The farmer was maybe in his early seventies. He wore a cream colored straw cowboy hat for shade. At his kiosk at the farmers’ market, I asked for figs and peaches. The man picked up a plastic pint full of figs, paused to look at me and my husband for an exaggerated moment, and added two more figs to our pint before dumping them into a paper bag. Then he did the same with the peaches - added two more to the pint before bagging them.
“We must look like we need a lot of fruit," I thanked him.
“Can I tell you somethin’?” He paused dramatically once again. He set his eyes on c’s eyes and then turned them to mine. “I don’t think," his words unfolded slowly, "I ever met anyone in my life who didn’t look like they needed more fruit.” He grinned, proud of his commentary. C. and I offered our laughter, as if he was the wisest and funniest farmer we’d encountered.
That day, in addition to peaches and figs, we bought a whole chicken, potatoes, bell peppers, Creole tomatoes and eggplant. At the local grocery, I bought a baguette from a baker in Acadiana.
Last night, I roasted the chicken. I smothered it in homemade pesto and stuffed the inside and under the skin with lemongrass, garlic chives and rosemary – all (including the basil in the pesto) grown in my makeshift garden plots. I peeled and halved the market potatoes, boiled them, drained them, and added butter, sage, oregano and lemon basil (also homegrown) into the pot. I covered the pot and tossed the potatoes and herbs within, then let them sit and steam beneath the lid. I cut up a fresh tomato and dashed salt and pepper onto it. I buttered a few pieces of the baguette. We ate, our stomachs and eyes and noses practically dancing.
Today, I’ve discovered the most satisfying midday treat. I tore off a piece of cold baguette, smothered it with cold butter, and spread fresh figs over it like jam. This is better than any chocolate I can think of.
It's fig and peach season here in Baton Rouge. I wonder what season it is in Austin, and what my first market meal will consist of. What will this place, my new home, taste like to me?
SONGS: Bus to Baton Rouge, Lucinda Williams (What is up with her voice here? Is she drunk? Hoarse? A man? Vomiting? I know I'm supposed to be a Lucinda Williams fan, but I just can't. I wish someone else was singing this song.); Favorite, Neko Case