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The Secret Ingredients

The Secret Ingredients
By Joe Phillips Dear Me
The Secret Ingredients
By Joe Phillips Dear Me


There seems to be one mystery after another here.

Two years ago a creeping vine showed up just off the back door that didn't have any reason to be there. Thinking that it was probably not harmful, we left the vine alone to see what would happen, and there were soon beautiful orange blooms trailing behind.

The Kansas Woman commented that it looked like a squash bloom, but we hadn't tossed any seeds out in that particular direction, so we waited.

In a few weeks, fruit that looked like gourds appeared, and we watched them until they seemed to be maturing spaghetti squash. They were and we ate them but didn't remember tossing seeds.

In the fall, some greens appeared near the back door that appeared to be turnip greens.

The KW doesn't eat turnip greens and won't cook them. When she was a kid, her father grew turnips but tossed the greens to the cows.

To show you how backwards things can get, my grandparents were not keen on turnip roots but grew them for the greens. My grandfather saved the few roots they needed by saving them in wooden boxes in his smokehouse. They ate turnips at Thanksgiving and that was it.

The KW maybe found the secret to why the grandparents didn't eat turnips: They didn't know how to cook them. They mashed the turnips into something like mashed potatoes or budgerigars.

After boiling chopped turnips to tender (as if you are cooking potatoes), her family made a white cheese sauce and served the turnip roots in the sauce, with a measure of sugar, which went into everything.

I have to admit turnip roots are much better prepared that way, and I have my own touch. While the KW puts sugar in everything, as do I now, even biscuits and cornbread, my “secret ingredient is nutmeg. I give a whole nutmeg a few scratching strokes and that's it.

The answer might be that I kept a number of orphan seeds in an empty coffee can until I could figure out what they were. Now and then someone sent me a seed or two of some old plant, and I've planted them away from the house. I've never been surprised.

Two years ago the KW looked at the can and quickly developed an alternate use for it, so she dumped the contents near the back door and went on.

It took two years for the seeds to germinate.

Now, as I write this, there is a nice line of purple top turnips waiting for someone to notice them.

Maybe soon.

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