Words evoke just as much longing-- descriptions of out-of-season fruit draped in light glaze; well-crafted recipes telling a story beyond construction of the dish; a blog poking at the sore spots and asks you to ask yourself some questions.
Words like this evoke a longing for summer, and cherries nearly busting their own skins; a seat at the table where that recipe-dinner was first served; answers to the queries kicking around in your head.Think of cupcakes at a picnic on a day so hot the frosting shimmies off like a stripper shucking a thong. The only solution is to eat faster, let the frosting land where it may, and tidy your fingers and sugary lips with a half-moon of watermelon later on.
Think of the way watermelon smells, and then how woody and dull its January counterpart tastes, swaddled in plastic while it makes its northward journey from a warmer frontier.
Think of food blogs written by someone just outside your growing region, where berries and herbs and cucumbers and greens are ready weeks earlier--not so far ahead that you're still enjoying whatever season you're in right now; rather, just that little bit sooner, when it's been ages since you enjoyed something freshly picked and are tired of hearty stews and stout sweaters.
And, think of how unappetising a recipe can feel when the weather's all wrong. For instance, the Thanksgiving I prepared a three-day duck stew. It marinaded, then stewed, reduced, sat and thought about itself a little longer. And finally, on day three, was assembled into a divine pie, to be served with dry red wine-braised bitter greens.
A flash heatwave struck when I was too far in to turn back or
adapt, and I sought refuge in the 100-degree heat of my balcony, which
was immeasurably cooler than inside my flat where the oven blazed and
the duck pie browned and crisped. Fatty fowl, parching cahors, cloying
pastry, thick fat... nothing could sound, look or smell more revolting as
the season jack-knifed from
true autumn to false-July.
Therein lies the beauty of reading and writing about food-- a carrot of the coming season dangled before you on the page; gambling that the recipe will be all wrong for today; a chance for reading what impels you to your kitchen to make a dish from memory. The way a little thing about eating sends you out the door to the place that serves it better than anywhere else.
Amanda Miller lives, writes, and eats in Toronto, ON. Her work appears online at Well Tailored Cakes and Neckties, The Nervous Breakdown and in a guest piece called Salt Preserved Lemons at Kevin West's wonderful blog, Saving the Season, a site perfectly demonstrating "just a bit ahead of my own harvest" model.