Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October fruit and burrito stories

On the way back from the post office yesterday I passed the Borough Hall Farmers' Market - open on a Tuesday. I had thought it only functioned on Thursdays...and thanks to that we ate last night the first quinces of fall. I chose very small ones, which smelled as they ought to, of the sweetest apples and something else - a memory of something good and long ago.

I roasted them very simply after halving and coring them: some water, some sugar and six juniper berries so fresh that they were still soft and sweet. They reminded me of my astonishment when I nibbled a purple juniper berry off a Christmas wreath one year. I had never made the obvious association. And also of being woken up by Bevan in a bus traveling through high Turkish mountains in the moonlight to see snow outside, and little stunted juniper bushes, with the world white and smooth like a desert, except that it was the night time snow, under the moon.*

These grapes had been ravaged by passers by, and subsequently, by ravenous honey bees. To think how long it takes for a ripe grape to form on a vine that has come through winter like dead sticks, made leaves, made tendrils, made new stalks, made flowers, been pollinated, set fruit, ripened through a summer's drought and consecutive heatwaves, through an autumn deluge, picked by hand, packed, driven to market and set out, only to be picked off one by one by people who could not be bothered to buy...I understand the urge to pinch something for nothing, but not a grape grown by a farmer. 

Apples, apples, apples with labels. I wonder about apple-infused liquor...what kind would be best suited?

*The story about the junipers in the snow might qualify as a Burrito Story: this description was coined after I would always start to tell Vince, every time we passed the Mexican place on Congress and Bergen, about how good it always smells there, and what a very, very bad burrito I ate there, years ago, after being lured in by the smell of roasting meat. I must have told it on cue a dozen times before he pointed out that I had in fact told him a dozen times. So now, any oft-repeated yet favourite anecdote is called a Burrito Story. One can avoid these by starting off with, Is this a Burrito Story?...


  1. I love the concept of burrito stories, they are part of being human, but I love that you have named them.
    I would like to go to those snowy Turkish mountains and see the junipers and be cozy with tea and spice cake.

  2. A little off-topic from this post (although I do have burrito stories of my own, too), but I just saw that you're on the New York Times City Room blog roll. How cool is that!

  3. I have a friend who is making apple and rhubarb crumble & gorging on it daily. She gifted me some frozen rhubarb recently and I have considered doing the same...

    And, yes, very cool that you are on times city rm blog roll, YAY!

  4. The apples and quinces look very organic. If my orchards look like that, I immediately search for the culprit who forgot the insecticide sprays. :-) It is a pity, though. Wish the whole world's consumers didn't mind cutting around a little insect hole - maybe we would have less cancer and other illnesses. And allergies!

  5. Spice cake, Chesley, sounds good.

    Karen, yes, that happened a few weeks ago, not sure when exactly...I keep thinking it will disappear again :-)

    Mimi - thanks - rhubarb is pretty versatile, yet I don't cook often enough with it.

    Kari, ja, and I don't think they wre, as they weren't labeled as such. My quinces had no holes, though, and were delicious, not a worm in sight. I'd still prefer holes over pesticide, though :-)


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