When I began this blog, summer was without a doubt my favorite season for food. I looked forward to summer highlights like piles of stone fruit, ripe tomatoes, and sweet corn all year long. But lately, I find spring is my favorite season. I love the anticipation and finding a new ingredient available each week, especially after so many months of the same roots and hardy greens. First there are chives, followed by green garlic, then ramps, lettuce, asparagus, and finally, strawberries. For years now, as I’ve savored these moments at my own farmer’s market or in my garden, I’ve also enjoyed experiencing the spring awakening through my friend Aimée.
During my eighties childhood, a halved grapefruit appeared in the breakfast portion of any diet’s sample menu. My family took that as a cue, I think, and served up these healthy halves of grapefruit, too. Except, in a move that definitely undid whatever health benefits the fruit had, the adults spooned a modest sprinkling of sugar onto their grapefruit, while I dumped a good-sized mound onto the same. As a rule, we should be wary of a fruit that requires sugar to consume.
We should also be wary of a fruit whose most popular varieties have been chosen because of how well they ship and store rather than how good they taste. Where grapefruits are concerned, the emphasis has long been on ease of distribution. But those of us who like to eat (even in winter) are lucky that grapefruit technology has come a long way. Better distribution, producers who understand that people want flavor too, and a general upscaling of everything mean that flavorless grapefruits have mostly gone the way of mealy Red Delicious apples. (Even if the bad rep they earned seems to linger.) [Read more…]
If my rural southern forbears found out that each year I seek out the chance to pick apples, they’d probably be disappointed that I didn’t own the orchard but glad that it was something easy like apples instead of something gross like tobacco. But when they found out that I actually pay for the privilege of doing farm work, they’d all keel over dead on the spot (hopefully after producing whichever offspring ultimately led to my existence). Why on Earth, they would wonder, would I pay to harvest fruit? And even worse, why would I drag my children into it?
One of the things I love most about eating seasonally is that it gives the seasons and the weather real meaning. Each week of the growing season brings new possibilities. Last year, an early spring meant favorite summer fruits showed up almost a month early. This year, things are arriving more or less on schedule, so we’re still waiting for strawberries and asparagus (though we do have ramps!). [Read more…]
If I were starting from a place of perfect ignorance of breakfast foods and tasked with naming them all like Adam and the animals, the Dutch Baby Pancake is probably what I would give the name “pancake” to. I mean, if someone told you, “Here’s a pan, make a cake,” you would mix up some batter, pour it into the pan, and stick it into the oven, right? And that simple fact right there, demonstrates why the Dutch baby pancake is such a fabulous breakfast. Because it really is a sort of cake. Or something between a cake and an English pudding. That you eat for breakfast. And it’s hot. And delicious. As it stands, though, I haven’t been given the duty of naming breakfast foods and that’s probably for the best because I imagine it’s thankless work and no matter what I came up with, people would rip on me nonstop on the internet. “why did u naem it bacon lol? u don’t bake it lololol.” [Read more…]