... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

The last of Martha's magnets:

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* Discussion *

Talk about it here.


Deja Dead
Kathy Reichs

(not for the squeamish!)


Whose Line Is It Anyway

Pictures from the Cincinnati are now up at Steve's Club Photo page.

Pictures from our Family reunion are on my own Club Photo page.

That's it for today!


17 August 2001

I pulled the plastic wrap off the plate that one of my luncheon guests from yesterday brought to me. The plate held a lovely arrangement of peaches and grapes. I picked up a peach and smelled it. Its odor was sweet and full and made my mouth water.

I bit into the peach and felt an explosion of flavor on my tongue. It tasted like...a peach. The flesh was firm and juicy. I closed my eyes and remembered the days of my youth, picking ripe peaches off a tree and eating them while the juice dripped down over my hands. I remember having peaches sliced into a bowl with cream poured over the top as a breakfast treat. I remember my mother cutting them into neat slices for fresh peach pie. Peach pie warm from the oven with a dollop of ice cream melting down the sides. What better end to a summer barbecue?

What has happened to fresh produce? These days you can get strawberries in December, apples in June and pretty near anything you want year round, thanks to scrupulous manipulation of Mother Nature.

But where is the taste?

Find a wonderful display of peaches at the local supermarket, for example. They are beautiful, unblemished, the aroma is right, but bite into one and you get this dry, mealy-textured thing that is vaguely reminiscent of a peach, but bears no resemblance to the peaches of my youth.

Strawberries are plentiful this time of year. They aren't cheap, but they look beautiful. They are grown to appeal to the eye and convince you to load up. But slice into one and it's hard as a rock with only a hint of real strawberry flavor (you get more strawberry flavor in a box of Berry Special K)

The bins where you buy strawberries also come with cardboard flavored, sponge-textured "shortbread" and some sort of gelatinous mess that is supposed to be a glaze. You have to go to the freezer section to load up on Cool Whip.

There are kids today who think that piling some of these rock hard, juiceless strawberries into the cardboard-flavored cup, pouring the unnaturally red glaze over it and topping with Cool Whip is having strawberry shortcake.

Where is the soft, crumbly biscuit, still warm from the oven, filled to overflowing with strawberries so juicy they make a pool in the bottom of your plate, topped by real whipped cream, piled in a soft mound on top? Now that's a strawberry shortcake!

On a recent trip back from Santa Barbara, my mother and I stopped at a roadside stand with a crude hand-lettered sign announcing freshly picked cherries. I was reminded of the days when the kids were little and we would drive out to the cherry orchards of Brentwood (tract housing now fills that area). We would climb the trees and pick buckets of cherries to bring home, snacking on them as we picked.

My mother and I bought a sack of cherries at the stand and we shared them as we drove home. They were huge Bing cherries, deep purple, juicy and flavorful when we munched them, tossing the pits back into the plastic bag.

The next week, I found a display of Bing cherries at my local Albertson's. They were large, deep purple, plump and promising. They also cost twice as much as the cherries we bought from the roadside stand, but remembering how good it had been to eat fresh cherries again, I filled a plastic bag and bought them.

When I returned home, I pulled a cherry from the bag and bit into it. Yes it was big. Yes it was deep purple, but the similarity ended there. Again, it was essentially tasteless. Or if it had a taste, it paled in comparison to the home-grown variety we'd purchased from the roadside stand.

There are kids growing up today who have never tasted a home grown tomato.

You can buy red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, big tomatoes, small tomatoes, round tomatoes and pear shaped tomatoes, but pull out a couple of slices of pillow-soft Wonder Bread (it has to be Wonder bread--didn't we all grow up with Wonder bread?), lather it with Best Foods mayonnaise, slice up one of these store-bought tomatoes, add your mayo-lathered top slice of bread, bite into it and....nothing. No pizzazz. Oh there's flavor all right, but where is the intense flavor? Where is that tomato-mixed-with-mayo flavor that I loved so much as a kid, sitting at the kitchen table in that flat on Leavenworth St.?

There are only two things that money can't buy
And that's true love and home grown tomatoes

We live in an age where we can engineer anything. We can provide ourselves with our favorite fruits and vegetables year round. But at what cost? There's something about knowing that fruits come in "seasons" and waiting for the season to roll around so you can once again slice a fresh peach into a bowl, top it with some cream, and enjoy the treat even more because the window of opportunity is so short.

I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my peaches, now. Who knows when I'll get another chance to have a real tree-ripened peach again?

One Year Ago:
Cyber watch

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 8/17/01 by Bev Sykes