Still There, Leeks

Leeks on display

When all of our snow melted, thanks to several days of warm rain, I noticed the small bed of leeks was still there.  Not quite the way they were, tall and perfect, still carrying memories of growth and fearlessness, but now bent and remembering snow.

I thought I’d dig some up to see how the edible underground white part looked and lay them out in a simple arrangement to make up for the winter they had just been through. The subterranean roots looked fresh and white and crisp, suitable for a potato leek soup or any other leek recipe. There is an unusual Leek “Noodles” with Creme Fraiche and Hazelnut Oil recipe on the Splendid Table site I think  I’ll try. Only the hazelnut oil sounds hard to find.

I am always amazed at the ability of leeks to survive our winters. With only a straw mulch and our usual snow cover, they always emerge victorious in spring. Maybe it’s because leeks are one of the world’s most ancient vegetables. A 4,000 year old Babylonian tablet suggests using crushed leeks in a stew. Their strong life force also provides them with healing qualities. The mucilage they contain provides a soothing coating for the throat, helpful for public speaking. It’s also a Welsh emblem from the sixteenth century  and was highly regarded enough to be considered a cure for the common cold, a protection against wounds in battle, a means of foretelling the future, a protection from evil spirits – oh, and an ingredient in broth. And what better than a leek under a marriagable woman’s pillow to provide an apparition of her future husband? I say why not? Maybe there are few limits to what a leek can do.

I think I’ll go out and dig the rest of those leeks…..


              Though it be broken-
                 broken again - its still there:
                     the moon on the water.


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