Sunday, June 8, 2008

Day one hundred and sixty ... Thank you berry much.

Man, oh man.

Where do I begin?

Should I mention how it's unbelievably hot and humid here, yet I still decided to cook at home, therefore requiring a trip to the local asparagus dealer?

Would it matter if I told you that my aunt had given me some beautiful, dark-orange, local salmon, which I was excitedly looking forward to broiling?

Would you even care if I relayed how my all time favorite guitarist, Richard Thompson, was on Prairie Home Companion today, to play with Bonnie Raitt, and that they did "The Dimming of the Day" from his 1975 album, Pour Down Like Silver and it almost brought me to tears?

You might care about any one of those things, inconsequential as they may be.

But, I had to mention all of that stuff because, from the minute I woke up today, everything that happened, as I look back in retrospect, was preparing me for what awaited me at the asparagus dealer, with Prairie Home on the radio, and salmon in my fridge.

Maybe I should just use a picture to explain myself?

                                                                           Ohhhhh, Baby!

Just look at these unbelievable beauties. So shiny and plump--practically vibrating with freshness and flavor. 

They are a top-of-the-line, local, room temperature, sweet-at-first-bite with a sour pinch-on-the-ass collection of nature's candy.  And they just scream summertime.

Not to mention that the 95 degrees that my Pioneer Valley has been taken hostage by is the perfect setting for a treat such as this.

 They're like the second child in Mother Nature's family, the one that's a bit easier to handle after asparagus' highly anticipated grand entrance.

We've gotten the hang of things with the asparagus and all of its idiosyncrasies: the occasional sandiness from the method of farming; the higher price due to our dependence on oil; and the special care in maintenance by having to keep their stalks in water.

Compared to asparagus, this bundle of joy is easy.

You can rinse them off if you want to, but it's not imperative. These babies ain't seen a drop of chemicals.

You don't need to keep them in the fridge. In fact, it's frowned upon. Just leave them be on the kitchen table, and go about your business. When you want one, just grab one ... or five.

And, you certainly don't have to cook them, unless you're making a pie. Just grab one by the scruff of the neck, brush back the green tufts on top, open up your kisser, and bite off a hunk.

They even smell better, too.

Such an emulated flavor and scent, strawberry.

Everything from shampoo, to air freshener, to ice cream, to energy drink, to cough drops, to cough medicine, to dish soap, to biscuits, tea, and jelly, the strawberry is everywhere.

But none of the myriad mutations and reproductions come close to the real deal. 

There is no comparison.

I stay away from the horrible year-round batches from California, with their rigid, aggressive mouthfeel, seeming almost as if they require cooking before they are ready for consumption. Their flavor tastes like a cheap imitation, hastily assembled in a foreign land to be sold to unsuspecting rubes.

I can do without them for most of the year in anticipation for what I rejoiced over today ...

... they just seem happier.

They all came up together, in the same class, fed a healthy diet, picked by a local worker on a family farm, probably at a slower pace, with more care, under cleaner conditions, and with a more utopian agenda than the waxy clones that are always on sale at Stop and Shop.

They know they are special. 

These precious, well bred specimens reveal their beauty and finesse like no other, with a taut yet tender skin, giving way to a juicy interior just a few degrees warmer than the outside air--their bright red flesh surprising us with a sweet nectar that dribbles down our chin and onto our fresh white t-shirt which never had a chance. 

Yes, it's been another one of those fantastic days for me. Another day I can welcomely let run me over with all its unpredictability and excitement. Another day I can lay claim to with a clear head, heart, conscience, and soul. Another day I can look back on with quiet awe and wonderment, baffled at how I used to get through 24 hours each day while continually blanketing such simple, beautiful surprises as these with anything and everything.

Another day ... and that's enough for me.

And while strawberries don't necessarily go with salmon and asparagus, they sure do take the place of candy and ice cream nicely.

Those kind of items are off limits right now.

Tomorrow I'll meet with my trainer again.

I've got a good feeling about things ...

... very good.

Thanks for reading,


1 comment:

Running Hard Out Of Muskrat Flats said...

Unsuspecting rubes ... nice observation. I feel the same way about the shiny red Norman Rockwell perfect tomatoes we see in February.