Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gingko blues

Do not ever follow any advice I give for eating anything. If something has an acetyl group in it, I'll try it. 
Some folks' skin reacts to the pulp, too. This is the Science Teacher blog, not Fine Foods.

My favorite tree on the Bloomfield Green was cut down a couple of days ago, mostly for the crime of doing what its family has done for a quarter billion years: stink.

The tree was about as old as me, had its first offspring about the same time as I did. I pray the coincidences end with its death.

The gingko is infamous for its stinky fruit--some call it the "vomit tree"--but I loved my tree, walked by it several hundred times a year, and I'm going to miss it.

While the fruit do stink--imagine a dog vomiting into your son's gym socks sometime mid-June--the wood's subtle piney jasmine scent rivals my stash of ambergris for my favorite nose candy. I brought a wedge back into B362. One of my lambs also loved the smell--she took the wedge home with her.

I'm hoping the nuts are at least half as good.

I've read several different ways to prepare them, but I think I'm just going to roast them until they look roasted enough, then pop one or two or more into my mouth. I'll let you know how it goes.

What does this have to do with teaching science?

Most of my lambs have no idea where food comes from. A few watched me as I picked up a few fruits off the ground. I told them I planned to eat them, and I do.

An ancient tree planted decades ago in my town, likely by someone now dead, has been fallen by a cultural intolerance of, well, smell. Before the tree passes from my memory, I want to know what she tastes like.

The aroma of my fallen gingko reminded me of the vast unknown pleasures that await the curious. I want my students to chase the pleasures nature offers each of us, for barely the cost of paying attention, even here in an urban district, long tamed by concrete and asphalt.

The world is bigger than we can dream. It's not enough for me to say it, no child should accept the word of a teacher because he is a teacher. The gingko can speak for itself.

To be fair, the tree was not completely healthy. Then again, neither is anything else our age.

Photo from "Wildman" Steve Brill's site, a site well worth the visit.


Jenny said...

Now you tell me not to follow advice you give for eating anything? That's a bit late. Sheesh.

Jeffrey Michals-Brown said...

Okay, I'll bite (or maybe not?): what the acetyl group about?

doyle said...

Dear Jenny,

That was my brother and niece who gave you advice, and everything at Samuel Beckett's Irish Gastro Pub is wonderful.

If you're ever following me as I gnosh on the local, live organisms, well, caution is advised.

Dear Jeffrey,

I was just going for something simple,organic,and ubiquitous; it may have been a swing and a miss.

Jeffrey Michals-Brown said...

Hah! And I thought you were being surpassingly clever! Actually, "organic" gives the right sense--to me, at least, since I never approved the mushification of a perfectly lucid word.