July rhapsody

Thank goodness for Wil Wheaton, for this blog entry of his just got my writing spark back up and firing. It’s a super-long entry, but I read the whole thing, and it made me want to write again just by reminding me what the writing process is really like. It’s not about spending too much time in front of the computer, or opening up Word and churning something out; it’s about putting something down in words, and ignoring the fact that it’s crappy because you’re going to fix it, and fix it, and fix it again until what’s there on the page or the screen says the same thing – or as close to it as you can get – as what’s in your head. Thank you, Wil.

As I explained in an entry earlier this week, there are a lot of things I want to write about that I didn’t get to at the time, including a bunch of small things that will probably end up meriting about a half-paragraph’s mention each. I’ll save those for next time. For now, let’s just talk about food!

Begin rhapsody
Wintertime has always been one of my favorite seasons for eating. The chilly weather, combined with all the food-and-family-centered holidays, just gravitates me toward hearty, rich, warming foods and all kinds of decadent sweet treats. One of my fondest memories from high school doesn’t concern school itself, just a little ritual I made for myself: long, hot, headily-scented once-a-week baths, in which I would read James Herriot (think ham and egg pie, and Yorkshire puddings) for as much as an hour at a time, until the water cooled and my skin wrinkled. Cold-weather food is just so comforting, I had to read about it as well, I couldn’t tear myself away from it even when I wasn’t eating.

But summertime eating is a whole different pleasure entirely, and one that never really came to my attention until my last couple of years of high school. (Before that, summertime food just basically meant grilling, and while barbecue is good and all, you can have meat anytime.) My parents (if I recall correctly) started frequenting the local farmers’ market around this time, and it was then that I realized the association between the season and the wonderful foods I love so much: the taste of sweet, drippy ripe peaches, the spicy scent of fresh basil, the dark plump sheen of Bing cherries. Summertime produce, especially the fruits, are so fleeting – for a brief period of weeks the markets are filled to bursting with crates and crates of juicy glimpses of heaven, plentiful enough for pies, tarts, jams, and smoothies, not to mention just eating out of hand – and then suddenly there are only a few instances of each fruit remaining in the market, and even these are no longer worth buying. In a fit of hope you bite into one of these stragglers, but once you taste it you know that something’s gone from its flavor; the season’s waning.

This year, thanks to the quarter system and a schedule that prohibited me from going to either one of my usual local markets, I forgot and missed the start of the summer bounty. Every spring for months I look forward to my first white peach of summer, but somehow, this year, it just slipped my mind. So, when I finally made it back to a farmers’ market late in June, it was with a combination of shock, disappointment, and total joy that I realized there were now strawberries, nectarines, cherries, and peaches aplenty, and tomatoes and summer squashes too, and I had been missing out on all this wonderfulness for weeks! Well, I’ve since made up for lost time by buying, cooking, and eating as much fresh produce as I can.

And I’ve just been loving it. I’m feeling so well fed these days, even though I’m actually eating less, since summer doesn’t inspire in me the devoted foraging and munching that cold winter days do. A lovely couple of pieces of fruit is satisfaction enough for dessert, most days, and what that doesn’t fulfill, a cool pudding can. So I’m feeling just so beautifully fed these days, so filled with good things.

Return to earth
Um. This was going to be an entry about two eating experiences I had lately, but I guess all of this warm-weather rapturizing had to come out first. Next time: gourmet ghetto and ghetto gourmet stories!

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]