Below, one of three figs ripening on my little tree in its pot. I had at least 12 others (fruit not trees), which fell off when they were still little, and I was bereft. There went my crop. I had watered too little. Or too much. I was a bad fig mother. I knew nothing (this may still be true).
As the new, green wood-growth increased, however, I started to notice little pinpricks in the leaf nodes, just above each leaf. Hm. Then I read a story in the NYTimes about a fig, and about how that fig loses its entire first crop when they are little (the crop are little? ...when it is little, just sounds terrible.). Hm. And then the second crop starts about June-time. Hm. I re-inspected the pinpricks in the late sunlight. They were bigger.
I adore figs. Whenever I see them on a menu, as part of a dessert, I beg for a small plateful, un-messed with. I dislike, intensely, cooked figs*, and even dried figs. I despise fig Newtons. I hate fig jam. But a fresh fig? Is where life can begin and end.
*An exception. Figs stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in prosciutto before being grilled. 'inoteca, circa late summer 2007. Outside table. Three friends.
When Vince and I stayed at Dennehof in Prince Albert, South Africa's fig capital (small hot town at the foot of the Swartberg) in February, breakfast began with an oversized white plate, in the centre of which was poised a peeled fig, just off the tree, comforted by slices of prickly pear and cubes of mango. It was simple and gorgeous. The stunning-looking omelettes that followed tasted like baked cardboard. No seasoning, too-hot pan. But I digress.
Now there's my memoir...