For your gustatory pleasure, please enjoy these step-by-step instructions to your very own vernal equinox feast.
Descend stairs to basement. Trip over tub of miscellaneous “winter squash.” Drag tub upstairs to kitchen. Go back down and trip over tub of vacuum packed kale chips. Note lack of vacuum seal on packages as well as raggedy plastic edges with tiny teeth marks. Find dead mouse in bottom of tub. Dump contents of tub in garbage bin with silent prayer of apology to Mother Earth.
Peruse winter squash. Reject the three butternuts (rotten), two carnivals (petrified), four delicatas (mouse-eaten), and one spaghetti (worm-infested). Open front door. Shield eyes from flaming orb in the sky. Examine Halloween pumpkin still sitting on front stoop. Note intact sticker on remnants of pumpkin: “Product of Honduras.”
Smother shame in a surreptitious Snickers bar smuggled from SuperAmerica. Toss pumpkin into compost bin, sticker and all.
Head back downstairs to evaluate meat situation. Open chest freezer. Dig under kale casserole, zucchini fritters, kale soup, zucchini bread, kale goulash, and zucchini parmesan. Shudder. Vow to plant more tomatoes. Excavate the anticipated location of remaining pork tenderloin (from a grass-fed, organic, lovingly massaged, ethically-slaughtered local piggy). Find more kale. Curse the unexpected relatives who snarfed down the pork tenderloin over the holidays.
Wander over the neighbors’. Politely inquire whether they’d be willing to part with one of their non-laying geriatric chickens. Retreat back to own property, nursing a bloody nose. Ice nasal bridge with two zucchini fritters.
Open cupboard of home-canned goods: pickled zucchini, oven-roasted sun-dried zucchini, pickled kale, fermented zucchini. Find last remaining jar of red peppers. Note convex appearance of lid and green hue to the liquid. Abandon the search for vegetables.
Notice the preponderance of fat squirrels nibbling all the bark off backyard fruit-bearing shrubbery. Curse the genus Sciuridae. Study the protuberant bellies of the vile rodents as they methodically destroy all hope of a currant/raspberry/elderberry/blackberry crop.
Forage in front yard. Find hidden stash of oak leaves and acorns. Steep leaves in boiling water. Smash acorns with hammer. Curse soapstone countertops. Drop acorn meat into leaf broth. Simmer for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile (the least useful word in any recipe), borrow son’s nerf gun. Stalk backyard squirrels. Repeatedly miss. Make mental note to take up archery. Cruise neighborhood looking for fresh roadkill. Experience reality check and lay down all weapons. Make a charitable contribution to offset deleterious environmental effects of roadkill roadtrip.
Return to kitchen. Strain the oak leaf broth into another pan. Discard leaves. Mash broth with acorn meat. Sample. Salt and pepper to taste. Sample. Feed to dog. Google list of poisonous plants and trees. Freak out. Call vet. Administer oral hydrogen peroxide. Clean hydrogen peroxide off floor, stove, refrigerator, cupboards, shelves, self, and exterior of dog.
Wait. Administer more hydrogen peroxide. Repeat above cleaning steps. Wait. Clean dog vomit off floor, stove, refrigerator, cupboards, shelves, self, and exterior of dog.
Order takeout from the Birchwood Cafe.