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July 15, 2011

Each summer, I buy a share in a local farm, and enjoy the sexiest vegetables from June through late October. Lately, I’ve written a lot about lugging things around town in my bicycle basket — clothing, bottles of wine, bottles of gin, cosmetics, extra shoes, loads and loads of groceries and junk that, for one reason or another needs to go from one place to one other place, under my steam. The past three weeks have been different.

First, I prepared to take a one-week holiday. This required even more hauling and lugging than usual, which made getting away from it all (the office, the city, the traffic, the lugging) even more tantalising.

Second, I was away. The only lugging that occurred that week was lugging a blanket to the sand and, you might say, lugging my pants on and off again, to cover then reveal my swimsuit. And, regrettably, lugging myself back to the city again once seven days had elapsed.

And finally, this week, I lugged my ass back to the office again. This was, actually, pretty ok. Except for the heatwave.Well, except for the fact of clothing in a heatwave. I loved the weather. I did not love the commuting, the tight shoes, the constrictive clothes. The wasting of time indoors when there was perfectly dreamy golden sunshine beaming down outside. I think I would happily slave two extra hours per day the rest of the year, if only I could be set free all summer long.

And, as the heatwave wrapped up its third straight week of high temperatures, dry, parching air, and brutal traffic where drivers seemed either maddened by the heat or blinded by the sun tilting into their grimly commuting eyes, I decided to abandon any sort of “lugging” whatsoever. Tonight, it was all about heading home empty-basketed and eating what I had on hand. Which brings me full circle to the farm share.

During my week away, I missed collecting my vegetables. Missed as in “didn’t do so, skipped a week” and missed as in “pined for the crispy, fresh chard and stinky herbs and lettuce with enough body that it withstood a good rinsing and spinning and tossing and plating without wilting”. This past Tuesday, I was back on things, and lugged home a basket of excellent produce…and then…ignored it…didn’t even make eye contact, just shoved it into the fridge crisper then met my boyfriend on a lakeside patio for mediocre salad and an excellent burger and three glasses of serviceable white wine.

That evening turned into one of my favourite dates, so the vegetables will simply have to forgive me while I show no remorse and express no regrets. But, tonight, Friday night, at the tail-end of a loooong, long week, no patio on earth could have lured me away from my own kitchen and my own balcony and the solitude of grilling a steak and blazing stripes into some vegetables and drinking at home (alone) and wearing no pants and talking to my cat.

Which is not to say my lovely gentleman-friend wouldn’t have been welcome, but, well, he wasn’t around. He was working, trapped indoors away from it all, which I think, as a man who doesn’t super-love the super-heat, might actually be going just fine for him tonight. It’s a hot night. And it was a hot day. And a hot night and hot day, for many days and nights prior to this one.

I set the table. I downloaded a song that begins with the lines, “I’m glad this week is over/ I need to get away…” which resonates at least halfway with where I’m at tonight.

The sun tipped across my plate as I ground some pepper then tucked in. My glass got a bit sweaty, and my already very tanned feet flushed an even darker shade. And, when I was done eating, I cleared my dishes and put not just my feet but my legs right on the table, all the way up to my knees.

You can’t see her but my cat is in that other, apparently vacant, chair. She’s watching a bee scoop around in the flowers sprouting from neglected cilantro in a planter box nearby.

I’m not so much a supporter of idly, lazily, documenting and “blogging” a meal. But, laid out on the kitchen counter, its pieces and parts cobbled into a meal that trumped just about anything I’ve ordered and paid for someone skilled to fix me while I dined in public lately, I was pretty excited that all this stuff was on hand, without an ounce to be bought and lugged home tonight. And, brought to table, it was one of the hottest hot-weather meals I’ve ever made.

Did I mention it smelled good? It did. Have I described the smoke that billowed while the patty pan squash grilled? A dainty puff, just enough to know things were happening, but not so much that it turned into a burn. And the company? Too sweet for words.


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