[Tuesday night, San Francisco, April 2011.]
Friday, and I am soon to go north, out of the city. A blowy day, clear and blue and chilly, though the fog is just starting to come in. Marvelous things loom on the horizon: sleeping in a quiet house, a dog, coffee at Toby’s (Coffee! at Toby’s!), the possible assembly of banana bread, a run in the cool sun. Even farther off on the horizon are secret (and delectable!) baking plans, trips to take, baseball games to watch, households to combine. It all comes so fast and so slow.
I wrote a story for NPR’s Kitchen Window about artichokes — here, if you’re so inclined to read — which I have tried very hard to learn to love (or at least like). I like them a bit more than I did (but mostly in cheesy spinach dips, or on pizza, or in a soup) though I’m still working my way up to them. Another vegetable you don’t like? my brother mocks me from Maine. Still — there’s only a dreaded one: Eggplant. I don’t love every single vegetable of course, but I do like most (more to learn to like more include mustard greens, kale, spaghetti squash, okra); I will never like eggplant again (probably) after a disastrous run-in in college with awful, awful cafeteria eggplant parm (as a side note, my betrothed also detests eggplant which I take as another sign we’re Meant To Be) that’s put me off to it for the foreseeable future.
But I wonder — how long must we try to like things when we just don’t? I mean, how long must I keep on giving artichokes (or okra) another chance? For example: peas. For most of my life whenever I ate them I choked them down reluctantly but didn’t much enjoy the experience. As I got older I stopped eating them altogether, because when you’re a ‘grown up’ you allowed to do whatever you want, or at least be in more control of what goes on your plate. So right: one summer afternoon I sat down to an early dinner and there on the table was a dish of bright green peas and they looked very pretty, being so bright and green, that I spooned some onto my plate and salted them just a little and why, they were quite fine. Now I’m tap-tapping my fingers in impatience ’til they come back into the market; fresh peas are one of my spring delights.
Could that happen, too, with artichokes? With kohlrabi? With — gulp — eggplant?
I guess I’m posing these questions to myself today, a gusty Friday because I wonder just how open I truly am to the new experience. I want to be, sure. But is it worth subjecting myself to eggplant again, when I loathe it so? I suppose I won’t know unless I try. Baba ganush it is, then!
In the meantime: To get through the rest of this blowy day that’s getting chiller by the quarter-hour, to eat a handful of pistachio nuts, to buy rye bread at Acme, to take the ferry north looking solidly forward. To go.