Monday, February 7, 2011

The luxury of doing without



Remember when it was actually a big deal when watermelons arrived in the stores and farmer's markets in the summers? I can remember being really excited about eating ice-cold slices of sweet watermelon right about the fourth of July- and the anticipation of it was as good (or almost as good) as the watermelon itself. That absence of melons in the fall, winter and spring enhanced the olfactory experience when they came into season. Now, because melons apparently ship well from warm climates (the thick rind and relatively long shelf life assist with this), watermelon tastes pretty good year round. And as a result, it lost some of its magic.

Thankfully, we haven't figured out how make winter tomatoes taste like summer tomatoes. And although I'm all for horticultural innovation, I hope that breeders and growers never figure this out. There's nothing I dream of more than a tomato sandwich on white bread made with tomatoes ripened in the southern summer sun. Tomato sandwiches should only be eaten when you're wearing a short-sleeved shirt while in the shade of a porch. I don't think a tomato sandwich (no matter how good the tomatoes) would taste as good while wearing a sweater sitting by the buck stove.
So there's my plea. No good tomatoes in the winter. Keep them mealy and tasteless.

This idea transfers into the landscape as well. I'm tired of azaleas the bloom in the spring and fall. I don't want a garden where every plant blooms all the time. If all plants flowered year round, they'd lose their magic. Just like watermelon did.

I think we've forgotten than doing without can actually be luxurious. The anticipation makes it something to be acknowledged and savored when they come into our worlds, much like a vine-ripened tomato.


26 comments:

  1. My sentiments, also. There is something wrong about eating watermelons when it's cold outside! And tomatoes? I don't even consider those gassed things they sell during the winter to be real tomatoes. A real tomato is vine ripened, just picked and still warm from the sunshine!

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  2. I agree completely! I wait all year for eggnog and it wouldn't be the same if I could get it year round! Some things need to be waited for to be truly appreciated.

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  3. I agree! I wait until the strawberries are ripe in the fields around here. They are so much better than the early store bought ones.

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  4. So true! Like so many things nowadays, we've forgotten that delayed gratification is a good thing!

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  5. I think the prices of out of season fruits and veggies this year will make my garden extra special this summer! :)

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  6. I find the same thing with sugar in general. If I avoid sweet things they taste so much better when I do occasionally eat them.

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  7. Great! that is super true.. i so agree with this.

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