher ones from friends’ gardens) in a Caprese Salad. Mint for tea ~ and juleps. Rosemary for oven-roasted potatoes with garlic, lots of garlic. Or in a pork roast...with lots of garlic. Parsley for everything: omelettes, pasta, chicken parmesan, and sprigs to chew on when I’ve had all that garlic.

But the Thyme! Its exuberance reminds me of Ophelia in Hamlet, driven mad by grief, her hair springing everywhere. My Thyme has that kind of wildish energy as it cascades from the pot. And it flavors my newest favorite dish – Chicken in Mushroom Sherry Crème Sauce. Super easy and a melding of delicious aromas and tastes that has everyone in the house hovering until it's ready. I prepare it in one of mama’s cast iron skillets that itself is a cherished legacy, seasoned to perfection over decades of cooking.

My herb garden is not large, but its plenty spills from pots that edge my porch creating an oasis of fragrance on hot summer days.

Ah…the liberal generosity that springs from things tended, loved. The joyful abundance that naturally flows when we care for something. When we care for each other. When we love our neighbor and do to others what we want done to us.

Surely you knew I was talking about more than plants?

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