Where the Wild Things Grow: In the Garden with Mary Patout
"Here try this. No, you don't like it? Try this one." Mary Patout giggles and hands us another leaf to eat as we blindly weave our way through her garden one summer evening. We joined Mary and husband Roy for dinner, a couple bottles of wine, and much talk about sprouts and edible flowers. "Wait... what's that, there's something out there," we stupidly say as something scurries past us on the moonlit path. More giggling as she explains that it's just an armadillo or a raccoon or one of the many cats. You can never be quite sure of what to expect when you are with this almost five foot tall Japanese-Cajun woman who we like to refer to as The Sprout Lady. She keeps picking things, things that don't look edible, and somehow we trust her and eat them. It's a wild experience to be in Mary's world. She lives on the Bayou Teche in a picturesque little house that Roy pretty much built himself. Her kitchen is open and huge and full of chopsticks and bright bowls and every kind of condiment you can imagine. Step outside and you are suddenly in a huge jungle of beautiful and mysterious things. It truly is a secret garden. She pulls back a bunch of leaves and shows us turmeric. She brings us into her greenhouse and shows us trays upon trays of sprouts that are so perfect and green and curly, we are not even sure if they are real. Gorgeous, happy, vibrant flowers we have never in our lives seen before dot the entire yard. And now...we are eating them.
Mary is always excited. It's as if everything she says has an exclamation point at the end. She's excited about cooking, eating, and meeting new people. She's excited about growing new and challenging plants. And she's particularly excited about chefs. She loves the chefs that she provides for, and they love her back even more. Mary is their mascot, their cheerleader, their angel. There is something magical about Mary. Just go to the farmer's market at the Horse Farm and see for yourself. We can't let a week go by without her sprouted mung bean dressing. Everything she has is healing and beautiful and pure. But it's more than what she grows. We can't let a week go by without just seeing Mary. It's the affect she has on everything and everyone she touches. You feel her positive energy almost immediately. And you leave happier and healthier. It's the best Karma fix in town.
by Mary Patout
(Click the image for Mary's description)