Monday, September 17, 2007

the grape soda factory expoded

The grape soda factory exploded recently. When I take Biscuit for a walk we pass a spot where I begin to notice it: the pervasive scent of grape soda. That's grape as in Concord grape, as in fox grape. Depending on the weather, the temperature, the time of day or night, the scent can have a sweet edge or a musky edge. I often wonder how many people know what it is. There are no grapes growing in the area, certainly not enough to scent hundreds of square yards.

Where is it coming from? It's coming from the surviving kudzu which grows high up into the trees which grow on a formerly abandoned lot now converted into parkland. Years ago, the kudzu sprawled over the area covering acres of space. When the area was cleaned up and opened as a park, there was an outcry to get rid of the kudzu. Much of the kudzu was removed, then the embankments over which it previously sprawled began to erode as many cubic yards of earth washed out during storms. Once the kudzu was gone, the mile-a-minute vines moved in and successfully occupied virtually every square foot formerly covered in kudzu. How's that for out of the frying pan and into the fire?

Few people are probably old enough to remember when kudzu was grown as an ornamental. One sometimes still sees it shading country porches. Since it's fully capable of completely covering any house, one wonders how much time is spent keeping it under control.

I'm tempted to host a gathering for some of my gardening friends at which I'll serve foods made with some of the less usual products of plants we grow. What will I be able to make with kudzu flour? If I decide to keep to a Japanese theme, there will also be something made with konjac, maybe something made with gobo.

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