Friday, August 29, 2008

mystery box

someone sent me a box of fruit.

ripe cal red peaches and flavor king pluots from brentwood's frog hollow farm, a place i know very well. at first i thought it was from my old employers themselves...who else would send me such a gift?...or else from my mom, just being nice, or from my dad and stepmom thanking me for entertaining them on their visit. there was no card inside to clue me in. tomorrow i'll call up the farm and see if they can shed some light on it for me, but in the meantime...

here in california it's easy to play the ant. stone fruit season starts in what, may? continues through till october thereabout, at least september. when you get delicious fruit at work every day (and it's not convenient to your schedule to go to a farmers market), you snack on scraps of what you get at work and you use the fruit to make what is on your menu, and unless you are very diligent, that is about it. then the apples show up and, if you're me, you're kind of confused. like, it's apple season already? and there's only apples (pears, pomegranates, persimmons) to hold us til winter? in new england, where you don't get a good nine months of strawberries, everyone is anticipating the local harvest so much that in some ways it's easier to appreciate it. the peaches are here! this month! hurry, hurry...cause you know the cali peaches the store's been stocking all summer were picked way too early to ripen well should you decide to take them home.

this year for some reason my mom's been really awakened to local produce and what it means, tastewise. it's finally come together for her that when you buy something out of season, or when you buy something that's been trucked or flown up from south america or across this country, you are losing out on flavor for the nominal joy of having raspberries in your cereal. only they don't taste like what you remember a berry tasting like.

so in the meantime...maybe i'll take some peaches camping with me. maybe i'll can them in verbena butter, make a plum rose compote. i have been meaning to buy some cans and do some canning, especially with our yard tomatoes fast approaching. i have at last found one white peach worthy of eating. the snow king (ours are from blossom bluff). white peaches (white fruit in general) tend to be high in sugar and low in acid, which means that all you taste is sugar and texture, and any indigenous flavor is pretty much lost. these snow king have a subtle perfumy flavor that's really kind of nice. i thought of them immediately for desert candy's white peach cardamom conserves.

time to play grasshopper kids.

i also got another present today. a genuine pasta king pasta bracelet. oh no, not the one in sonoma. sf's very own bicycle-riding pasta king.

Monday, August 25, 2008

this is just to say

I am entirely guilty of eating plum crisp for breakfast today. Made with delicate italian prune plums purchased from Blossom Bluff. The man at the market noted my beat-up arms and wanted to know, was I a cook? This of course led to an interesting conversation about where I work and what is going on there. Such a small town, this is. The fruit vendors try to engage you in gossip. Also at last week's market I picked up some of my favorite discovery from last year, Alfieri's Summer Royal grapes. Deliciousness. Of course, once I decide I can manage stopping by the Tuesday market once a week for some produce I'll want to eat and some reconnecting with my favorite olde schedule changes again. I can still stop by in the early morning for a manageable load-up, I spose, and carry my goods with me to work. Or I can just start commuting outside the city Sundays to a non-SF market. I do have lots of choices, sometimes I just need to be reminded of that fact.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I know that I haven't been posting. It would make me sad if I weren't so happy to keep my time to myself. We've been living in a state of permanent houseguests, some more and some less grateful and courteous, for at least three weeks although it feels like longer, since C's mom was out here for a week shortly before that. Our washing machine's been broken so dirty laundry is piled up everywhere, making the space seem smaller. I've been not very chatty on the phone with people, cause I have had no time to myself! Luckily it's almost over.

I've been slowly working on clearing up the garden for a fall planting of chard, brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, and the like. Meanwhile I've polished off the first arugula crop and should be able to get a second planting in. It's hard to want to garden when the fog swarms in and it feels like an east coast November, but I've got to get the seeds in the ground soon.

C and I, and maybe some friends, are going camping in the Anderson Valley over Labor Day. We're going to hit up The Apple Farm folks as well as the Navarro winery and the disc golf course at the Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Hopefully this time around Buster will be a better camper. I'm hoping it'll be warm up there. If anyone's got any other fabulous suggestions, we'll try to check them out, in between hiking and thrift store searching and campfire-making.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

#300 /why oscar wao

Trying to get back to the simple things in life now that my company's gone. Like cooking dinner at least once a week, calling up those I haven't seen in a long time, continuing to turn our Sunset house into a den of fabulous (or frivolous) decoration. And writing, and reading.

What I loved about Oscar Wao was that it was so different from Drown. Drown, though beautifully written, embraced at times a sort of ghetto chic perspective of difference. In writing that sometimes bordered on romanticism Diaz brought for slices of life (the Jersey/Washington Heights DR diaspora, the realities of growing up on food stamps not knowing your father, the clannish intensities of (im)migrant neighborhoods) that were, yes, missing from "contemporary fiction." Over and over, tough-boy narrator Yunior held forth that you could look through the window but you would not know, in a manuscript that held difference over assimilation or non-assimilation, in a way of speaking that made space for otherness/queerness/difference apart from (not of nor in).

Wao, though, is the nerd-chic fatboy younger brother of Drown-era Diaz. It's Diaz's Corrections, his Caramelo, his Middlesex. Wao takes on the language of RPGs and fantasy books, movies, D&D as much as it draws on Spanish-inflected English and Dominican history. The books is so round, and so real, that reading it I forgive the tired genre it stems from...the old family history stretching back in time, that so masculine snapshot-of-three-generations, this is the key, the thread, the connection. This sort of grand family planning seems to be the archetype of our time, that and memoir, and even David Sedaris bridges the gap (both archetypes! one book!) For as much as I love so many of those books I'm ready for something else to capture our collective literary imagination, but until it does, I'll hope it doesn't take 11 more years of nationwide literary-geek snickering til Diaz produces another piece, and I'm hoping that those of us on the margins will continue to take on the constructs of the center to break apart more open spaces.

Friday, August 08, 2008


yes, it's true, I did take long disappearance from blogging. new and less desirable work schedule to acclimate to, family in town, getting newbies settled, etc. etc. I haven't checked my email or gotten any writing done for the better part of two weeks. bah.

Another garden bbq this weekend and my part will be, I think:
rancho gordo yellow eye beans

watermelon salad with garden cilantro, radishes and greens, red onion, balsamic redux. or something in that vein.

We're also having the infamous veggie kebabs, grilled corn, meat of some sort and goodness knows what else. And I think I'm being called on to make myself look pretty and go to the Presidio Social Club, and I must say, the menu they have on their website looks extremely undelicious. Although they do have mac n cheese. Which would of course then be what I would get.

Maryusa asked what I have been doing with myself and it's been pretty much this: watering the garden, painting the kitchen, entertaining various family and friends, working, making homemade marshmallows for the boys, cleaning, working my way through a stack on slightly overdue library books. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the parade of visitors seems to KEEP COMING as I've got a college friend and fellow ice cream addict flying into town for a wedding next week. dios mio!

keep my head down and work, keep my head down and write.