It turns out that if you leave them alone long enough, garden plants are happy to do their own thing. This week, Ari LeVaux explores the aesthetic, philosophical and biological joys of the bolted garden in “Going to seed.”
No, not snakes on a plane. Scapes on a train—or more specifically, garlic stalks stir-fried with pork and oyster sauce in the dining car of a Chinese train bound for Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. In this week’s Food Section, globetrotting food critic Ari LeVaux talks about the pulse-quickening moment he first encountered garlic flowers and stalks—collectively called scapes. Scapes are in season right now, and preparing them at home is inexpensive and easy. (Unlike some of the other international train rides Ari has taken.)
The first time I ate garlic flowers was for breakfast on a train from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The dining car didn't have a menu: You just sat down and they brought you food. A server delivered a plate of stir-fried chopped green things with pork and oyster sauce, along with a bowl of rice. It was years before that I realized that the pencil-thick green things were pieces of garlic flowers and flower stalks, collectively known as scapes.
Across the Midwest, New England and Canada, high-temperature records are being broken by the thousands—3,125 between March 12 and 18 alone. Meteorologists are scrambling to find anything comparable to weather that has been dubbed “summer in March.” Two days before the official end of winter, temperatures of 94° were recorded in South Dakota.