Friday, August 22, 2014

sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar

There are many disappointments in life.  A small one is that Sigmund Freud most likely never made the comment above -- that symbols often are nothing more than the thing they are.  Making them, well, not even symbols.

That is too bad.  The cigar quotation is about the only thing I find the least bit interesting in what Freud was supposed to have said and written.

Whatever its provenance, I thought of the pity observation yesterday as I was shopping my way through the delivery of fresh produce at Hawaii -- my favorite local grocery.  And the pickings were good.

I grabbed a box of cherry tomatoes, a couple of onions, a brace of peppers (red, yellow, and jalapeño), and some incredibly aromatic garlic.  Looking at my basket, I started thinking what I could whip together out of this vegetable trove.

Whenever I start this process, I usually have one default: pasta.  I knew I had a packet of boutique spaghetti that I purchased a couple of weeks ago in Manzanillo.  We do not get Italian pasta around here regularly, and I had grabbed it when I saw it - knowing that it would most certainly be gone on my next visit.

Pasta is not a good choice on hot, humid days.  The boiling water adds exactly the same ingredients to the air that we have an overabundance of in the summer.  But, for a good pasta dish, I will even put up with a spike in humidity. 

It is fortunate that a recent rain storm has kept our humidity down in the 60% range.  That is almost heaven for this time of year.

The great thing about vegetable pasta is that they are a snap to make.  While the pasta was boiling, I
sautéed the chopped vegetables (without the tomatoes) until they were tender.  I then poured the drained spaghetti into the pan and added the tomatoes.  Plus a couple of healthy handfuls of kalamata olives I had in the refrigerator.

The result was superb.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been some Greek feta.  And, because I have enough spaghetti to hold me until I fly to London, I will head to Hawaii later this afternoon to spruce up the pasta with a bit of cheese.

Last Saturday in what you dig is what you eat, I claimed to be an inadvertent
"locavore" -- a person who will only eat food grown within 100 miles of the dining table.  I was rather smug in the belief that I had fallen into a new trendy foodie category without even trying.

When I bought my produce, I asked Alex, the owner, where the vegetables were grown.  I thought he was going to say around Melaque.

He didn't.  He told me that they came from all over Mexico.  Guanajuato.  Zacatecas.  The environs of Guadalajara.  Other than the pineapple and bananas, nothing was local.  Apparently, the summer is our "winter" season when it comes to vegetables.

In truth, I would not have cared if they had come from Huron, South Dakota.  They were delicious. 

One of my best discoveries here has been the cherry tomatoes.  They are sweet and juicy, and taste like tomatoes once did.  Unfortunately, the skins are a bit liked popped balloons.  But we all need a little latex fiber in our diets.  In this case, that there are no perfect tomatoes.

And, as far as that cigar goes: "No, thanks.  I don't smoke."  Not even, symbolically.


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