21 September 2010 — Breakfast
As Michael Polan reminds us, humans are nearly unique in the animal kingdom in having to ask themselves the question, “What shall I eat?” I have taken the approach, at least at breakfast, in letting the answer be determined by a morning walk through the garden. This morning, after my workout, I took the colander out and was delighted to discover an abundance of dark ripe raspberries, generally clustered in dense bunches on the underside of leaves. I picked a combination of very dark and less dark berries, determined by which pulled most easily off the vine. After a quick wash, I eat them plain in a bowl. The late raspberries have less flavor then the early ones. Not as sweet, and a bit watery. But the perfect freshness means that the fruit still has its structure, with no trace of the mealy-ness that seems to plague raspberries that have travelled.
After this, the Malabar spinach seemed truly irresistible – uniformly dark green, thick substantial leaves with a glossy sheen – a tropical vine that, if encountered without introduction, one would suspect harbored some deadly alkaline poison. I picked six leaves, washed and dried, and then created a sandwich with my morning smoked salmon laid between two double layers of spinach, topping a slice of whole wheat bread with a touch of cream cheese. The first lox with a schmear consumed in NY featuring Malabar spinach?
Below the vining spinach on the north wall, completely innocuous and looking rather limp and unimpressive below the robust tropical vine, were the second crop of green beans. I harvested a dozen small ones. Cooking seemed altogether superfluous, and so it was. The raw beans were perfectly tender, with a satisfyingly prominent green bean taste. A taste that is not glamorous, but satisfying in its plainness. A snack food for Shakers.
Exiting the back of the garden I snacked on a few of the superb yellow cocktail tomatoes, but then spied a large red tomato, which I picked. Resisting the rather messy temptation to eat it like an apple, I sliced with olive oil and salt. Now that really tasted like breakfast. Fresh, zingy get-yourself-going. Why don’t we eat more tomatoes at breakfast?