Over the last few months, I’ve intentionally not paid much attention to the news. Or maybe I should say, I’m very deliberate about the news and the sources I seek out. But sometimes events happen and they demand our attention. They come in with all the pain and confusion and helplessness attached.
There’s been a lot of that this summer.
Events that feel so big, so full of hurt and hate, that it’s hard to know how we should respond. How can we make a difference or help in the face of such anguish and pain?
Maybe it’s with the smallest actions that we are able to bring light to the dark world. Maybe it starts with simple things. Teaching our kids about people in the past who made a difference with their own quiet actions. Gathering our family and friends around the table together. Sharing a meal and a conversation may seem too small to matter, but I don’t think it is.
This salad is inspired by George Washington Carver. Carver devoted his life to doing what he knew and loved best – growing plants. That may seem a little too simple to make a difference, but the results of his life are dramatic.
I love the way Andy Andrews weaves George Washington Carver’s story in with several others to show us how the butterfly effect works. Go watch that video now. I’ll wait for you and I promise that it’s worth your time.
In 1942, George W. Carver wrote a short pamphlet titled, “Nature’s Garden for Victory and Peace”. In it he outlines all kinds of things that can be grown in a small garden that will help feed a family. My salad is based on a few of the things he mentions, but I’ve updated it for modern tastes and to account for buying the ingredients in a grocery. I’m a terrible gardener.
I also flipped the name from his original “Victory and Peace” to “Peace and Victory”. In our world today it feels like peace is the victory we need.
The recipe for the salad is below. If you make it, talk with your family about Carver and his work with peanuts, sweet potatoes and victory gardens. Talk about how his small actions made such a huge impact in the world. Talk about Moses Carver and his brave action to rescue and raise the infant G.W. Carver.
Talk about Susan Carver, whose friendship with Mary overcame all kinds of things in that hate-filled world they lived in and how the seeds of that friendship between women eventually led to two million people being saved.
Whether you make this salad or not, do whatever it is you do best. I share recipes. You may help people with banking or teach kids in school or take care of sick people or…
And know that whatever you do, however small it may seem, it is making a difference for good in the world.
Keep flapping your butterfly wings! Gather your family around the table and show them that they have butterfly wings to flap too. If we all flap our wings enough, we’ll bring good into this hard world.
Serves: 4-6 servings
- 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 6 cups baby spinach or turnip greens
- ¼ cup peanuts
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbs. honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook sweet potatoes in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add diced onion and garlic to the skillet. Continue cooking about 5 more minutes until sweet potatoes are tender and browned.
- Make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid. Shake well.
- To serve salad, top spinach with sweet potatoes, peanuts and blue cheese. Drizzle with dressing.