Mystery Food Week 4 and Library School Gymnastics

25 Jun
I’ve spent the week with my head in two very different worlds. My spring semester was challenging in a way I’d not expected. I took a course on managing prison libraries, which forced me to weigh access to information against public safety and take a very honest personal inventory of my thoughts and subconscious judgments about the incarcerated population. What I learned was that prison librarians have an incredibly important role. These are the men and women who lead the book group discussions that teach positive socialization, help prisoners locate and comprehend legal materials, and ultimately manage and circulate resources to prepare them for life post-incarceration. It takes a certain amount of determination and resiliency to face what is often a difficult population to serve, whether those difficulties arise from the imprisoned or the bureaucratic “hurry-up-and-wait” nature of prison administration.

When it came time to register for summer courses, I finally decided to stop procrastinating and got around to signing up for a required research methods course. The specific topic for the course is “action research.” While I’m still grasping the concept, it seems to deal a lot with how research acts as a continual, fluid learning process that has no fixed beginning or end. For my other course, I chose a class on selecting materials for children ages 0-4. So you can imagine that going from writing about the constructivist theory of learning to evaluating a copy of Clifford: The Big Red Dog might make some mental gymnastics a necessity.

Nonetheless, I remain determined to share the joy of local food with the world and so present to you Mystery Food Week 4. This was the best haul so far (in my humble opinion).

Here we have some arugula, garlic, spring onions, kale, a potted basil plant (Yay!), a summer squash, and some lovely yellow plums.

…And now a confession: I have never eaten a fresh yellow plum. But the delightful smell as I opened the little container was so sweet that I immediately chose and bit into one.

Oh. My. God. Juicy, fruity, and wonderful. Like a tiny, golden nectarine. Immediately visions of chutneys, preserves, sauces, and salsas danced through my brain. Yes, yes, yes to fresh, in-season yellow plums.

I baked a few of them with some peaches for dessert last night, but wanted to save a few for a spicy plum salsa to go with a grilled pork loin I plan to make for a late Father’s Day BBQ this weekend. (Hey, we do things at our own pace here in the “south.”) I just finished the menu plan and it’s chock-full of delicious goodies. I’ll try to take some pictures.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Mine will be spent at my favorite market and then celebrating with family. Oh, and maybe a little homework will sneak in there too…all in all, not a bad way to spend a few days.

Ciao for now!
-Neen

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