Let’s Eat — A Writer’s Guide to Cooking

At last, the summer produce is coming in, and none too soon. I have nothing against oranges, cabbage, and cauliflower, but after six months of the stuff I’m ready for something else. Watermelons come to mind, honeydew melons, cantaloupes, crenshaws, casabas, grapes, nectarines, peaches, apricots, plums, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries — real fruit, in other words — and vegetables that really look like vegetables, ah, and taste like vegetables, instead of sawdust. In fact, just for the heck of it, later today I am going to buy a package of radish seeds and plant them in a little spot next to my new parsley bed. In three weeks, we’ll have fresh radishes, and in the meantime there will be something new to watch grow.

Speaking of parsley, it’s great having a plate of it on the table, fresh from the garden. The flat-leafed kind is good in sandwiches, salads, and all sorts of cooking. It is also enjoyable plain, or with cold salted cucumbers, sliced sweet red onion, radishes, and cheese. This type of “vegetable platter” will go with just about any kind of meal, and can take the place of a salad altogether. But it’s just as good, if not better, before a meal, especially with a shot or two of mulberry vodka — or, in Armenian, tooti oghi.

Now, I have purposely put off the subject of tomatoes. Perhaps the reason for this is that tomatoes, for me, are a spiritual and emotional experience. I still remember as a kid watching my father’s uncle, Kirk, pick an enormous ripe tomato off of one of our plants in the backyard and eat it on the spot. He was in heaven, and howling with delight. Manager of the produce department of a Bay Area grocery store, he loudly proclaimed, “The best tomatoes in the world come from Dinuba, California.” He had eaten tomatoes from all over, so he knew what he was talking about.

For me, this was a thrilling moment, to see something enjoyed so completely and so thoroughly. The expression on Uncle Kirk’s face was priceless. His face was the face of boyhood, freedom, happiness, abandon, luck, and amazement. His joy reflected eating at its best, family at its best, and life at its best.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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