“My area of expertise is in mosses,” says Dr. Meade Fratello, “I observe and classify bryophytes, which includes liverwort and hornwort, respectively.”
Having heard these words for the first time ever, you could knock this author over with a feather at the surprise that such things exist in the first place.
As a child, she would spend the summers in upstate New York with her grandfather in an old Sears-Roebuck house not far from the Hudson River.
“The screen porch looked in the direction of the Hudson but you couldn’t see it exactly,” she reminisces, “You knew where it was because the gentle roll of hills and mountains on the other side were of another color.”
Her grandfather would spend hours upon hours weeding the moss garden. Not a religious man, it was the closest thing to prayer that he knew.
“No one could understand the uninterrupted focus he brought to this task,” Dr. Fratello remembers with a quiet awe, “He had a tiny gardening stool he would sit on and a transistor radio he moved around the garden. He was taming the forest, really.”
As a result, the moss grew beautifully.
The young Meade would follow him around the garden, looking at bugs and birds, with a field guide handy to identify the occasional rare sighting.
“I enjoyed ordering the world in this way so in college I shopped around the ‘ologies’ - dactylology, mycology, orismology, those kinds of things,” she says, “When I found bryology, all the pieces seem to fit together perfectly.”
Not only is Dr. Fratello’s occupation an homage to her grandfather, so is this recipe, one that they would eat together all those summers ago.
Caraway Seed Noodles
Noodles: 1 package, 8 ounces
Caraway Seeds: 2 tablespoons
Butter or Margarine: 2 tablespoons
Salt: 1 teaspoon
Ground Black Pepper: ¼ teaspoon
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain thoroughly. Heat caraway seeds with butter or margarine and add to noodles. Add salt and pepper. Toss lightly. Serve hot or cold with roast beef, corned beef, ham, pork or sauerbraten. Serves 6.
Idea: substitute sesame for caraway.