Friday, December 14, 2007

Will Coffee Nog? Yes!

Nog here goes in the place of cream, making your morning coffee a thick, frothy holiday-flavored beverage. The cinnamon and nutmeg flavors complement fresh coffee, and the nog thickens the broth up, making your morning coffee-nog a hearty treat. Nothing says Christmas-themed sweaters and holiday cheer like a big steaming glass of nog in the morning.

New Feature: Will It Nog?

It's "the season" again - the season for egg nog. Dairy department employees the world over start stocking the shelves with the thick, creamy, liquid that is as mysterious as it is tasty. What the hell is it? Why does it mingle onto our supermarket shelves only in winter, to go mosey off once the Christmas trees are migrating out to their January dumpsters? It is pointless to ask these questions. They have no answer. It is simply the Rhythm of the universe, enshrined in tradition as surely as the movement of the stars or the passage of the seasons.

To celebrate the glorious winter brew I'm taking this blog out of hiatus. We'll be starting a new section: Will it nog? I'll test popular foodstuffs and ask the important question the MAINSTREAM MEDIA are afraid to ask: will it taste good with nog?

Suggestions for foodstuffs can be left in the comments.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Peach # 100: Peaches in the summertime, apples in the fall.

After my dinner, I had the perfect idea for desert. It's a really simple recpie, and I haven't seen it anywhere before, so here you go, passed from generations of Mackies straight to you:

1 peach

Eat peach.

I've had really great experiences with this recipe. People always ask me for it and I tell them I can't give away my secret. But there was a problem with this night's peach. This peach sucked.

The skin felt rubbery, and when I bit in, I found a green and grainy peach, one with no flavor, edible only to the really desperate. It was par on course for the tasteless, over-priced peaches I've become used to in Minneapolis.

But this wasn't just any peach. I looked at it, a gash in the fruit from where I'd bitten, a medallion of flesh dangling from a couple threads of skin. And I felt such a surge of bother and worry, the same sort of feeling I get when my room's not clean and I know there must be something I can do to set things right, only I didn't know what to do. Here I was, my hundredth peach in hand, and it sucked, the peach of all peaches, the culmination of a summer's worth of eating.

And the feeling reminded me of how summer itself was slipping away. Now when I wake up and the mornings are gray as pencil shavings, I can't help but turn my sleepy mind towards the passing summer. And more than the heat or anything, I think about the sheer possibility in an American summer. The season whispers a promise both of laziness and growth. We get to slack off in our jobs, go on vacation, be free. But at the same time, we face a world wealthy with possibility and girls in swim suits. While we've toiled all winter, now we get to harvest, now we get to eat.

But now - it's no longer summer. Winter will soon be here, the girls will put away their camisoles and bundle themselves up. We'll forget the barbeques, the beers; we'll forget the holidays; we'll watch the snow and wait until Christmas.

And here I am, with a bad peach.

Look at the photo above. Notice how the flesh looks a bit dull. That's not a trick of the light - in real life, the peach looked almost ashen. And tasted that way. And look at my poor face! This was one bad peach.

I wanted to be angry. I wanted to be able to blame somebody. But the worst part was that I couldn't do any of that. I could only sit there, feeling like I had lost out, that I had finally gotten invited to the biggest, coolest party ever and I'd left at two or three in the morning after hanging out awkwardly on the sidelines, knowing that I was out of place - that I didn't belong.

So that's it, my hundredth peach. A success of sort.

So keep your eyes open because soon I'll be posting a little peach retrospective, and give some clues about what will happen to this blog now that the peach project is finished. And thanks for sticking with me for this long!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Peach # 100: Preview?

Is this Peach 100? I don't know. I thought it might be. It sat in its paper bag for a day, two days, and today I reached in to touch it. The flesh felt almost elastic, the skin had a couple unsightly discolorations to it - and worst of all - the peach had no smell. I've found that fragrence is the most reliable measure of quality in a peach. A peach that you can't smell when you stick your nose right up to the skin usually isn't a good peach. So now I'm worried. I don't want this peach to be horrible. I want it to be a good peach. So maybe tonight, after work, I'll go to the produce asile and search for a new peach. Or maybe I'll bit the bullet and realize, hey I'm trying to get peaches in mid-September. Of course they'll suck. Even if it is the ultimate peach, the crowning piece of stone-fruit in my peach-blogging empire.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Wedge: Alright In My Books

If you've been following this blog closely, you'll have noticed that I've been molested by some really truly bad peaches recently. The past two batches - both bought from the same supermarket - turned out brown, mealy, and just about as rancid as you could imagine, every single one of them. I ate a lot of bad peaches, which for me - well, really puts me in a bad mood. It's like I've been on bad date after bad date after bad date - so many that I now don't know what a good date, or, er, a good peach looks like! (Got tangled up in metaphors for a second there, sorry!)

So I went down to the offending supermarket today, the Wedge. The Wedge is an upscale hippy-de-doo-dah place abou a block away from my house. I approached the customer service desk with a bit of hesitation, but once I told them my story, they were really nice and understanding - they said they'd gotten a lot of similar complaints and had changed supplier. They weighed up the number of peaches we I'd bought and gave me a full refund. Which is nice. I mean, it sure as hell doesn't make up for the awful peaches I forced into my gastric system, but it's something. I picked up some victuals and a block of chocolate for my roomie, because sometimes it's just nice to have chocholate given to you at inopportune times.

I nearly bought a new batch of peaches, too - but I stopped myself. The next peach I eat will be that special number 100. And while the people at the Wedge assured me that they'd switched suppliers, I'm not going to run the risk of eating another bad peach. Not again.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Peaches #s 96-99: Same Old Song And I Sure Don't Like The Tune

So here's the tune: I get a bunch of peaches, wait until they seem ripe. I wait until they look like your usual tasty peach: the flesh firm, but the skin has a bit of give to it. Then I find the inside of the peach is the worst possible peach-inside you can imagine. The word to remember is grainy. The flesh is often deep red and even gray. They taste, these peaches, nastier than any other peach I have eaten in my entire life. One peculiar phenomena - their skin breaks easily, like wet paper. They are disappointing, icky peaches - peaches from hell.

The last twenty or so peaches I've had have been like this. Now, it may be that the peaches in Minneapolis are horrible. It may be that the growing season is ending and so I'm eating the worst of the corp. But I also bought every single one of these peaches from a local organic grocery store. This particular grocery store, The Wedge, is a hip and pricey cooperative a block away from my house. Tomorrow, in investigative peach-blogger fashion, I'll go down to the customer service desk and talk to them about their horrible peaches and try to find out where the come from and why they're more nasty than peachy. I mean, there are other peach lovers out there who have been burned by this batch, and someone needs to stand up for them. Expect citizen-peach-journalism at its finest.

