Eating Figs Till They Come Out of My Ears

Every so often the local Trader Joe’s, bless their trendy little asses, front–and-centers a display of some gargantuan amount of fruit for a ridiculous price and last week it was figs. I bought a flat — sleek, dusty California Mission figs, their dry black pelts shading into a pornographic blush  before fading into the green nub of stem. They are full of gravelly seeds that slide over the tongue but stick in your teeth. I pop the skins against my palate before pulling the stem off. I could eat these things until I skittered myself.

There is this thing about eating fruits and vegetables that go back to the Bible, Homer, Thucydides. Olives do it to me too, the funkier and more cured the better. You feel as if, savoring the zest of them with eyes tight shut, you might open and gaze on an Athenian market or the streets of Pompeii.

Oliver Cromwell cultivated bergamot (the wonderful herb that gives the savor to Earl Grey tea; Andrew Marvell tells us so). Ophelia explained to us that rosemary is for remembrance  (there is a plot of it on my front walk, which looks nigh unkillable, and stains your hands with an aromatic spiciness if you so much as stroke your fingers through it), so you can ride that sprig of greenery back into the sixteenth century.

I eat fruit and snuff herbs and tumble backward down the strands of my DNA. History is lurking in our palates and olfactory bulbs. And there are damn fools out there eating doughnuts and pizza.

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20 thoughts on “Eating Figs Till They Come Out of My Ears

  1. I agree!

    Try a fig like this–slice the top with two perpendicular cuts like a cross so it sort of opens like a flower. Spread in a little cream cheese and then pour in some honey. If you like you can put some crushed walnuts or slivered almonds on top. Let me know what you think!

  2. oh yes, yes! I agree. I feel the same every time I eat a banana and remember how Alexander the Great introduced them to Europe from his vast Eastern peregrination of conquest… as well as more recent stories from my parents generation who were children in the early 50’s when rationing was still in force in Britain of their first encounters with bananas once the ‘colonies’ were able to export them once again.

    • One of the pleasantest moments I’ve had in the last few years involved a teenage friend who helps me around the house occasionally for pocket money. When we cleaned up the garden patch one year there was a kohlrabi still in the ground, and she ran inside with it, cleaned it up and ate it raw. She had never seen such an exotic looking vegetable.

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