Beginningless Summer

More torrential rain, and then more still- it’s beyond the bad joke stage, and into full-blown misery here in parts of the Northeast. Micro sent me this link to an article in the Globe about the CSA where he works every week for his share of the bounty; they lost their entire tomato crop to the early blight (same fungus that caused the potato famine). Chris just pulled up all their Roma tomatoes and burned them. We haven’t gotten the blight yet- fingers crossed, because the tomato bed is my pride this year- but it’ll be a miracle if the peppers and eggplants ripen before the first frost. Seriously- we got 6 inches of rain on Friday, with crazy wind, bringing trees and branches down all over town. Saturday was beautiful, and then it poured all day yesterday. This evening the weaterman cheerfully informed us that “lows later in the week could get down into the 40′s- it’ll feel more like September in parts of the region.” Fucker. I hope his lawn dies.

I bought some beautiful chanterelles yesterday at a place that carries wild mushrooms, and a fat yellow and red heirloom tomato because we only have the cherries at this point. Since bacon is very much in the house, it seemed logical to sautée the mushrooms with the bacon or a pizza topping. There was chicken meat that I had pulled off of the carcases post-stock making, and a tour of the garden yielded basil, red kale, parsley, and radicchio thinnings to make a pesto. There was even fresh mozzarella AND goat cheese in the fridge. Sounds perfect, right? The second half of the bread dough had been languishing unbaked for so long that I figured it was fit only for pizza dough, so the pieces of my evil plan were all falling into place.

Mwahahahahaha. (Cue Bach’s toccata and fugue in D minor.)

And yet I laughed deeply, resonantly, and in a vintage horror-movie fashion TOO SOON, for the dough was so over the hill that it was in fact fit only for crackers, or perhaps throwing at a nearby meteorologist. All the yeasties had cacked, leaving a stinky puddle of water on top of an utterly flaccid dough. I poured off the water, and kneaded some flour into the awful mess to try to enliven it- leaving it in a bowl for an hour in the hopes that someone would wake up and metabolize all the fresh new carbs- but to no avail. So I rolled them out and topped them and baked them and we ate them and they would in fact have made pretty good crackers if I had only left all of the yuppie bullshit off of them and just let them be crackers. But no. So now they’re soggy and won’t even make for a decent cold pizza breakfast.

On top of all this beatific, carefree summer fun, I have a case of poison ivy on my arms that belongs in a medical textbook. What happened was I got scratched up on day 1 of the deer fencing (on account of the ubiquitous wild brambly roses) so on day 2 all the poison ivy oil had lots of access to the inside of my skin. Normally I scrub it all off and there’s no problem, but normally my arms aren’t perforated all to shit. So a couple days later, it’s like tiny Krakatoas erupting all over, tracing the scratch lines up and down my forearms.

So, to reiterate: tomato famine, incessant rain, cold, and an epic case of agonizing, weeping, itchy sores. No wonder Annette Funicello won’t return my calls.

7 comments to Beginningless Summer

  • Zoomie

    Auwe, you poor thing! Honestly, what a sad catalogue of trials. You must be feeling like Job just about now. I hope the weather brightens, the crops take a miraculous turn for the best and that rotten poison ivy yields to good old fashioned calamine lotion.

  • Heather

    Hey, at least you're getting a jump on the mushroom season! Ours won't be on for another 3 or 4 months. There's your open window, right there.

  • Brooke

    You know, for a soggy, sad excuse for pizza, it still looks like it might taste okay in the picture. You could have lied to us all and said it was a delicious thin crust. But you didn't.

    It sounds like you got our summer and we got yours. Neener neener.

  • Jen of A2eatwrite

    We have the opposite here in MI – our tomatoes are doing fabulously, but our local mushroom grower has run into all sorts of fungus (not the good kind) and other issues with their "crops".

  • Brooklynguy

    Sounds like you should ask the wife to cook for you, or perhaps even order takeout, and dig into the cellar for a particularly satisfying bottle. something you wouldn't normally open.

    also sounds like you need a little calomine.

  • peter

    Zoomie: I'm way past calamine.

    Blanche: That much is true. I have a jar of dried black trumpets and an angle on some chanterelles that say you're absolutely right.

    Brooke: You can have it back now.

    Jen: I'm hoping that we get to see ours ripen. So far, so good.

    Neil: Hey, welcome back. I should do all those things, but we've had her family in town so I've been on duty. She and the boy are out of town for a couple of days, so tomorrow I may just open that special something (as long as it won't react to the steroids I'm taking).

  • racheleats

    just imagine how shit things would be if you didn't make and eat the most sublime food accompanied by such divine wines Nearly all of the time.

    It's all heat wave, subsequent rash and mosquitos here which is not much fun for a pink english person.

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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