I'll also head down to another grocery store and find the best looking peach I can find. It will be the last peach of the season. I mean really, I love peaches more than any other food. But I haven't eaten an orange this summer, or strawberries, or even an apple. I'm looking forward to some variety!

If anybody out there has any ideas of how I can celebrate this legendary peach, or record it, drop it in the comments box. This might also be a good time to say hello.

So in the next couple of days keep a look-out for peach 100. It'll be a grand affair. I'm thinking fireworks, live videoblogging, excessive use of internet thesauruses, pictures, flash animations, the whole works. I will leave no gimmick unturned in recording the 100th peach. That's what you can expect from this, the clearinghouse for peach-blogging news.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pecach Contraband

News just in from boingboing!

A Massachusetts State Senator and his family were held up by boarder security. Why? Were they carrying pudding? did they refuse to take off their shoes? were they taking illegal immigrants in their suitcases?

No. Peaches.

His daughter was carrying three peaches.

Their passports were taken and they were given a three hundred dollar fine.

That 100 dollars a peach.

I hope they were worth it!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Peaches #s 89-95: The Great Peach Massacre of September, 2007

Oh, my friends I write today a broken and desperate man: my dreams are shattered, my cities in ruins, life - which was once such a sweet symphony - is now nothing but a low, depressed drone. I do not know how it came to this, how I have been so reduced!

The thing is, I ate peaches today.

They were the worst batch of peaches I had in my life.

Every single one of them was grainy, near putrid mess of guck. They should not be called peaches. They certainly should not have been sold to me. They were dark red and sloppy. They were unsweet and left a horrible residue on my mouth, not a lot different from how your palate feels after you've just vomited.

Five peaches left. And this, this is what I get for dawdling and forcing myself to gorge on the last of the year's crop. I get the worst peaches in the universe.

I can't even explain to you how bad these peaches were. They didn't taste like peaches - the best of them didn't taste like anything, at all more than soft guck. But they were so bad, towards the end I was almost thankful. These peaches, the good ones, were so bad that I would write angry angry blog posts about them in the past. Now. Well, the worst of them... I think, literally, I might be sick.

I am actually really upset. If you were waiting for a time to go out and buy me chocolates or anything, now would be it.

I hope that I eat one more good peach before the end. Just one is all I'm asking.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Peaches #s 87-88: Bad Omens

Image from Clearly Ambiguous' Flickr page.

In preparation for the final peach stretch I got myself a huge bag of peaches, put them in an out-of-the-way place so they could ripen, and warned my roommate (who is very nice by the way) not to touch them on pain of a slow death. Last night, getting more and more excited about eating the peach 100, I checked the newest batch for any that felt ripe enough to be edible. To my surprise I found two that were perfect. Just the right amount of softness, and I could catch a heady fragrance to them when I sniffed. So I took these two peaches to my room for an after-dinner snack.

The first peach was unpalatable and, worse, grainy. I've only had one or two peaches in the past 86 that have been grainy, and it's the absolute worst thing a peach can do. It's like a peach getting into death metal. Eating a grainy peach is like eating a bag of slimy sand. I started spitting and didn't stop spitting until I couldn't taste the bad peach anymore.

So number 87 sucked. There was always 88.

But this peach was even worse! It, too was grainy. And what made it even more horrible was that it tasted okay - it tasted, for all intents and purposes, like a real peach. I could tell that if it hadn't gone all bad on me it might've been a decent peach. But no such luck.

I wonder if this means that, this late in the growing season, I'll have nothing but bad peaches until I reach the very end. Here's hoping that doesn't happen.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Truth About Cafe Food

Photo from Malabarista Lunar's Flickr page.

I've just taken my brekkie at a local caffeine-hawkery called the Boiler Room, and I have come up with a new rule for myself: never eat in a cafe, or if you do end up eating in a cafe - you'd better have a good excuse. Cafes are for coffee, and flirting, and flirting over coffee, and maybe wifi access, and even perhaps flirting about wifi. But they are not places to have lunch, if you want anything more substantial than a stale bran muffin.

I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich and a large coffee. The sandwich amounted to three or four slices of ham, a little cheese, and some spicy mustard melted together all quirkily on a waffle iron. A waffle iron! That's all fine and dandy. But with a price-tag over five dollars, the place should really throw some bougie thing on there to fool me that I might possibly be getting my money's worth - like a sprig of fucking parsley, maybe, or a side-dish that's a little more interesting than stale potato chips. Hasn't the Boiler Room ever heard of goat's cheese? Or arugula? I think that if you're going to rip me off, you can at least put in a good-faith-effort to gussy the dish up so I don't feel like a complete chump. All up my breakfast came to over seven dollars. For that price, if I went to a decent greasy spoon, I could have ordered enough eggs to send me into a coma. I've had better food cooked by hungover high-school students.

The menu at the Boiler Room is less focused on food and more an assholey attempt at twee gimmickry. Their specialty is eggspresso! It's eggs cooked on an espresso machine! (Geddit?) And instead of bacon or ham they offer - get this! - they have spam! How hilarious! Everyone knows that spam is not even legally classifiable as food and nobody would ever want to eat it who's in their right mind! This cafe is so fucking ironic and cool for serving it!

Look, irony might be a cool conceit when you're hanging out at your indie art openings oggling the pretty girls or when you're thinking about what to get your latest face tattoo ("A celtic symbol? Or maybe a 1980s pixelated video-game character?"). But I don't want ironic food. I want something that tastes good. Preferably, I want a dish that surprises me, that overcomes my expectations, that is served with creativity and flash. Whatever you do, don't make my food cool. Or if you make it cool, at least make it taste good, or look good, or have some quality to it above-and-beyond coolness.

But don't give me spam and then charge me over five dollars for that spam because you're creative and edgy. Bad food - even when it preciously admits that it's bad food - is still bad food.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Peach # 86: Epic Peach

I was sitting on the floor of my new apartment yesterday, finishing off a pretty massive peach gorge. I was eating with a sense of purpose. Every pit I threw into the garbage I was one step closer. Every bite I took I bit closer - to triumph.

But the peaches that I was eating, well, they were not terribly triumphant. To say the least.

Here's a sad fact that the Twin Cities Tourism Board will not tell you when you're planning a trip here: I haven't yet eaten a good peach here. I'm happy when I eat a peach and it doesn't make me want to die. And that's rare enough. Maybe it's getting too late in the season, or maybe it's just that the Minnesota peaches suck. I don't know. But I was sitting on my floor yesterday, finishing up a nice batch of five peaches, when I realized that I hadn't really enjoyed any of them. But then again, I'm getting close to my goal.

