I hate fresh fruits and vegetables. What I hate most about fresh vegetables are the deadlines: use me now or I will turn to gelatinous goo in your refrigerator. I’m a freelance editor. I have enough deadlines in my life. I like stuff that keeps: grains, beans, cheese, nuts.
What I hate most about fresh fruits is biting into one that promised everything but turns out to be mealy and unsweet. Sure, you can pick from the designer bins where every apple, pear, and peach carries its own bar code, but that grates.
I hate fresh fruits and vegetables, so every morning when I brought another bowlful of cherry tomatoes into the apartment I would get anxious: What am I going to do with you little buggers? Last summer, I discovered that cherry tomatoes halved and baked in a 200 F oven for 2 hours or so are a culinary wonder. This summer I’ve learned that they’re even better with a dot of mozzarella. Don’t tell Travvy that I’m using his string cheese for the mozzarella.
Using up cherry tomatoes is no longer an issue, but when the full-size tomatoes began to ripen in earnest a week ago, the anxiety returned: OMG, they’re big! How many of them can I eat before they turn to gelatinous goo?
I marshalled several other ingredients and made gazpacho. Awesome. For good measure I also made zucchini purée (think cream of zuke soup) with someone else’s zucchini. (I know Marge Piercy’s poem “Attack of the Squash People” so you will never, ever catch me planting zucchini in my garden.) It’s almost time to make another batch of pesto, my third of the season.
Now I have to worry about overabundance going bad in my refrigerator before I can get to it, but mold doesn’t gross me out like celery that’s morphosed into a multi-tentacled slug in my salad crisper. Besides, I don’t think it’ll be around long enough to mold.
Successfully meeting the challenge of the fecund tomatoes has noticeably reduced my anxiety. Now they’re — almost — just another deadline. I can do deadlines. I can even do deadlines when they involve cooking. Now it’s time for lunch.