Greens for Breakfast


As far back as I can remember, my father had a vegetable garden. One of my early memories is helping him water his garden with a coffee can and a bucket. He loved his garden. When he came home from work he would look at the garden before he came into the house. My dad was a seed saver, he would store next year’s seeds in glass jars in an old lunch box, the kind the thermos jug fits into the lid. We still have his lunch box. He did not label anything, he knew which seeds were which. One of our heritage seeds is the Cucuzza. The Cucuzza plant is a Sicilian gourd, its seeds were not easy to find in midwestern US before the internet, either you had seeds or your neighbor shared with you. The Cucuzza also needs a structure to cling to as it grows. Over the years, my dad made a trellis with lumber and plastic plumbing pipe so he could put it up and take it down and reuse each year. That was my dad, always thinking.

My dad is gone now. For a while we could not find Cucuzza seeds. I bought some in Italy last year, but did not have a worthy seed-saving Cucuzza. My cousin Frank found some on the internet and we are now back in the Cucuzza growing world. Cucuzza is used in several recipes. I hope to share them later.

This summer we have been eating Cucuzza greens for breakfast, we call them Tinnirumi in Sicilian. The tender tips of the Cucuzza plant. Tinnirumi grow fast and we have enough for our family on a weekly basis. Saturday is Tinnirumi day, we pick fresh from the garden and enjoy with a poached egg and toast.

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