So here's the question I'm going to pose to you guys, and I'll seriously follow the best one: WHAT SHOULD I DO FOR MY FINAL PEACH? Should I have a party? Should I invite people over for dinner? Should I do it naked? At work? While swimming? Should I do it in a boat? Would I could I in a moat? These questions are important. Help me answer them.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Peach # 81: A Helping Peach

Photo from Phil Romans' Flickr page.

It was a day scraped from the bottom of the barrel of hot August days, gritty and lazy. I decided to beat the malaise by taking a walk down to a nearby lake, dribbling along in the water for a while, and having a snack of peaches after I was done.

I haven't had too many good peaches lately. Most have been so bad that they're almost bitter, and when I've chanced on a good peach, it's never been delicious, only edible - which is a change, certainly, but nothing to jump up and down and scream about. But that day, in the last of the August heat, I knew that I was going to have a good peach. I had to - everything else was perfect, so I was going to have a good peach.

On my way to the lake I saw a homeless man standing in the middle of the street holding a cardboard sign up to passing drivers. I turned away and didn't bother to read what the sign said. It was hot out,r andin the middle of the busy street your atmosphere was a thick soup of charred exhaust fumes and mingling with the ozone of rush-hour-angry traffic. The man had a modern prosthetic leg and an overgrown soul-tash. He looked like he could have stumbled out the back door of any college dorm or frat house, ready to make an inappropriate joke about a girl's breasts or sing along to a 311 song desperately out of tune, but then had a couple too many pitchers and somehow gotten lost for a couple days and fallen on some hard times. But here he was, missing a leg, begging on the street. They must have been some hard time.

I usually don't give anything to homeless people for a simple reason: I'm so poor myself I never have spare change. But something about this guy touched me. I had to give him something. So I handed him a peach. He smiled, revealing decayed stumps of teeth.

And then after my swim, when I was laid out on my bath-towel, a good book cracked open across my bare chest, mottled sunlight falling on me - in as picturesque position you could hope for, is what I'm saying - I took a bite of my eighty-first peach. It was another disappointment: chalky, and so bitter it almost made me pucker. I spat the rest of it out into the trash can and didn't bother to even try to eat the rest of the peach. But then, as I was settling back on my towel to peer through another chapter or two, I realized: that homeless guy probably doesn't have the luxury of spitting out his bad peaches. Which is sad. It's sad if life makes you eat a bad peach.

Last night I devoured a burrito at a bus-stop on my way to say goodbye to a friend who's moving country today. A couple minutes after the burrito had been masticated and deposited in my stomach I realized that I hadn't spent the time to actually taste it. I lingered, then, over my memory of that burrito - I recognized that the salsa had an overpowering oniony taste to it, that the flour tortilla was too soft, I felt the chicken against my palate again, sweet and soft - I tasted the burrito again, but really tasted it, and it felt like I was tasting it for the first time.

There can be so much beauty in eating. But when we're so poor that we survive only on cans of tuna or animal crackers, eating can be a flat annoyance, on the same level as a bad cough that creeps up on you when you're not thinking about it. So I think it is one of the better comforts in life to be able to be picky about your food, to be able to savor it, love it, and when the time comes - to spit it out if it sucks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Peachy Meeting

Three peach lovers stood around the peach-pile at a supermarket. They circled the fruit, squeezing them and then only occasionally lifting them to their nose to take in a deep whiff at which point they would inevitably put the fruit back and look for riper prey.

“Have you had these peaches?” One of the peach-lovers asked.

“From Colorado? They’re good.” The second chimed in.

“A bit expensive,” number one said. “But they’re out of the California peaches.”

“I was just in Colorado,” the third piped up. “The peaches there were fantastic.”

The three went back to selecting their fruit in silence for a moment. The first peacher sniffed a peach, and for a moment it looked like she would put it in her plastic bag, but she hesitated, sniffed again, and then put it back in the pile with a bit of disdain. “Not ripe,” she said.

“Didn’t think they had peaches in Colorado,” the second said.

The third nodded. “They grow good peaches up there, the Western slope.”

This was serious business, and another thirty seconds or so before any of them broke the silence of their work to talk.

“It’s just so hard,” the third stuttered, “because when you eat a bad peach.”

“Yeah,” the first peach lover said, “the peach, among all fruits, is the one that is most temperamental. When you eat a bad peach…”

The second peach-aficionado picked up the thread: “It is like you have lost your job. A good one.” But she just shook her head and, in a sudden impulse, put another peach in her plastic produce bag after only barely sniffing it.

“A good peach,” the third said, “then it’s like nothing else, you can’t believe it.”

And with that, they returned to their task.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Peach # 66: This Is What It's All About

There was a single peach left in the glass bowl propped amid the clutter of my desk, and the peach - swelling, round, with its burnt red skin touched in places with beams with sunset yellow - reminded me of what this peach project was all about. Instead of going straight up to the peach and gobbling it down, knowing that it would be peach number 66, I instead just looked at it.

Then I took slow, calm bites, watching the juice swell from the exposed flesh, bead, and then fall down the peach's skin. I tore off bites of peach and looked at the texture of the flesh, how it looked like fabric, almost. And then I slid them into my mouth.

And it was a good peach. But maybe one of the things about eating a peach that I've forgotten about is that a peach can be good or bad, sure - but it's up to you when you eat the damned thing to realize that what you're eating is actually tasty. What I'm talking about is tasting the peach actively, energetically, felling your mouth wrap around each and every bite. That a good peach eaten badly will not be a good peach; and likewise? would a bad peach eaten well be a good peach?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Peach # 61: Morning Peach

I wanted to start the morning right. So, finding that a couple of my peaches had ripened, I thought to supplement my breakfast with some nice stone-fruit. But, just a couple feet outside my door I bit into this - only my second peach in the Twin Cities - and found it unripe, sour, and inedible. Which meant that I held the damned half-bitten thing in my hand for a couple blocks, embarassed, until I could find a trashcan. And what's worse, the taste of it would not leave my mouth until I basically gargled with coffee, so I spent the entire bus-ride to work with the nasty peach juices marinating my tongue.

Now, a lot of my friends think I'm a bit wimpy for counting these horrible peaches in my peach-tally. They think that, in the interest of peach-ography, that I should eat the whole damned thing. But I can't imagine that. I have nothing but pity for people who, on eating a nasty peach, think that they have to finish it. If I did, then I would just vomit. Everywhere.

