June 24, 2005

It is a mean, lazy, tired and piss-poor excuse to blame one's lack of writing on one's day job, but then, I've been a bit of a mean, lazy, tired and piss-poor character myself. Hard work and tough times are nothing new at the box factory, but lately times have been very tough, and I have the terrible, terrible feeling that they're going to get tougher. One would think that this would galvanize me, inspire me to new and dizzying levels of creative work to keep me sharp, but so far this week, the most creative thing I've done is decide what flavor of bath fizz or bubble bath I should drop into the tub. Not that I'm apologizing for my new adventures in bath care; after a dozen years of nothing but showers, I have rediscovered just what a nice thing it is to sit in the bath, head resting against the back of the tub, hot water bumping against my shoulderblades. In recent weeks I have rediscovered this so often that I hear a worrying, vaguely accusatory voice in my mind, warning me that if I keep this up, I'll be like the useless captain in The Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy, the one who never left the tub. The good news is that it's very easy to drown that accusatory voice by slouching down in the tub until the water reaches my chin.

I will also admit to feeling a little blue because I think I missed my window of opportunity for strawberry jam. Last year I was able to buy a flat of six quarts and turn them into jam. Because I spent much of the strawberry season in Arkansas, I was not quite able to meet the standard I set in 2003, when I turned out a batch of plain strawberry jam, a batch of strawberry with black pepper and another batch of strawberry with tarragon (another combination that sounds weird but works like the dreamy essence of summer), but I could still look at my little row of gleaming half-pint mason jars packed with translucent sugar-saturated berries. Last weekend I bought two quarts of berries, with vague plans to pair them with biscuits for strawberry shortcake, or with a Victoria sponge for cream cakes. (I ended up eating both quarts out of hand, quickly so as not to lose any to spoilage. We wouldn't want that, no.) As I paid for my berries, another shopper came to the stand to pick up a flat for her own weekend jam adventures. I mentioned that I wanted to make jam the following weekend, and was told, kindly but with regret, by the woman handing me my change that she doubted that there would still be strawberries then. I won't use the word "crushed," simply because I wasn't. What I was was crestfallen. I had learned by talking to the farmers that everything would be a little late to harvest this year, owing to our weird wet cold spring. But I didn't even think to ask if the seasons would be shorter this year than usual. By the time I got to the market last weekend, the rhubarb was gone, the asparagus was gone, the strawberries were going. I know that there are new things waiting their turn on the tables: plums, zucchini blossoms, gooseberries, apricots, tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. When they arrive, I will sing, and when they leave, I will sigh. But how I wish I had been a little better organized this year, a little quicker on the draw. That way, I could share the recipes for strawberry jam, rhubarb compote and penne with asparagus, creme fraiche and lemon, and not offer weak platitudes about waiting until next year to try them.

At any rate, dear friends, I have an alternate plan. (Confidential to bunni: It's not quite as cunning as a fox who has just been made Professor of Cunning at Oxford University, but it's close.) I have a plan that, with any luck, will take my torpor and pound it into grits. I am being cagey about sharing it right now, because there is the slim chance that I will lose my nerve, considering that it does involve turning on the oven on a day that we are supposed to hit 92 degrees with sesquillion-percent humidity. But I am feeling just stubborn enough to say that I'll be damned if a little weather gets in the way of what could be a truly excellent adventure.

Posted by Bakerina at 12:27 AM in stuff and nonsense • (1) Comments • (0) Trackbacks
Page 1 of 1 pages