Thursday, July 14, 2011

July strawberries


Confession? Strawberries were never my favourite fruit. And yes, I am still spelling, on my blog, per my South African education. Hence favourite versus favorite. But it's becoming harder and harder to do, as I switch allegiances and write for more American publications. Is the "ou" threatened? Maybe. And let's not even talk about travelling versus traveling.

Strawberries. This may sound trite, but nothing has won me over to seasonal eating as much as this tiny terrace has. I eat (and buy!) strawberries when my strawberries are ripe. And until my tomatoes are ripe it seems premature to eat tomatoes. I have become, to a lenient extent, the locavore I mocked. Perverse as that sounds, as I have always preferred to eat what is in season, I hate fundamentalist labels, especially labels-come-lately (since I have gardened most of my life and to some extent eaten from it), and I feel that if I want to eat a damn tomato in May I will eat a damn tomato in May. I don't CARE where it comes from. But I'm changing. Despite supporting spring in California. Because that means cherries, now.

I need to buy red fruit soon, at the Borough Hall Farmers' Market. For the pure pleasure of seeing it stacked in a bowl: red currants, gooseberries and raspberries. Then covered with white lightning liquor, their mid summerness trapped forever.

I also want to drive across this country. Criss cross. I have never eaten across California,  seen Minnesota, been to Alabama. I want to shop at the markets, cook under the stars, cook in downpours in a tiny Airstream kitchen, feed strangers, and forage for new things in places I have never imagined. And places whose myth beggars experience.

What won me over (back to the strawberries) was their scent. I smell them, on the terrace, in the sun, in the evening, when I water. Red, warm strawberries.  Absolutely worry-free, not a chemical in sight. Ripe in their own time.
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