What an awesome week!
I graduated high school some thousands of days ago. When I was in high school, my mom cooked for me and my family, and she was really picky about the ingredients she go for the house. She went to the farmer's market, hand picked the best produce, she would pick the chicken (still clucking, none of this plastic wrapped boneless stuff) that we would have for dinner etc. On occasion, we would go berry picking in the spring. The frustrating part about berry picking was that the berries would be rotting and moldy within a day or 2 of picking them. So, while in high school, and berry picking, I learned it was better to taste test 3 and pick one, and only take a few home and eat them before they rot.
So last weekend, I learned something new about berries, and just in time. The fun part was who I learned it from! Out of the blue, my old prom date (and his family) called me, after not seeing him for some thousands of days, since the last day of high school, him and his fam were making the 1000+ mile trip to Nashville to spend part of their summer vacation touring the delights of the South! The prom date and his fam arrived on Saturday, and we did touristy stuff like get Nashville Hot Chicken at 400 Degrees
, Country Music Hall of Fame
, RCA Studio B, City House
for dinner by Tandy Wilson, a 5 years out of 5 years nominated for a James Beard Best Chef, and of course seeing the full scale replica of the Parthenon and Athena
. But before my old buddy arrived in Nashville, I was up at the West Farmer's Market picking up my CSA and nearly a gallon of fresh, local, organic, ripe strawberries from Foggy Hollow Farm
. I had so many berries, I had to share with my old buddy. So, I sent them off with two baggies of berries. As my old prom date looked at my fresh, local, organic berries that were picked on Friday, and already showing signs of distress, he said, "Ya know, a quick dilute vinegar rinse stops the berries from getting moldy and you can keep the berries all week."
I said, "What?!" with whole hearted interest, and wonder. Then I thought - how did I not ever know this for thousands of days, since I was kid! I also thought that he must hold all the secrets of food! I had to know MORE! So, for the berries, it is super easy, gently place berries in a bowl with 1 part vinegar and 3 to 10 parts water; drain, rinse, dry and store in the fridge
. Then, before the old prom date and fam left for their hotel for the night, they sprung on me a whole jug of Dark Amber maple syrup from Massachusetts maple trees! I was elated! Could this day get any better? I have not had real New England maple syrup for thousands of days (since moving to Nashville), and I covet New England maple syrup everyday I live in the south, and now I have the precious golden-amber sweetness in my home again! I learned how to rinse local organic ripe berries to keep them fresh for a week! Mine lasted 6 days before I ate them all, and I had only 1 berry spot a tiny bit of mold. I got to do all the fun things in Nashville, that I normally don't get to do. And I got to see my old prom date thousands of days later! We are both more comfortable in our own skin now, we don't have the zits, the braces are gone, and the teenage-worries are a thing of the past. It was great to see him now because I don't know about you, but my high school days were a bit awkward, braces, bad hair, bad fashion, bad zits, pressure to fit in, pressure to get good grades to get into a good college, standardized tests up the hoo-ha etc and it was basically the same for the old prom date too - awkward. Seriously kids out there, high school is NOT the best time of your life (Don't believe anyone who says it is!!). Being 30+ something with a good education done, and in a good job making money, no braces, no more zits, no more standardized tests, no more classes, no more final exams, most of the student loans paid off, and being able to afford yummy food and vacation is the best time of my life!
I had so much fun with the old prom date and his fam. When they rolled out to head to Memphis to see the Pyramid, Beale St, taste some of the best BBQ, and hear some Stax Music history, I looked like this :-/. I certainly did not want to see them go, and asked if there is any possible way they could move here to be closer to me, but they can't. They mutter something about silly me, house, jobs in New England yadda yadda. And, I am not moving to New England either, I muttered something about too much snow and cold in New England, the Man, house, and jobs here in Nashville. Perhaps on another day, we all can meet up in a vacation location and take part in all the fun things that place has to offer, I can learn more secrets of food, and we enjoy our time together as non-teenagers :). I just hope that "another day" isn't in another thousands of days, but rather sooner.