The thing about summer is that all of the veggies are amazing.
It’s July now. So I can drive up the street to the local farmstand where I can buy fresh, buttery lettuce, fresh peas, tomatoes still warm from the sun, cucumbers that are as crisp as breadsticks.
I can run up to the weekly farmer’s market and get garlic scapes, fresh spring onions, tender, fresh kale.
I can go home and microwave some beets, then cool them and mix them into all those fresh, tender greens with a bit of goat cheese.
I am the healthiest eater in the world from June through October.
But does all that delicious green goodness buy me extra time on this earth if I refuse to touch salad in the winter?
I mean, I try. Every single year, I try to eat salad in the winter. I buy grocery store lettuce (bitter!) and grocery store cukes (flabby!) and grocery store tomatoes (tasteless!). And they sit in the fridge until they begin to liquify, at which point I give up until the following summer.
So am I still healthy if I sort of stock up for six months? Can I still call myself a healthy eater if I only eat roasted carrots, beets, potatoes through the fall? Is it still a good veggie side dish if it’s roasted butternut squash with butter and real maple syrup?
My theory is that New Englanders learned to eat a whole pile of greens all summer (I DO!). And then they learned to preserve summer veggies like corn and tomatoes and beans (I DO THAT, TOO!) so in the winter they could eat pig fat while telling themselves “Well, at least we have veggies put up in the old root cellar.” (YUP, THAT’S ME.)
The early New England settlers managed to survive without eating hothouse tomatoes. They didn’t die of scurvy just because they refused to eat hothouse kale.
And I won’t either.
By shucking the corn and taking the peas out of their pods all spring and summer, I am earning my way into ‘healthy eater’s heaven’, aren’t I?
I love summer food. The peaches, the cherry tomatoes, the ripe berries all over the yard. I love it. I could forage all summer on the garden delights that surround me, as long as I could get a free pass to eat pork and butter my bread all winter long.
What do you think?
Am I delusional, or can I really save up my health points before the cold New England nights set in once again?