catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 10, Num 16 :: 2011.09.16 — 2011.09.29


Divine coincidences

I am fortunate — by my terms, not my husband’s — to have a bookcase for a headboard, and it is invariably stacked with books: just-read ones I am not willing to part from quite yet, those to-be-read, and books I am currently reading. As an admitted Francophile, any book about living or cooking in France catches my eye, and, budget-willing, joins the stack.

Thus, a week or so ago I finished Mireille Guiliano’s book French Women Don’t Get Fat. One thing she said made such common sense that I hadn’t been able to get it out of my mind: “Seasonality, (eating the best at its peak) and seasoning (the art of choosing and combining flavors to complement food) are essentials to fight off the food-lovers’ worst enemy: not calories, but boredom.”

It was not a consciously planned thing, but the next book to enthrall me was Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. She picked up in the U.S. where Guilliano left off in France, only Kingsolver’s challenge was grow what you eat, eating out of your garden or locally for a year. All of this made me wonder if our catapult magazine editor had conspired to bring all these elements together — my reading and this issue.

Anyway, I live in a townhouse, and though I often buy locally at farm stands, I had forgotten the amazing delight of picking a Big Boy tomato fresh from the garden, devouring it on the spot with juice running down my arm. Even too many of those farm stand tomatoes tasted as though they had been bred for a long journey, not the short trek from the nearby farm to my house. By the time I got halfway through Kingsolver’s book, all sorts of memories flooded back: eating corn, not an hour from the garden, that was so sweet, even if you did have to cut off the top due to some black wiggly thing; new peas and new potatoes, in a little milk and butter, a feast my mother-in-law introduced me to, fresh from her garden; cucumbers spears, sprinkled with a little salt, or sliced into ice-cold vinegar water or Greek style in yogurt with dill, made with the kind of cucumbers that don’t leave wax on your hand or tongue. Heaven!

So, I went to the grocery story yesterday and asked if they had locally grown produce.  It turns out they did, and it came from a friend’s farm.  As I palmed the early apples, the juicy peaches, and little crooked cucumbers, I couldn’t help but wonder if this what it means to exercise dominion over the earth and subdue it — to wrestle with the soil and sun and rain until you win, and your table spills over with the very best at its best.

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