It Was Real Good
June 18, 2014 § 9 Comments
It’s down to meat, greens, and eggs, for the most part. A little milk, too, but not much since Apple hasn’t yet freshened and Pip’s only giving us a half-gallon or so each morning and the fellas have that polished off before it even cools. Before it even makes it to the fridge, most mornings. The berries are gone. Kimchi, gone. Potatoes, gone. Onions, gone. No carrots yet. For breakfast, we eat eggs and bacon and steamed nettles. For lunch, steak and salad. For dinner, leftover steak and salad. Rinse and repeat, maybe throw a bit of lamb or the occasional chicken into the mix for the hell of it. A smidge of bread here and there, usually piled thick with pate. We’ve got enough pate to survive the zombie apocalypse and the beautiful thing about that is that hardly no one else likes the stuff so we don’t even have to bother with the razor wire and booby traps.
It’s a slimming diet, I’ll tell you that much. I’m down two belt holes in just the past month, the larded paunch that came upon me over the winter melting away one footstep at a time as I hump my diminishing self over hill and dale chasing a yearling heifer that seems unfazed by the 4,000 volts pulsing through the fence that is supposed to keep her contained. Confounded thing. Yesterday we finally corralled the beast, got a halter on her (no simple thing, let me tell you) and taught her a thing or two about electricity. Lo and behold, she wasn’t out this morning. Hopefully, the lesson will stick. Otherwise, the freezer awaits. We hath no mercy for self-liberating bovine.
It’s a funny time of year, food wise. We’re caught in the annual gap between the bottom of our freezers and the productive capacity of our crops and so are eating in the margins. There is a certain comforting sameness to it; frankly, there’s just less to think about when your choices are so limited. But on the other hand, we’re all ready for a bit more diversity. Yesterday, in a fit of weakness (or maybe just sheer hunger) I stopped at the village grocer on my way home from little tractor job and bought an ice cream sandwich. By the time I’d motored the rest of the way down Main St (and a veeeery short Main St, at that), I’d devoured the whole damn thing and even licked the dribble that’d run down my forearm, tasting not just the sugary confection, but the salt of my own sweat, a bit of softwood pitch, and something that I’m hoping won’t make me ill over the coming days.
What I’d really like, to be perfectly honest, is a ripe tomato. Some fresh blueberries. A cup of cream, with slug of maple syrup. Have you ever drunk a cup of cream with a slug of maple syrup? And I don’t mean just any cream, but cream so thick it won’t pour; you have to spoon it into the glass. And I don’t mean just any syrup, but the batch of syrup you took a little too far, so it sort of sinks into the cream in its own little distillate ball, an egg in its nest.
Now I stop, for I am beginning to feel deprived and I do not like feeling deprived. For lunch I will eat my burger and my lettuce and I will do so if not exuberantly, then at least in the absence of outright resentment. I will remember that my shot of cream and syrup are only days away, maybe a week at most. I will remember the day that happens every late July or early August, when the boys come running back from the blueberries with the first half-ripe specimens in their hands. I will recall the first tomato of last year, how I snitched it right from the vine and didn’t even share. You want to take the true measure of a man? It’s what he does with the first ripe tomato. Now you know.
I will even remember licking cheap melted ice cream from my arm as I putted down the Main Street of Cabot, Vermont yesterday afternoon. I ran my tongue from elbow to wrist and then right up to the tips of my fingers where little bits of brownie fuzz had stuck in the small folds of my skin.
Damn. It was good. It was real good.