The Twin Cities peaches suck. I don't know, maybe it's the hot weather, or my house, of something, but my peaches go from being unripe inedible hard things to rotten inedible muhsy messes without ever lingering in-between for an hour to actually be tasty ripe peaches. I'm getting fed up. So far I've eaten two bad peaches, and thrown out seven rotten peaches. This has to end. Now.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Too Many Vietnamese Places!

Seriously. The Corner near my house has not one, not two, but three Vietnamese places on it. It's crazy! I wonder if the owner's are all friends and play cards together, swapping economical recipes, or whether they all hate each other, or simply think that having three Vietnamese places on one corner is just, you know, normal.

Friday, August 10, 2007

And Then There Were None

So this, my most recent haul of peaches - sucked. Every time I looked at the pile of peaches, every single peach was still unripe. Except, that is, for the one peach that was - inevitably - rotten. And this morning I had one peach left. was going to eat it on my way to work and write about how wonderful it is to eat a peach first thing in the morning, on your way to work, and how it made your entire day wonderful. But I couldn't. Because guess what? when I went downstairs I found the peach - which was completely unripe yesterday - covered in nasty mold. This means, out of a batch of five peaches, I ate one peach which sucked and threw away four. This, my loyal peach-readers, does not bode well for Minnesota's peach haul. Neither does it bode well for my peach project. I have, what? Forty peaches to munch on before the end of the season, right? And not much season left.

This means it's time for some serious peach-eating.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Peach # 60: DO NOT WANT

Things take on a certain delicacy when you're a newcomer. There is so much unknown that anything from getting a bite to eat to your first day at work can feel like a discovery; and so, after a while you are tired of the new discoveries, and you just want something whose dimensions are familiar. Because you do not need much delicacy when dealing with familiar things. You can, you know, let it all hang out.

And then at the same time, you have days full of firsts. Your first breakfast in the new place, your first newspaper - your first peach.

I ate my first peach of the Twin Cities in the pristine kitchen of the Utne offices, as part of an extended snack that covered for my lunch. I had bought five peaches from the local hippy grocers, but one had not survived the car-ride home, so I picked the softest, ripest peach from the bunch, put it in a plastic bag with the rest of my meager lunch and headed out.

I first cut out the bruises and then took my first bite, nervous, for one, because it was a peach; also nervous because I'm new to the office and feel - quite rightly - that I am acting the proper part of an awkward but cheerful intern. I was also kinda hoping that my peach obsession had filtered around the office and someone would come up to me and say: Oh wow, you are eating a peach, how is it? and I would get to act authoritative, like a real blogger.

The peach tasted fine. It was sweet, but with an almost bitter aftertaste. The problem was that the peach was incredibly grainy. It had the consistency of mishandled Styrofoam. I tried to continue eating the poor peach, but I just couldn't do it, and so I threw the offending stonefruit half-eaten into the trash.

But what does this say for my life in the Twin Cities? I am trying my best, this time around, to be very open and social - to have, frankly, a peachy time. But it's hard, especially since these first couple days afford me a whole bag of excuses why tonight I can't go out, why today I can do a little bit less than I want to. I hope that this does not become a metaphor.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Peaches # 54-59: Not As Bad As I Thought. Not Bad At All.

So after those horrible, soul crushing peaches I gave a small shudder whenever I passed the fruit bowl and tried to ignore the batch of peaches as best I could. But my grandma, watchful as she is, kept on reminding me that the peaches were getting riper and riper and that soon they wouldn’t be good anymore.

Well. The last ones could never be good. But I was stuck. I had to eat them sometime. The surprising thing was that they were good. Every single peach was good. And I’m not saying that they were okay, or that they were good compared with the last couple of peaches – I’m saying they were some damned good peaches.

The first peach of this batch I ate and kept on telling myself that it was a bad peach, too mushy, almost disintegrating in my mouth. But then, about halfway through, I realized that I was just being squeamish, and the peach was nicely ripe, if a bit soft around the skin.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Peaches # 52 and 53: MONSTER PEACH

My grandma, whose tastebuds have been napalmed from a whole life of cigarettes, told me that the peaches she’s been getting in Florida this summer have been really really amazing. I went and believed her, because I like to believe in amazing peaches, and so as soon as I landed in Florida I scurried over to the local supermarket’s produce section to see what I could see. I mean, I’m staying with my grandmother, in a place with cable TV and no internet, so I was expecting to do nothing but eat. And being a peach maven, I should damned well eat some peaches.

Well. These particular peaches did not look enticing at all. Especially after the heavenly peaches I had been gobbling from Morton’s. They were bigger than apples, and I felt them – and while the little sign said TREE RIPE, READY TO EAT they were hard I could tell they’d have about as much taste as peach-flavored water. I brought each peach up to smell them, and they smelled like nothing. But hey, they were on sale. So I bought ten.

Yesterday, two of the peaches seemed ready. But they weren’t. Because these peaches would never be ready. Saying these peaches are ready is like saying you’re ready for a colonoscopy. Sure, it might be time to eat these peaches: but it will never ever be right. The first peach was bad enough. It was mealy without being soft, and tasted almost fermented without being sweet. After I was done the taste – the gassy, sour taste of failure – just would not leave my mouth.

But nothing could prepare me for the next peach.

I felt it, and while the skin had a bit of give, I could tell that the flesh itself wasn’t yet soft. But whatever. I bit into it.

And I was mistaken, for a moment, into thinking that I had bit into a plastic peach. It had no flavor to speak of. It was like chewing plastic. It was like chewing flavorless gum.

Well, when I eat a bad peach, it does something to me, and this morning I woke up and just couldn’t bare the idea of getting out of bed, because I knew I would have to try to eat one of the next eight peaches. And they, too, would probably suck.

There is a lesson in this, that I will expound upon later: ORGANIC FOOD REALLY – for some reason – TATES A LOT BETTER THAN THE CRAP YOU GET IN MOST GROCERY STORES.

You see, I have pity for all of those overly-tanned Floridians who have never eaten a peach better than these monster peaches, who think that peaches are meant to make you want to kill yourself, who have never actually felt the joy of biting into a peach and having all the juices run down your hands an have it be so beautiful you can’t stop smiling. It’s like they haven’t really lived.

Peaches # 50 and 51: The Goodbye

Alison, an old friend from college and her boyfriend Michael watched as I tossed two overstuffed bags into the backseat of their car. The bags had just about everything that I owned in them. This does not amount to much more than a bunch of clothes, a computer, and some books. It didn’t seem so small when they were in my room, but taken out of my room, folded up into bags, zipped up, and in the back seat of an old station wagon, my life seemed so tiny that it could be upset by just a small breeze. We drove away, and with that my apartment of two and a half months was emptied of everything except dirt.

