If at our house we tend to eat mainly whole food, it is partly due to its beauty, I suspect. As you know, I am likely to paint at least one pear (see “Mlle Poire 2016”) annually, and it’s no secret that I have a thing about vegetables too. Embarrassing to admit, but I once spent a week painting a Savoy cabbage. And the GUILT when we finally ate it….. So when a friend served me an hors d’oeuvre of glistening ratatouille yesterday, the sight of it was almost as pleasurable as the taste. The magpie artist in me was delighted.
The corollary is that past-its-best-date-produce unnerves me. You know - those zucchinis at the bottom of the produce drawer which transform themselves into ooze while you are making tea. Or those elderly wrinkled parsnips which don't go gentle into that good night. I don’t know about you but sometimes (usually when being artsy-fartsy rather than domestic) I get the unsettled feeling that a new life-form is brewing in my crisper.
Sometimes it sort of is. There was the year when I opened the fridge during the birthday luncheon for his dear grandmother and discovered that Jon’s dew worms had staged the great escape, stretching themselves out in the channels of corrugated plastic that manufacturers once used to cover the fridge bottom. I tried to stifle the scream as that always unnerves guests. Or the November that our resident green frogs found the fridge styraorm container(our pond was too shallow) a bit warm and got up to have a look around; like clay Chinese warriors, there they stood, in perfect formation. Luckily, we were eating alone that evening. But I digress.
I write this to remind myself not only to give thanks for the bounty of food we enjoy, but to remember to make “fridge soup,” as a dear friend calls it. Never the same from week to week, home-made soup fashioned from odds and ends is nonetheless always good. I like to think that somewhere in the crisper’s vegetative communal mind there is a dim hope to be stewed rather than abandoned to rot.
Maybe that’s just the artist in me talking.