Friday, August 13, 2010

A Culinary Personals Ad

SWF seeks hungry (and hopefully handsome) Italian farmer in need of a farm wife. Farm preferred in Tuscany, but any Italian location will do.

I want to spend my days putting up tomatoes from my garden, rolling out sheets of pasta, collecting eggs from the chicken house, riding my bicycle to the local olive oil mill, making bread, salting hams, forming cheeses... all in time with the changing seasons. Why is it that thoughts of this bring such an ache of desire and gratitude for the bounty of each year?

Each year, when I return from Utah in August, I find myself with time on my hands. The summer job is over, the work in Tucson has not yet begun. And each year, I find myself caught up in a new cooking obsession.

Last year it was pasta. I spent seemingly all of August and September rolling out paper thin sheets for pappardelle, ravioli, tagliatelle, you name it. And no, I did not use a little hand crank machine (not that there's anything wrong with that). I rolled it in the traditional style (which is more stretching than rolling, with three distinct techniques) with a long dowel cut to size by Home Depot (what self-respecting thrifty farm wife would spend $40 on one from a fancy kitchen supply store, anyway?). Oh, it was such good pasta! I'll make more this month, for sure, starting with some farfalle.

A couple of days ago I spent an entire day reading about my Scarlet Runner beans from Native Seeds/SEARCH before cooking them. No doubt I'll do the same before I cook the Rio Zope beans, too. But that's just normal behaviour for me, not the annual obsession. This year's fetish crystallized this morning. It started with a pound of CSA chicken livers in my freezer. I made them into a simple pate, Fegatini al Burro, if you must know - basically poor man's foie gras. (And it's PC to boot, since the livers came from some of Josh's Foraging Fowl I talked about here.) I enjoyed it last night with a friend, and again today for a snack. Then the voices in my head started, first as a whisper, but soon they drowned out the trains down the street.

The Voices in My Head: "Hmm, do you suppose I could can this stuff?? Yes... yes... I can can this stuff WITH THE PRESSURE CANNER I BOUGHT LAST YEAR! Pate de campagne, fegatini al burro, rabbit pate (well, the rabbit will have to wait for the UT farmers market next year) but... How COOL would it be to be able to bust out a jar of this stuff on a moment's notice?"

You get my point. Internet research and library runs followed and I know I'll soon have jars of the stuff lined up next to the canned apricots, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, lime curd, pickles, watermelon rind etc. etc. currently filling the pantry.

I don't have a pate picture (yet), but this picture shows what I'd make for you, dear Massimiliano, (that is what I've named my Italian Farmer, who is still, sadly, only imaginary), when I had a garden full of zucchini and tomatoes.

I got a new camera this summer, I'm learning to take better food pictures, I promise, I promise! But it's so hard to bother with what it takes to get a REALLY good food picture, when you'd rather be eating it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No Wombats need apply.