But before we left, we each ate a peach from Morton’s. My peach was sweet, smooth, and just about the most wonderful peach I could imagine. I waved goodbye to my neighbor’s peach tree, the peaches still green and inedible, and then got in the waiting car.

My next peach I ate I shared with Alison at five in the next morning, as that same car was idling in the terminal of the Denver International Airport. Alison brought along some of her peaches and we ate one each. I felt like the peach I had should be amazing. But while it had a nice texture, and a good, if watery taste, I knew that for that particular peach to really be amazing, it would need to wait a couple days. But of course, it couldn’t wait: I was leaving. When I was done I threw my pit into the garbage can and hoisted my bags on my shoulders, and went through the automatic door that led into the airport, the taste of peach on my tongue.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Peaches 40-48: The Last In Boulder

This morning, my last in Boulder for a long while, I did not pack my things, or visit some scenic location, or say goodbye to my friends. I had a paper bag on my desk, and before I did anything else - before the bags were zipped up, the keys returned, or the dishes washed, that bag would have to have its contents emptied. Into my stomach.

This was the bag of peaches that I bought about a week ago. I'd been waiting all this time for the peaches to get ripe, but today I had to eat them right away, because I don't believe they ;et you take peaches in as carry-on baggage. \I found about three out of four of the peaches were sour and lacked a peachy sweetness. Two peaches from the nine I ate this morning were really beautiful tasting.

I keep on trying to construct a metaphor out of this. Leaving is incredibly hard. And not just the annoying practical things like putting my things away and transporting them a couple states away. It's so difficult to pick up everything that I've known for the past couple months and leave it behind the airport gates. I will close my eyes, take a nap on the plane, and leave in a different world. I don't think that's too much of a stretch or anything.

I suppose I should feel a certain urge to sum up my life here. But as I was watching some cartoons on my computer this morning, cutting away the bruised parts of the latest peach with a plastic knife, depoisting the segments of discarded peach on a sheet of newspaper already havey with peach pits and damp with juice, I didn't think about much. Maybe because there is so much to think about, and so much to do. Maybe it's because right then - I was just eating peaches.

I'll be out of internet contact for about a week, but I will be able to check my e-mail intermittently. I will not be out of peach contact, though. I will return, of course, with more peach adventures.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Peaches 37-39: The Peach Feast That Wasn't

It was the first peach of the day, but it wasmore than that; it was going to be the first peach of a really wonderful peach glut. I had everything I needed. My mouth, an empty stomach, and a nice paper bag buling full of fine farm-fresh peaches. I was about to put my incisors to some serious work damaging this one particular inaugural peach, held out right in front of my waiting mouth, when I put the fruit down and called up a friend to invite her to join me, but only getting this friend's friendly answering phone message, I went to work alone.

The peaches were hard to the touch. Harder than I would've liked. But I feel like time is running out. I leave Boulder on Saturday afternoon. And by then this bag of peaches had better be eaten. And fast.

But this first peach was disappointing. It was hard, unsweet, and tasteless. I had two more, with similar results. We're not talking crunchy here like an apple, but they all lacked the smooshy juiciness so essential - for me - to a good peach experience. I was going to eat the entire bag huge multiple-pound, but after the third peach, I collected the peach pits in a small bowl and slid them into the trash. I have to wait. Still. Maybe my friend can join me on my peach gorge after all.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Peaches 35-36: A pretty pair, a peachly prelude....

Image from BibliOdyssey.

BOULDER, CO. The late afternoon heat was too much for the peach-bloggers of this upscale mountain community, and they set aside their important work to take naps and drink ice water, prolonging a hiatus that has upset many of the blossoming industry's die-hard fans. One prominent writer was barely dressed, even in the late afternoon, because he said "It's so damned hot. How can you expect a creative person like me to work when it's this hot?"

The peach bloggers (or peachloggers, as they are affectionately known) have had a tough couple weeks. Because of an illness that has left most of the industry stuck in bed with bad mood, and an upcoming move, their once regular reports of the quality of peaches have been absent. This has left their legions of fans without the gustatory reports on peaches they had come, this summer, to expect. Said one fan in a complaint to an important writer:
You have 60 more peaches to eat before the end of August, by the way. Don´t think we´re going to let you off the hook on that one. I will denounce your blog on my blog if you fall through on your peach promise.
But eating peaches is hard work. Laying on his bed, sweating, one young up-and-comer explained himself:
Eating peaches, well, it's a huge time commitment. That's what all these people don't understand. You can't just, you know, take a ten minute break from work and pop a couple peaches into your mouth and chew them up and then you have a peach post. I mean, you can. But that's not what they [the consumer's] want. I mean, there's plenty of competition. And we know, you know, the good peach bloggers, that it's not just about numbers, it's about quality. Like, I'm not going to name any names, but the people I'm writing for, they don't want me to talk about how I ate fifty peaches in an hour and ended up puking. They're here for something more. And that quality takes, well - it takes time.
When asked if he had written a peach post that day, that young peachlogger explained that he had spent all morning packing, and had only managed to eat two peaches that day. His batch was not yet ripe, although he reported that the peaches were rather juicy, if not amazing. He would write a post later that afternoon.

Only time will tell if this industry will finally get serious. "Tomorrow," said a respected peachlogger, laughing, "tomorrow we're expecting something special. I can't tell you yet, but we've been lazy for too long now. We're going to make a splash."

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Princely Peach

I started this blog because I loved peaches, but never seemed to eat enough of them. And I never ate enough peaches because I loved them too much. You know how when you really really like a girl you get so nervous that your stomach ties itself up into a knot so complicated it could win a Boy Scout a merit badge - and so you never call her? It's like that. But with peaches.

So what's been up? Well, I've been sick and I'm about to move, so I haven't eaten as many peaches.... As if those are excuses. I think that the two most common blog posts on earth are a) I have a blog! and b) I know I haven't updated this blog in a while but....

So I'll spare you.

I just felt the need to expound on the gracefulness of the peach, the wonderful peach. It is undoubtedly the best fruit ever invented. Think of how boring this blog would be if it were the 100 Carrot Caper? Or the 40 Rib-Roast Romp? Yes. It is only the peach that can be enjoyed so much - so well - too well.... Well enough for a blog.

So here's what you can expect, you, my small enclave of fans and friends: Before I leave for Florida, on the 29th of July, you're going to get: 1 (one) interview with a peach farmer and 20 (twenty) peaches eaten. Before I get to the Twin Cities in the first of August you're going to get a flush of posts about my eating over two-dozen peaches as I sit on the Florida beaches and have nothing better to do but eat. So sit tight. Peaches are only ready when they're ripe.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Peaches #s 30-34: How was your Sunday? Mine was... Peachy.

