describing

Now is the time of summer when the harvest of all colors begins, and I arrive home from the farmer’s market with a full basket of gorgeous fresh food…

It’s all I can do to get from one meal to the next without wanting to experiment with the freshness of it all. One of my favorite things has always been to make a bowlful of crunchy fresh things with a light easy dressing, to be eaten as is, or added to a grain for a full meal. Today’s bowlful begins with the abundantly fresh cucumbers (first thing put in the bottom of the basket!), then some seasonal snap peas cut into pieces (they’re there too, also hidden!), a large firm organic fuji apple that is calling from the bin, a handful of fresh basil from my kitchen garden sliced into thin ribbons, some walnuts, the leftover avocado half, and the half can of garbanzo beans in the fridge. It is tossed with the lightest amount of good quality olive oil (the good stuff that gets sent to me from The Olive Press in California, an annual gift I receive from my brother Rob each year) to just barely cover, a liberal squeeze of fresh lemon juice, some sea salt & pepper…

It is delicious! Each part is distinct and contributes robustly. The snap peas are plump and full of flavorful moisture, the cucumbers supremely crisp, the avocado perfectly green and soft, the walnuts simply deliciously raw, the apple surprisingly sweet and juicy crunchy fresh, the garbanzo beans adding a bit of soft contrast, and the basil, subtly pungent in smell more than taste, completes this particular foray into the world of fresh….

I am now a child and have just finished describing some delicious meal at our family table. All eyes on me as I wax poetic about the taste sensation of whatever is there and I then see my mother’s smile and father’s amusement at how passionately and unabashedly and expressively I offer my description. It has always been this way and memory simply reinforces how easy it is now still to express the joy felt in connecting with and describing something as simple and profound as a perfectly fresh apple or cucumber…smile.

The beauty of these crunchy ‘chopped’ style salads is that the leftovers are as good the next day. Adding some cooked quinoa adds both taste and texture and makes a complete and satisfying meal. And up close?

A bowlful of art, of complementary shapes and colors and textures, a tapestry of food that couldn’t possibly be anticipated until this moment in the making….and then realize that seeing and describing food this way is what brings me back to an innocence that simply feels good….

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