Honor his wishes but be mindful of his dishes

Honor his wishes but be mindful of his dishes

Confession: An undeniable portion of my personal history includes feeding roadkill to unsuspecting co-workers at the office Thanksgiving carry-in. Now that the gasp has presumably subsided, I’ll add it was not quite as bad as it sounds.

Folks knew they were wading into murky waters when they dipped their crackers into the delightful, warm and mildly spicy dip I’d labeled “Miscellaneous Meat.” Most likely presumed the slow cooker contained waterfowl of one sort or another as in those times I spent most of my vacation days each November standing over a muddy retriever while attempting to entice ducks to my blind amongst the cattails of Killbuck Marsh.

It was only after the meal had ended that I confessed on the day prior to the dinner, I’d been skunked in the swamp. Serendipity, however, had pitched a cottontail rabbit directly and unavoidably in front of my truck bumper on the ride home. I’d whipped up the casualty into a delightful dish known in wider circles as southern mustard rabbit, which plated similarly to pulled pork.

Though many were repulsed, I was quite pleased with myself, telling my co-workers that in the timeless argument between Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny (“Duck Season” vs “Wabbit Season”), I’d never been one to choose sides, and I felt they might be overreacting. I changed jobs the following January. It was an amicable parting.

I tell this story to illuminate the line between purposeful omission of the facts and genuine forgetfulness. The previous story was an example of the former, and the following will be a tale of the latter.

When I left for vacation a few weeks ago, I was in such a hurry to hit the road that I’d forgotten to ferry home my weekly bag of produce. The bag, delivered to my office from a local vegetable farm, represented my weekly share of a Community Supported Agriculture service or CSA. I’d subscribed to the deliveries in an effort to both support local agriculture and to broaden my horizons with regard to foods I’d never tried. With oddball offerings like Jerusalem artichoke tubers and stinging nettle leaves mixed in amongst the carrots, lettuce and potatoes, the deliveries did not disappoint.

I texted my co-workers from my first stop. “Please help yourselves to all of the vegetables in my CSA bag in the office fridge. If you don’t use it, it’ll go to waste, and I’ll hate myself forever!”

My people are the best. They stepped up in my time of need, pulled the bag out onto the conference room table and divided things up in an equitable fashion. A few of the more exotic items, however, seemed to defy identification and were remanded to the office compost barrel. In the conservation profession, that’s actually a bit of an honor, rather than a slight. Garbage goes to the trash can, but “good stuff” like John’s unidentifiable leafy plant stems go to the composter to feed the bugs and create soil.

A pair of my colleagues broke down the mystery sprigs, tearing the plants into small pieces as they added them to the compost barrel. Within moments both experienced the same burning, numbing sensation sought by the armies of Julius Caesar as troops flailed themselves with branches of the stinging nettle to counter the cold of the British Isles in the earliest years of the first millennium.

Rob and Kathy, however, had no such motive. There were no worlds to conquer here. They were merely looking to help out a friend. Thankfully, a quick and thorough wash with soap and water cured the nettled curse and left my newest office family with a lesson learned long ago by others: Be mindful of what Lorson brings to eat; you may be wading into murky waters.

Kristin and John Lorson would love to hear from you. Write Drawing Laughter, P.O. Box 170, Fredericksburg, OH 44627, or email John at jlorson@alonovus.com.