Molly Fisk: The Compost Pile

5707807027_3b6b789735_zPhoto by gwen via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Now and then there’s a topic I think of writing about, and my brain says, “No way!! That would NOT be a good idea, don’t even think about it!” Maybe the subject is too politically sensitive or somehow in bad taste, but much of the time this reaction is because of how embarrassed I’d be to admit something. Coincidentally, this month I’m teaching an online class called “A Voice of Your Own — How to Write Intimately, Truthfully, and Fearlessly.” Now I ask you, can the person who’s teaching a class with this name really afford to worry about her own embarrassment? Of course not. She has to be brave and true and set an example, putting her pen and paper where her mouth is. Ugh. It’s so annoying. Which leads me, reluctantly, to today’s topic.

When I was a little girl, one of my brothers hated green peas, which at that time came in a frozen box you heated up in a pan of water on the stove. Every Thursday our family had chicken, rice, and peas, and my poor brother was faced with the dreaded green items again. What got him and the rest of us through this tense period in our lives was watching him learn to count and eat at the same time. I can’t remember how many peas were required before he could leave the table, but my sister and I spent a lot of our suppertime listening to “nineteen, twenty, twenty-three, twenty-four. . .”

Cute story, huh? Now, almost half a century later, I’m the one who doesn’t eat her vegetables. It isn’t peas on a plate I’m resisting, though, it’s my weekly share of fresh veggies from a local farm. Gorgeous heads of lettuce, dewy bok choi, carrots and zukes, all kinds of heirloom tomatoes and many other delicacies are gathered up by rosy-cheeked interns and wait for me at the farm stand every Monday. I just dread this. I want to eat them all, I really do, but I can’t. I roast some squash, make a little ratatouille with the eggplants, pesto from the fresh basil, and eat all the tomatoes. I take salads to every pot luck. On Sunday nights I stir fry whatever still looks reasonable from the fridge, where it’s been lingering all week, so I have room in there to add the current week’s new crop.

But sometimes, it just gets totally overwhelming. My students won’t absorb one more offering of golden beets or lemon cucumbers and I have to resort to subterfuge. So here’s what I do. Promise you won’t tell anyone! I know I’ll be run out of town. In the dead of night, I gather all the wilted, moldy, fragile, decomposing organic hand-picked vegetables from the counter top and ice box bin and sneak them out to my compost pile. The whole world is asleep. I gingerly open the lid and fling them in.

I know this food should not go to waste, but I always think this week I’ll be better. And then, once again, I’m not. It’s horrible. It makes me feel so guilty that my stomach hurts.

Unless that sharp pain is from gulping down so many radishes last week.

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  • Heidi September 12, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Love it! Perhaps more smoothies. Just dump all the veg in!