Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I'm totally smitten with scapes. By which I don't mean landscapes or seascapes (although I do love those, too) but garlic scapes! That's what they call the tops of garlic plants--the last several inches of stem with the buds of would-be garlic flowers--available at farmers' markets this time of year.

Garlic scapes are sold as food, and they are edible (and tasty), but I buy them mostly as art. Because the stems do all kinds of crazy twists and turns and curlicues and loop-de-loops in those last several inches, a bunch of garlic scapes stuck in a vase is a playful bit (or shall I say, bite?) of edible sculpture.

I draw them over and over and over--sometimes focusing on the graceful curving lines, sometimes on the spaces in between, sometimes just on the joy they give me when viewing them. I find them endlessly fascinating.

I swear some mornings the scapes that I've left in a vase of water have grown an inch or two overnight! I really don't know if it's true (I keep forgetting to measure them in order to keep track), but it sure feels as if they get longer and taller.

If you keep them long enough, they may start to smell a bit too strong--not your ordinary floral bouquet kind of scent!--and the papery wrapping around the buds begins to open and there are new details to draw if you feel so inclined.

And when you feel like eating them, you can chop them into a stir fry or simply brush the whole things with olive oil and grill them. The stem when grilled takes on the consistency of asparagus with a very mild garlic flavor, and the buds get slightly crispy! Quite tasty!

Today's two photos are of two different bunches of garlic scapes in our house at the moment. Stay tuned for some sketchbook scape art coming up!

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