Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hidden Hearts

"They've grown a lot," I said poking around the garden at dusk.
"Hmm,"Mr. Wonderful said sipping a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. 
"They're looking good."
"Big and round."
"When can we eat them?"

When it comes to home improvement projects everyone wants them to be finished yesterday. And when I say "everyone" I mean "me". When it comes to home-garden produce everyone wants it be be grown and picked last week. And when I say "everyone" I mean Mr. Wonderful. The man is so patient in countless facets of his life: he can work in an unpainted office; eat in a wet-plaster walled kitchen; and live in a total disaster zone but he cannot wait the 126 days for the veggie plants to produce edible veggies to be cooked and consumed by his veggie-loving self.

Argh! Gourmets! 

That's why it's up to me for 126 days to do the watering, weeding and mulching. For 126 days I'm in stealth mode trying to fend him off from picking the veggies before they're ready. For 126 days I sneak out in the morning before work and the evenings after work to make sure that Mr. Wonderful hasn't plucked the artichokes, tomatoes or squash before it's time. As a famous megalomaniac once said, "I will pick no veggies before it's time." Or maybe it was an actor playing a megalomaniac? Anyway, for 126 days I protected the artichokes until they were ready. Then I cut the flowers, steamed and served them to Mr. Wonderful.

He made a mustard vinaigrette. Then we peeled off the dry outer petals, plucked off the meaty inner petals and dipped them into the vinaigrette letting our teeth scrape the meat off the petal. Finally we removed all the petals and got to the hidden heart of the artichoke. With fork and knife we dipped the artichokes into the vinaigrette and ate those tasty hearts. Their flavor was nutty and so worth nurturing and protecting for 126 days.

"Very good," Mr. Wonderful said laying his fork and knife across his artichoke-less plate.
"I'm glad we planted artichokes this spring," I said refolding my clothing napkin.
"They're a lot of work to grow and eat."
"But the nutty flavor is so worth it."
"Can't we eat more tomorrow?"

Argh! Gourmets!