Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wading In Jell-O

Everything took longer than usual...one of those days when it felt like I was wading through Jell-O, going against the current, moving ahead but not getting there very fast.  The thermometer down in Diamond Springs announced triple digits.  Summer has indeed arrived.  I must have blinked and missed spring entirely.  Going to the grocery store just once a month has its drawbacks.  Just as with the rapid onset of summer, one can't gradually acclimate to the rising prices, most evident in the produce department.  There was a bin of the most delicious-looking apricots...at just under three dollars a pound!

I was spoiled as a kid because my mother had planted an orchard full of plums, peaches, figs, cherries, guavas, oranges, lemons, a loquat, and apricots.  Fresh fruit was there for the picking.  In the summer, we and my sister's family would go down to Huntington Beach in southern California where there was a picnic area on the beach.  There were gas stoves that a couple of quarters fired up to cook dinner.  My niece and nephews and I would play in the sand while the grownups fixed the meal.  The menu was always the same.  Halibut fresh from the sea from Sam's Seafood, crispy fried potatoes, steamed green beans, and apricot pie.  My mother and my sister each made one, and I was hard pressed to say which I preferred.  Mother's crust was thin and flaky; my sister's was thicker but with more flavor.  Both used lard and butter.  Apricot pie with whipped cream...it just said Summer.

Standing by the apricots in the store, those childhood memories came flooding back.  But three dollars a pound?!  Besides, I was running late.


Kathryn said...

I'm glad you resisted the temptation, altho since you live not so far from the central valley, they MIGHT have been good apricots, but I've NEVER bought one that comes close to the ones we grew in Costa Mesa...not that our tree was anything special, but there is NOTHING like a fresh apricot right from the tree. I planted a tree here last year, got 36 fantastic apricots my first year...and then the tree died - or I killed it. An elderly Japanese neighbor, who farmed and landscaped his whole working life, says it probably had a case of "wet feet" due to our soil and my overwatering...thinking it wasn't getting enough. Now maybe you can make a good apricot pie with store-bought apricots, but I bet they would never taste as good as when you picked them from the tree your mom planted. If you can't tell, I am passionate about apricots eaten right from the tree...and dinner cooked right on the beach would make it perfection...altho I've only had hotdogs cooked at the beach. Ah...memories...and my mom used Crisco, but raved about someone's crust when that person used lard. My dwarf navel orange tree died too - that's the other fruit that just I swoon for right from the tree. I found a perfect source at a local market...now I just need to find an apricot tree and see if the owners want to sell some fruit :-)

alexandra/sandy said...

about apricots right off the tree...oh, how i wish k and d had retained apricot picking rights when they sold their home in cm...as i still miss the opportunity to enjoy fresh picked apricots...true - nothing compares...