I have not gardened all my life.
I point this out because I just emerged from several lectures by gardeners who all wanted the audience to known that they had gardened all their lives. Gardening lectures and books are full of heart warming stories about gardening with gramps and diggin' fer worms, about earliest memories of harvesting the peas planted with their own grubby, chubby little fingers at the age of 4.
I don't know why garden speakers seem to feel that this is somehow a credential, I mean, I've been banging on things since I was 3, that doesn't make me a drummer. What if lawyers had to have this credential--"I've been trying criminals all my life. Why, I remember researching precedents at granddaddy's firm when I could barely walk."
I find it off-putting. While I understand that the impulse comes from a good place in the heart-- the lifelong love of gardening-- it seems superfluous. Does it really matter that you've always been a gardener? Perhaps it's because everyone really can learn to do this-- since in the not-too-distance past everyone did do this, and in fact everyone learned it from gramps--the largely self-taught experts want to establish their bona fides. The statement of an expert: "I've been doing this my whole life" suggests that if you have not been doing this your whole life, you cannot possibly aspire to the depth of knowledge, not to mention the degree of cool, that the speaker evinces.
I have not been gardening all my life. My mother was not a gardener. My grandmother was not a gardener. I come from a long line of non-gardeners. I taught myself to garden as an adult. I also went to college as an adult. I learned to drive as an adult (well, if you count 16 as adult). I never had sex until I was an adult. I never had a job until I was an adult. I learned to skate as an adult. I learned Spanish as an adult.
You don't have to have gardened as a child to be a gardener. You don't have to come from a family of gardeners. Your mother needn't be a gardener and grampa doesn't have to own a farm. You can always learn something new, about gardening, or cooking, or anything that interests you. Today, for instance, I learned to make lemon curd from a book. Sorry, grandma, missed that lesson.
Of course, I'm just as guilty of the pointless stories about how I started to garden. I love to tell people how I started, what the first thing was that I grew, how the garden expanded over the years.
But I don't mistake childhood memory for expertise, or nostalgia for knowledge.
Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c white sugar
1/3c lemon juice
zest from 2 lemons
3 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
Whisk dry ingredients together, In another bowl cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in juice and zest. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (over mixing will make this dough tough). Cover and chill until dough is firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll into balls using about a tablespoon of dough for each. Place on cookie sheet. Make indent with thumb in center of each cookie and fill with lemon curd. (Yes, I'm going to make you make your own. It's easy.)
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or till edges are just turning a light golden brown.
4 hours ago