I went to the Boulder Farmer's market a couple weeks ago, as nervous as a fourteen year-old boy about to meet a girl at the movies and he doesn't know if it's a date or not but god damn he wants it to be a date. My hands were shaking, my mouth was dry, and no matter how fast I walked it didn't seem to be fast enough.

I was nervous because I heard news that there were peaches at the farmer's market. Locally grown, fresh peaches. Sold by real-life friendly peach-farmers. Well. By the time I made it to the farmer's market the peaches were long gone. A line starts to form about an hour before the market opens. Me and the farmers chatted a bit about the heavenly fruit, and I told them about this here blog, and they were a bit tickled that I should have a peach blog.

So, next Wednesday - good old America Day, for those of your keeping track - I made it to the farmer's market early as early could be and got the biggest bag of peaches I could afford and it was all I could talk about all day.

I like my peaches a bit overripe, so I waited until this Sunday morning to eat my wonderful harvest. This morning, butter-knife in hand to cut out the moldy bits, I started my peach odyssey.

I ate four out of six peaches, saving the last two for after dinner. The first peach I ate was good, not great. It was incredibly juicy, though - far juicier than any store-bought peach. It was sweet, and while with most peaches I find that the there are some sections of the peach that are bitter, this was just all around good. The second peach I ate was disappointing. It tasted watery, though it was as juicy as the first peach. It wasn't bad, and only had a slight bitter aftertaste, but it wasn't good.

I thought: damn. There isn't much to write home about these farm-fresh peaches.

Oh, the folly of men! Because I hadn't eaten the next peach, the grand peach, the best damn peach I've had all year: it was sweet, juicy, perfect, and so peachalicious that it made me dizzy with joy. Every bite was good. No. Every bit was GREAT. I couldn't believe my luck. The next peach, while not as good, was still incredibly amazing.

So I sat there in my chair, covered in peach juice, with a funny, blissed-out peach look on my face for five or ten minutes before I could rouse myself out of my chair to do the important tasks of today, like write a post about eating peaches, and wiping the peach juice from around my maw.

It's a hard life I lead, a hard life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Peach # 22: How it's done.

Oh no! The weight of the world is on poor Brendan's shoulders! If you know him well you probably know that look. He's probably thinking about girls again! That's definitely the sour-dog look of a guy who isn't thinking enough about the finer things in life.

Like Peaches! Ah yes... notice the flush of contentment on my cheeks now? This is a record of my first, ecstatic bite - an immediate transportation into peach-land. And then, of course, I start to loose fine muscle control:

I know it isn't pretty. But that's the face of a guy who is ENJOYING himself. Either that or a guy who's just gotten a bit of a lomotomy.

Maybe we should call it a peach-botomy. This, as you can see, is the final bite. You may notice that's there's a bit of peach-flesh dangling very rakishly from my exposed fore-teeth. This sort of debonair attitude is probably, my guess, why the girls are not exactly lining up to me.

But what does it matter, really? When you have peaches! It takes, I'll like to remind you, years of practice as a gourmand to really appreciate the peach experience this much. So: DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME! If you do, I can't be held responsible. Seriously.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Horrors of Eating: ALL YOU CAN EAT!

Last night me and a friend found ourselves on Pearl Street, the very hip, even more gentrified center of Boulder’s commerce, surrounded by so many dining choices we didn't exactly know what to do. There were cheap Kebabs, expensive plates of spaghetti, sushi, pizza, cafés, burritos, thai, anything, everything within the normal universe of American food options. For two kids from Iowa, it was pretty overwhelming. We did our part as well as we could gazing about ourselves wide-eyed like dull provincials.

I have this thing about over-eating. Back in Iowa my friends would watch grimly in the sad light of our local truckstop as I’d eat double-decker bacon burgers, pancakes soaked in butter and fake maple syrup, strawberry milkshakes, chicken-dumpling soups with so much oil it looks like an Exxon disaster and I'd end up semi-conscious and drooling, the object of trucker derision. I had heard of this all-you-can-eat Indian restaurant just off Pearl Street. It seemed like it might hit the spot.

We went in, and I filled my plate with some salad and a sampling of appetizers: there was some raita – a yoghurt-cucumber sauce – some coriander chutney, and some Indian version of potato salad, along with some dumplings whose dough was transluscent and over cooked and deep fried chicken pieces, both served with a sweet red sauce. Everything was pretty mediocre, which was fine, because at that point I was just interested in sampling as many different things as I possibly could.

I rushed to start on my second plate, but was surprised because – what’s this? – my dining buddy was taking his time eating. It’s like how a bunch of frat boys invited someone over to play drinking games and found him sipping on the Natty Ice. I felt a little embarrassed, and slowed down a bit, until he encouraged me to go off and start my second plate without him.

I took a scoop of everything they had. I passed through the buffet, making tiny, colorful piles of Indian food on my plate like I was an artist applying up plops of paint to an easel. Each dish was barely distinguishable from the next. And this wasn’t just because I was, by now, almost zealously shoving food into my mouth, no. The flavors were simply indistinct and flat. The tandoori chicken, for instance, was barely spicy – it simply tasted orange – and the meat dry to boot. They had lamb vinadloo, which I took a double serving of, because lamb is wonderful and vindaloo, which is notoriously spicy, is also wonderful. But the lamb was fatty and the vindaloo sauce tame. So everything, being nondescript, blurred into everything else. And all I had was a huge pile of food.

Not that I was complaining. At an all-you-can-eat place, what you lose in subtly you make up for in sheer weight. And the food, after the third plateful, even if it’s bad, somehow gains a certain sublimity. It’s no longer about an interesting taste, or taste at all. It’s about the basic, animal act of raising the food up to your mouth, masticating it, swallowing it, and hopefully digesting it as best you can.

“So,” I asked my companion, who was, by now, a little put off, “I think we could do twenty plates, easy.”

He did not think so.

“Well. We should at least aim for ten,” I said. “That’s just three more plates for us both.”

He disagreed with me – politely.

“I mean,” I kept on going, “we could do fifteen plates if we really wanted to. But I think ten is good enough for us for now.”

As I stood up to get my third plate, my companion pointed to a pile of meat on his plate. “You can have this,” he said.

He was giving up! Only mid-way through his second plate! What were we? Weaklings?

Nonplussed, I returned to the buffet to pile my third plate with a sort of ‘best of’ program. I took a couple dumplings, a lot of the lamb vinadloo, and a couple heap-fuls of a chili chicken dish I found to be pretty edible.

