1000 x 90

Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: The Garden “Argument” Continues

By Sherrie Norris

As we are in the midst of an interesting garden season, it seems that the rain and weeds have taken over many of our crops, but we still are able to enjoy some of life’s little pleasures that we have seen mature from seeds to full-grown produce. I love sharing a poem, of sorts, that I found years ago, and hope you will find a little humor, if not a simple life lesson in what is called “The Garden Argument.”

The tomato said with a face rosy red, “I’m the queen of the whole garden bed, so tart and delicious, most everyone wishes on my juicy meat to be fed.”

Said the onion so strong, “You couldn’t go wrong to partake of my elements rare, with such a sweet savor I give a rich flavor so all who might wish me may share.” Said the carrot so yellow, “I’m a popular fellow, at present I’m having my day! My elements mild are so good for a child, they make him rosy and gay.” The cabbage head from the same garden bed said, “I’m bursting to have my say: so crisp and so white, with flavor just right, I’m fit for a king any day.” The corn pricked his ears and said, “Listen my dears! I have heard every word you have said. For I am so tall, I look down on you all – I’m the king of the whole garden bed!” The celery said, “Look! Here comes the cook. We’ll let her wise judgment decide which one she may choose – the rest of us lose.”

“Fair enough! We agree!” They all cried. The cook came along with a smile and a song — the vegetables she viewed as a group. She cut and she sliced with her sharp paring knife, and they all went into the soup.

I laughed when I first saw the poem, written by Leona Duggan, and found in one of my many cookbooks. However, the more I pondered on it, the more I realized those vegetables are just like us humans. Anytime we get to thinking we’re more important than others, we need to stop and consider the soup. We’re all in this together. We each may have a little different “seasoning” or “aroma” to offer humanity, but none is more important than the other in the eyes of our creator. Good food for thought, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Pickling and preserving and casserole ideas for the season’s family reunions, are just a few of the things we’ll be sharing in the weeks ahead. Hope it helps.


Crisp and Easy Pickles

5 qt. sliced cucumbers

6 medium onions, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

1½ cup vinegar

1½ cup water

5 cups sugar

1½ tsp. turmeric

1½ tsp. celery seed

3 rounded tsp. salt

Combine cucumbers, onions, peppers and salt. Let stand for at least one hour. Combine sugar and water, vinegar and spices. Add to first mixture and bring to a boil. Put in jars and seal in hot water bath.


Easy Dill Pickles

(In memory of Eula Vines)

1 cup sugar

1 cup canning salt

2 qt. water

1 qt. vinegar


Dill weed


Sliced onion

Bring first four ingredients to a boil; remove from heat. Pack clean whole 2-4-inch cucumbers into quart jars with 1 garlic bud, 1 slice of onion and lots of homegrown dill (2-3 heads). Pour pickling juice over vegetables. Place lids on jars and put them in hot water bath for about 20 minutes. Make about five quarts.


Freezer Pickles

2 qt. cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 onions, sliced

2 Tbsp. alt

1 cup white vinegar

¾ cup sugar

Mix cucumbers and onions together and sprinkle with salt; mix well and let stand 2-3 hours. Rinse and drain well.

Mix vinegar and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Put cucumbers and onions in freezer containers or freezer bags and cover with the vinegar and sugar mixture.

Freeze three weeks before eating; the longer you let them set, the sweeter the pickles. Thaw in refrigerator or in cold water.