Late tomato season ranks among the most intense and fulfilling stretches of the gardening year, especially since those glorious fruits are accompanied in force by their nightshade cousins: peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, and husk cherries. I can never grow enough tomatoes to get us through a whole year—I’d have to dedicate half the garden to them—so I always order a bunch from my man Jay, the tomato whisperer, who first turned me on to blue beech tomatoes back in the day. They’re prolific, dense, meaty, and above all their seeds aren’t bitter. This last attribute may seem insignificant, but it’s a big part of why I love them so.
Corn, beans, and squash are the trinity of native American staple crops. The fact that they can be planted all together—beans climbing corn, squash crowding out weeds on the ground—only adds to their iconic appeal. This meal took shape around the happy presence of all three in the pantry, all in different states, and the result was quite satisfying.
For the December Chronogram I visited a class at Vassar College (where I almost went,…
Enough time has elapsed since the beginning of my beautiful friendship with the local raw milk source for me to finally show the evolution of one of my more impressively successful DIY endeavors: Camembert. It could have aged a bit longer to reach its peak, but we had a special guest on Friday night and I needed to break it out to complete the meal (with homemade bread, of course).
Our cat died Thursday night. It wasn’t sudden; he was fast approaching 19 years old. He had renal failure, which means that for the last couple of months, pursuant to sudden weight loss, we’d been giving him special food and subcutaneous fluids and extra helpings of affection. I met him when he was three, and within a matter of weeks he would greet me by rushing over to this one small area rug in Christine’s apartment and flopping down supine for some serious tummy rubbing. He was a big cat, and in his heyday could easily jump five feet in the air in pursuit of a laser pointer’s red dot. He loved to fight with me, getting all huffy and dilated with indignant cattitude at the temerity of my hand when it bopped him on the nose. He liked to eat raisins. And he was a total whore for the tummy love.
I had a pretty interesting meeting and interview today with the subject of my next article, and Jen (who was driving) kindly agreed to make a detour on the way home so we could pick up my fish order. It’s great that the fish is back, and we took excellent advantage of its return: wild salmon, scallops, and–most interestingly, because of a long hiatus–shrimp. We haven’t bought shrimp for a long time, because they’re mostly farmed in horribly destructive ways or wild-caught in horribly destructive ways. These, from Laughing Bird in Belize, are raised in inland ponds with filtered seawater and vegetarian feed. The company has received approval from the World Wildlife Fund.