Why Can’t I Taste Summer? – Frustration – March 8th

I am aching, people, aching, for sage.  I don’t know what’s come over me, but here I was, sitting in study hall, surfing around the net as one does in search of the web site that will disgust you so deeply with its content that you’ll actually shut the laptop and get something done instead, and I thought “sage,” and now it’s crippling me.  I want a leaf, just a leaf, to rub between my fingers and feel the tiny velvety hairs of.  I want to brush its dusty sweetness from my hands to my hair and eat an acrid corner, and make a scroll of the rest of the leaf, and slice it into tiny rings, fry them in peppery olive oil and see them curl tighter, scatter them on cornmeal-crusted fish… I think this is how I get homesick.  I was trying all throughout lunch to work out what it was that I wanted.  I’d gotten as far as “not chocolate” when the fire alarm went off, and then there was all the confusion about whether or not I could go back to the dorm to get my books for English.  But now I’ve got time to myself again, and I haven’t had anything herbed in too long.

In the dream I’ve been having lately, I’m wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt.  I’m standing barefoot at a counter covered with cheeses, slicing and wrapping them for people who are deliriously happy just because they’re in a rough-floored wine shop and it’s hot outside.  I go home and the fridge is a comfort to open, not something I prepare for with an extra layer because I just can’t take any more cold. I bring out butter, onions, squash, fresh sage… late summer food.  And there is a cheese to crumble into this tumble of not-quite-autumn, though I can never quite remember its taste when I wake up.  I think it’s blue, but it could be something mild and unrich and smooth, like ricotta.  I throw together a pie crust, no big deal, and there’s a galette in the oven now that gives off such an essence of sage that I can’t stand it.  I flee the scent and the heat, walk outside in the sun for a while, pull baby carrots from the garden and rub off the dirt with a thumb before eating them whole.  The sun is warm out there, not just fluorescently bright, and the dirt has a baked crust over its moist underneath.   I go back inside, to the open windows and cooling oven, and sage.

It’s too cold for anything to taste very bright, and crackers are eating my soul.  Please, somebody tell me… when will it be summer?


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3 Responses to Why Can’t I Taste Summer? – Frustration – March 8th

  1. William Popov says:

    Very well written, Imogen.
    I like your detailed sensory description. One can tell after reading that you really feel this way, and aren’t just trying to waste blog space to get a good grade.

    I will, however, disagree with your view on summer. I personally think that winter is much more exciting, both in food and in general. Sitting on my couch eating pounds upon pounds of Russian chocolate (from truffles to wafers to cognac filled wonders) and watching the snow fall outside in the four o’clock darkness can’t be compared to baking in the hot summer sun and always being uncomfortably hot and waiting until 10:00 for darkness to come. The only thing food-related that I even remotely miss from summer is fresh vegetables from my grandmother’s garden. Her cucumbers taste so much better than supermarket ones…

    P.S. We still have almost two months until Spring is truly here (the snow is only completely gone in late April or even early May), so get used to it.

  2. bensmgb says:

    Imogen, I found your post amazing. At my house we have an herb garden with fresh herbs throughout the summer and I love to just go outside and eat a mint leaf or bring in handfuls of herbs to cook with.

    William, I’m sorry, but I will have to disagree with you on your summer views. I love summer especially for the late darkness hours and the warmth all the time. Going to the beach and bringing a cooler full of food for the day or swimming in a friends pools are both things that you cannot do during the winter.

    Thank you Imogen for reminding me what summer is like, because up here in the North, I’ve almost forgotten what green grass looks like.

  3. maoismdoesntwork says:

    Thanks, you two. Popov, I’m not about to disagree with you on the merits of cognac-filled chocolates. I tend to regard chocolate as a winter food, and one of the best there are. But I’ve been eating it for months now, and it’s starting to lose its comforting qualities. There are some summer foods which one simply cannot get in the winter, or that are pitiful impressions of the in-season reality. I’m thinking fresh corn, homegrown lettuce and herbs, stone fruit warm from the tree and not supermarket-firm. I want them. I can’t express how badly I want them. Sugary, carby chocolates have held me through this long. Now I want to be sticky with fruit and tingly with sunburn, and to think “oh, chocolate can wait. I’ve got blueberry pie.”

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