Wednesday, May 18, 2005

produce

the noun, not the verb.

i remember, age 15, sitting at my friend k.'s kitchen table. she asked if i was hungry for a snack. when i told her i was, she produced a huge gorgeous summer tomato, cut it into thick slices, sprinkled it with salt and pepper and a dash of balsamic vinegar (not such a staple in 1990 as it is now), and put it on the table. this was for me a revelation. that tomato was my madeleine of sorts, for it triggered in me a realization that there was simple exquisite joy to be found in food, that each meal (even a casual kitchen snack) could be special.

that summer, during a week at my parents' house upstate, i focused on produce. this was probably much to the delight of my father i imagine, who himself was obsessed with produce. because he was dad though, he didn't obsess, didn't talk about it, didn't write about it--just purchased it in large quantities, and sliced it up for his kids and wife to eat.

today i hit the small farmer's market across from my office and practically wept at the sight of bundles of asparagus. there are now two at my feet under my desk, begging to be steamed/roasted/whatever. they are thick stalks, which is not the "desirable" thing--thinner is fancier. i myself love the thick stalk: white, pale green, darker green, flecks of purple, as you travel up the stalk. if i were an artist, i'd paint them. since i'm me, i'll eat them.

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