Blog challenge. Write about a favorite food celebration from your childhood.
I decided to write about a memory of about 20 years ago.
The weather is hot, lush like a jungle. We live among the redwoods, inland from the Pacific Ocean. Meadows with ripening apple trees and oaks dripping sphagnum moss liven up the countryside. Everything is ready for harvest.
Our garden is full. The August warmth comes up from the sweet earth, delivering fertility and contentment. We have corn, peppers, squash, tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers. I have vines on a trellis, abundant with of gourds of all sizes. I will have to hang them to dry in the coming months. The process takes almost a year from start to finish. Country work. The star jasmine is blooming, a perfume that fills the front porch.
Jesse comes back from the lake with a stringer of fresh trout. He works in the side yard quickly cleaning the fish, his hands deft. Jazz music filters from the radio inside our house. A crow caws in the huge pine at the edge of the yard, letting us know she has an eye on our goods.
The kids help me in the garden. We pull some corn, two ears for each person, then pick the last of the red leaf lettuce. We pick perfect cherry tomatoes. We pull some carrots, a bell pepper, baby spinach, and harvest a couple of lemon cukes. Home grown salad. Then comes the best part, green beans. Just the sight makes me drool. Butter and sometimes a little sea salt, or light garlic salt is the only condiment necessary. But they have to snap when you pick them. That’s why they’re called snap beans.
A few leaves of fresh basil and marjoram are plucked for a sauce type marinade that I brush over the trout right after it comes out of pan. We’re doing chicken too, local organic. I arrange the apple wood for the fire under the grill. Only suburbanites use coals for barbecues. The wood smoke is as aromatic as the food we’re preparing.
The kids laugh about something. My daughter is 16. Her silky hair glistens and I can smell the Herbal Essence shampoo as I reach behind her for something while she tosses the salad. She’s a junior in high school and works in town. She drives and helps with the shopping. My son is 12. He’s into drumming and skateboarding. He’s a good kid. Our young ones don’t argue. We don’t have all that slamming of doors and hurtful phrases…maybe some moping or pouting…but it isn’t because we are authoritarians. Some people just get along. I start to wonder why my sister and I used to fight.
I put my mind back on chopping up some dill and green onions.
Finally we sit down to eat. We recite our homespun non-denominational prayer. The food is from our own hands, our own efforts. Every bite is savory and we’re happy. Not rich, not poor…. doing ok. Jesse makes googley eyes after chomping down on the corn on the cob. He wipes the butter from his chin and lets out a big belch.
“Ooops, ‘scuse the hogs, you pigs.”
The kids giggle.
“This is some good eatin'” we say to each other.