Midway through plate three, I became, shall we say, stupid with fullness. My dining buddy, who didn’t really know much about me before we dined, expect having had a crush on one of my crush’s roommates - found me the sort of worst conversation buddy imaginable: I was rambling on and on about whatever came into my head, like a drunk person.

I got to the end of plate three, and decided to take a break with a quick trip to the desert line. I took two of these wonderful little doughnut-holes, which were the high point of the meal for me. They were soaked in a thin syrup flavored with cardamom. The outside was soggy and squishy, but towards the center the doughnut-holes were dry, and the contrast was really fun. I also took a couple slices of Indian style cake, which just basically felt like I was eating sugar. Which was fine.

I was going to try to return to the main buffet after that, but once we had finished desert, I felt like it was all over. My stomach was blown up like a balloon and hurt; it looked – and this is funny, because I’m as thin as a rail – it looked like I had a bit of a potbelly. I showed it off to my friend, lifting up my T-shirt to nipple height as we were paying for our bill, because, you know, I deserved to feel proud about eating that much, and he suggested we just leave and pretended not to know me.

I ended up laying in bed, absolutely insensible, grasping my newly-pudgy stomach, wishing, wanting, hoping – that I could eat some more. Even though pretty much every cell in my midsection hurt and for a while I was worried that I might have over-inflated the bag of my stomach, I just felt disappointed. Surely, if I were a better diner – I would’ve eaten more.

Feasting, true feasting, the sort of decadence-of-the-Roman-Empire dining I would love to emulate, takes practice.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Peaches # 19-21: Peach Battle!

Today was hot in Boulder - so hot that the middle of the day felt like hot jello. Not very pleasant. But it's part of the joy of summer, I think, to be desperately hot: it gives you an excuse to laze around and do nothing while you wait for the heat to lift.

So, instead of watching TV or playing a video-game or something else productive, I ate one peach after another until the day got cooler. Today my three peaches were at the perfect ratio of squishiness. A day later and they'd have been peach soup. A day earlier and I would have wished I'd waited a day more.

I had two 'conventional' peaches and one 'organic' peach. You know, the whole organic movement is really taking off - especially in Boulder where it seems to be the height of fashion to eat socially conscious macrobiotic permaculture produce. Now, the proponents of organic food will inevitably recite a laundry list of different reasons for buying organic, ranging from rants about how pesticides are part of a system of patriarchal oppression to verbal flotsam how GMO food reduces our intake of Absolute Spirit. I stop listening whenever someone gets a that very earnest very spiritual glaze over their eyes that signifies the death of reason. I care about one thing, and one thing only: taste.

Now, the peaches looked different. The organic peach was about half as big as the conventional peaches, and its skin was more taught. I ate the organic peach first, and found its flesh to be quite solid. It tasted sweet and juicy, but the taste wasn't simply sweet: when you eat a really good peach, you can taste some bottom notes of flowers, or citrus. And this was towards the higher end of peaches.

Then I tried the conventional peaches. The big difference is that the flavor was far more diluted, almost watery. They were less sweet, less complex, and mushier. Now, normally I prefer mushy peaches, but I think only because it can be a sign of ripeness. Compared with the organic peach, these peaches were just sloppy. Oddly enough, the flesh was a yellowy red closer to the skin, which was nice aesthetically, but it didn't really add up to a great peach. All in all, the conventional peaches were just a little more boring than the organic peach: the organic peach had more depth, sweetness, and texture.

So, oddly enough, the hippies are right: Organic really does taste better.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Peach # 18: Organic Produce

American fruit, the general unwashed mass of American fruit, is bred more to look good than to taste good. Meant to cater to the supermarket shopper who is entranced by a large, deep red strawberry, or a big shiny green apple, it tends to taste more like cardboard than it does fruit. Because of this, fruit connoisseurs like myself tend to think that the smaller and uglier the fruit is, the more authentic it is, and the more tasty. If you doubt me, go down to your local farmer's market and pick up a pallet of organic strawberries - the smaller and uglier the better - and you'll find that a tiny strawberry only a little larger than the nail on your pinky has as much strawberry taste in it as one of those huge franken-berry strawberries that span a couple inches and taste, really, only like strawberry-flavored water.

Boulder is a hotbed of organic produce. I was in the local hippy-food store when I saw some small, organic peaches on sale. Always ready for a new peach experience, I took two.

I waited a little while for them to ripen, and actually forgot about them, until the flesh of the smaller of the two felt so loose that I was worried it would fall off. I prefer my peaches maybe a bit overripe, so I took a bite - with gusto.

While the skin was dangerously soft, the flesh itself had a lot more stability to it than I'd expected. Often with an overripe peach, when you take a bite into it it kinda just explodes all over the place. But this ugly little organic peach came with in-built structural integrity. The flavors were not too sweet, but pleasantly complex. There was even a hint of a sharp citrusy taste towards the end which was very pleasant. I ate it down to the pit and decided to give the second, larger peach, another day or two to ripen up.

But then, after a hard day at work, I picked up this second peach the next day, looking forward to something sublime, something wonderful, something that would encourage me to listen to classical music and wish I were a Christian. But I picked it up. And it was mushy, positively mushy. And more - it sported a nice coat of light white mold. Into the trash it went. I had been denied my peach.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Peaches 13-17: GORGE

Image found on the Animation Archive. One of the more beautiful sites on the web!

So. I hadn't eaten many peaches since my disappointing experience about half a week ago. You see, the thing about peach eating - good peach eating - is that you have to think a couple steps ahead. You can't just go into the supermarket, buy a peach or two, and just munch them like they were your regular everyday Granny Smith. No. Peaches are too classy a fruit for that. You have to woo them. That sounds really disgusting, but it's true. You have to bring them home, ignore them a while - and if you do nothing else - you have to wait. So I had a bag of peaches in my pantry.

I dunno if it's just ambition, but when I get to the end of the day without having done anything that could be seen as productive, or great, or improving, I feel like I've failed life in some huge and miserable way and I shouldn't deserve anything good ever again. The same sort of feeling most people get when they look at their credit card bills. Anyway. So I got home one afternoon, feeling like no matter how hard I tried I would not get anything at all done of any great import. I wasn't sure I was able to get done those necessary tasks of small import that one has to do, like take out the garbage, or buy new cereal, or put on pants. I stood around a little bit, feeling displaced.

And then it hit me, I knew what to do.

I sat out on my nice porch and had in front of me a plate of four ripe peaches. They were screaming at me to be eaten. I touched their skin. Soft, with a nice bit of give. I brought them each close up to my mouth, feeling their velvety texture, smelling their bouquet. I set them down on my porch and looked at them.

