Saturday, July 2, 2011

dill world

One time at a family function, in some B.S. midwestern place where dill is not as highly esteemed as it should be (to me, the hallmark of vacuousness), I turned to my prude mother and said, "Hey mom, what kind of dough do they use to make the dill bread?"  My mom's not too quick to scoop up a joke, but she does know when her son is ready to spring a curveball on mixed company.  "I don't know, Jono,...what kind of dough do they use?"  "Dill dough, ma, they use dill dough."  My dad was quick to respond with another, somewhat off-color joke about an Italian brand of tires: what sound do Pirelli tires make when they go flat?  Dey go whop whop whop.  My family is sporting and socially a little rough around the edges, something that I love almost as much as I love dill weed.  There's a world of dill out there, and I am its champion.

Good on fish, amazing in potato salad, outstanding in tzatziki sauce, the Martin Luther King of herbs on soft-boiled eggs, and the Allah of the pickle crock, dill is the bomb.  Beautiful to look at, fragrant and feathery, dill is the common garden herb I want to become when I die.  I want the amazing transformative machines of the human-to-herb after-life conversion kit to turn me, not into basil or some other schmucky herb like tarragon or the too popular rosemary, but into a towering bliss pole of mammoth dill that has seeded itself over-abundantly in someone's front garden, thus earning the moniker "dill weed."  You can try to convince me that chervil would be a better bet, but you can also sleepwalk in heavy traffic.  Dill is the way to heaven.  

This crazy dill plant has not completely unfurled its umbel.  In the world of botany, botanists classify the flowering configurations of plants and give them names.  Dill's configuration is the umbel.  Why?  Because it looks, when fully unfurled, like an umbrella.  Profligate too, the dill plant produces a bunch o' umbels, the first of which is generally the biggest.  The spokes radiate out from the base of this compound flower in perfect, turgid symmetry and form a yellow vegetable firework display; and sometimes, on the Fourth of July, when I gaze upon the night sky, spangled with Chinese explosives, I wish in my deepest heart that the fragrance that sprinkles down from those busted and burnt out shells would not be sulphur but dill.  If herbalists and vegetarians ruled the world, we would celebrate our independence from tyranny but sending ultra-mammoth dill umbels into the dark ether and watch them explode with bright herbal grandeur.  I would be more likely to vote if this were the case.  

Another umbel, Queen Anne's Lace is not a culinary herb unless you are a wild plant forager, but it is still totally fantastic to look at.  All you gardeners out there: cultivate an eye for weeds and wild plants, and let them grow in your garden, beside your tomatoes and your beans.  Without this dialogue between cultivated garden plants and wild plants, it's too easy to forget (and under-appreciate) how close we all are to being wild ourselves.  Get out of your S.U.V. and eat some dill.  Heck, why not even make and bake some good old dill dough.  Peace!  


GB said...

Rough around the edges? Certainly if you're used to an elitist, xenophobic crowd.

I love dill, though. (Say with a south side accent).

Your sister

Seth Landman said...

It's the Beethoven of smells.