Valley Bounty: Leeks

In a philosophical work called Problems, Aristotle asks the odd-seeming question, “Why do leeks contribute to the loudness of the voice (for we find that this is so even with partridges)?” Aristotle seems to have drawn the conclusion that, because partridges are loud and apparently eat a lot of leeks, the leeks must be the cause of the loudness, and that that effect on the voice should work in humans as well. This appears to have been convincing to the famously-tyrannical Roman Emperor Nero, who reportedly ate leeks nearly every day to help strengthen his voice.

Look, I can’t vouch for Aristotle on this one. I got some leeks at the winter farmers’ market earlier this month, and none of my friends or coworkers told me I was especially loud after I ate them. I can, however, confirm that they were delicious. All I did was toss them in a little salt and olive oil and roast them in the oven at 400°F for around 45 minutes—that may seem like too long, but giving the leeks plenty of time to soak up the heat deliciously caramelizes the plant’s natural starches. The resulting veggies are sweet, savory, and salty all at the same time, and are a perfect side dish for a chilly evening.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)