My mother once passed around a photo of a toddler in a muddy springtime garden, mouth full of dirt, fingers gingerly lifting an earthworm to taste. For years my brothers taunted me – Wanda the Worm Eater.
Decades on I’m still caught by the spell of thawing earth, and the hidden, mysterious workings down below.
It’s March. The allées in the vineyard are suddenly bursting with clover and wildflowers, a godsend for the first pollinators. But the real showstopper: entire parcels of spring onions. I asked the farmer who planted them. No one, they grow wild. When he was a child they dug them up to sell for pocket money.
I’m trying to reach back to cellular memory, that collective place where we all have a hankering for spring earth, minerals, and an intriguing earthworm.
But the guy in my kitchen has drawn a culinary line. Earth flavors, yes. On condition they’re alchemized through a birthday omelet with eggs from a neighbor, spring onions from the vineyard, magic lettuce from the lawn.