Oh and it was a flurry of passion, oh it was something fantastic, oh it was disgusting. I ate those peaches so quickly that by the end of it I didn't know what was happening, where I was, or what I was meant to be doing. I wish that I could remember each peach experience in great, literary detail. But all that's left is a feeling of dizziness, and something akin to something close to something spiritual.

I encourage you all at home to do it, too.

Here's something for the peach fans: I was chatting with my next-door neighbor, and it turns out that the tree overhanging her carport is a peach-tree. The fruit are small and green and fuzzy, about the size of a small apricot, and they'll be ripe in a couple weeks. She said I could have as many as I want. I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


I found this article on the resurgence of the humble meatball in today's Times. And oh jeeze, I would warn you not to read it when you're hungry because it's dizzyingly scrumptious. Now, I'm not one who needs be reminded of how good a good meatball can be. Back when I was a little Brendan, far littler than I am now, spaghetti and meatballs were my favorite dinner, my favorite song, and my favorite book. So it's been a bit of a lifelong love for me.

Now, maybe the meatball's popularity with children is why it needs recuperation. When we're kids, or at least when I was a kid, I ate from a stable rotation of one or two staple foods (meatballs, ramen, mac & cheese, you know the deal) and as my pallet got a bit more mature, I put away those childish things. Which is a shame when it comes to the meatball (not so much of a shame with mac & cheese) because the meatball can be a part of a wonderfully complex meal.

My signature dinner is meatballs. I started by taking this recipe from the Splendid Table and tweaking with it over a couple of months until it got to the point it is now. I'll still experiment, and I encourage you to, too: substituting the sage for rosemary, the pork for ground duck, or the wine for red wine vinegar are all variations that have served me well in the past. I bet you could throw a peach or two in here, too - if you were feeling daring enough.

Brendan's Balls
(serves 4)
The Balls
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground sausage
Some breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Some sage
Little garlic

The Sauce
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, diced
1 large can tomatoes
Zest of two large oranges
Some sage
Some basil, torn
Handful of olives, finely chopped
2 cups red wine
6 tablespoons sugar

Okay. So. What you do is combine all the ingredients for the balls. No worry, no hurry. Brown them and then take them off the heat.

Next, get a fry pan and heat up a little bit of olive oil. Throw in the diced onion and cook it until it's lightly browned. Then throw in some salt & a lot more pepper than you'd normally throw in if somebody just told you to throw in some pepper. Then - quickly - add the sugar and caramelize that sucker. Stir frequently, keeping a good watch that the mixture doesn't burn.

Side note: a lot of people are very wary of caramel, because they think it's some ultra-mysterious process that's really easy to mess up. Well, it is really easy to mess up - if you take your eyes off the pan. If you watch it well enough, you're not going to have any trouble.

Once the onions have gotten a nice burnished brown color, throw in the garlic, olives, orange zest and sage. Stir that around. Now, throw in the wine - step back! - that'll splatter and you don't want your clothes stained because that's not gonna impress the ladies. You'll also going to want to turn on the fan because it gets stinky. Reduce the sauce until it's almost a syrup, then add in the tomatoes, with the juice. Mash those up with your flipper as much as you can, then add in the meatballs (and whatever gravy's in the pan) and cover, stirring infrequently until the sauce is a nice consistency.

Bob's your uncle. Meatballs for dinner.

Legends of Eating: The Tim Tam Straw

A Tim Tam is an Australian chocolate-covered biscuit which is one of the tastiest snacks in the entire world. All you suckers stuck eating Oreos have no idea what you're missing out on and I have the same sort of pity I would have if I saw a pre-fire caveman struggling to eat a TV dinner. Which is a lot of pity.

You can find Tim Tams, of course, on the internet - if you don't happen to be lucky enough to be living on the dying continent. I found a box in our local store for the bourgeoisie (the woman in front of me in line was buying an egg-poacher for perfect poached eggs: poached eggs are what the Booge do to eggs) and was so excited that I actually screamed out loud. I'm now midway through spreading the good news to EVERYBODY I know. And midway through my second pack.

You can't just eat a Tim Tam. I mean, it'd be fine plain. But you'd be missing out on half the fun.

What you do with a Tim-Tam is this:
1) Get yourself a hot beverage, preferably some creamy coffee or, my fave, peppermint tea.
2) Bite off the ends of the Tim Tam.
3) Put mouth over one of the exposed ends. Stick the other exposed end into the hot beverage.
4) Suck until the outside of the Tim Tam gets soggy.

Now what happens is first, the hot beverage tastes incredibly chocolaty and wonderful through the Tim Tam Straw. But that, as the philosophers say, is just an instrumental good. What you do next is take the soggy Tim Tam and eat it. If you're following along at home, kids, you're going to want to pause and breathe. Remember. BREATHE. That's better. Tasty, right?

What happens is the hot beverage melts the chocolate outside and inside, and the whole thing just explodes in your mouth in a squishy, rich mess when you bite into it. There's nothing like it.

Try it. You won't regret it.

PROJECT: If you happen to live in a country where Tim Tams are plentiful, eat an entire pack and document your progress with digital photos. Then send the beauty to me & you'll become an internet celebrity. Hooray!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Peach # 12

Okay. Nothing to see here. Move along, buddies. I mean, you may be coming here for news of my culinary exploits. But there's been NOTHING to speak of for a little white.

GOD. That last batch of peaches were such a disappointing, poor-tasting excuse for produce that I don't even want to talk about them right now, okay? I mean, I know I've signed up for a big dose of DUTY in starting a blog, a blog about a peach project - but, man, I never realized it would be like this. I never realized that I would feel obligated to register such disappointment, such a mediocre eating experience. It makes me want to switch my obsession to a fruit with less of a temperament - like oranges.

But wait, we need to recap. Rewind about a week when I bought a bunch of peaches from Whole Foods - one half the bunch white-flesh the other half yellow-flesh. The first peach I ate sucked. I thought I needed patience to wait for the peaches to ripen. What it actually turns out I needed was peaches that didn't suck.

I ate peach number twelve - the last of the batch - up on top of a mountain. Or, to be more precise, I was hiking up a mountain but my hiking companion got a bit tired and we retired to a rather accommodating rock and looked out across Boulder and talked about our feelings and then we ate peaches. Which is a very nice setting. I told this person about the peach blog, somehow trying to communicate my unholy love of peaches, and this person - who, before I get into this, is really lovely, eeally, and would be much liked by the frequent readers of this blog - this person, who I am interested in on a couple different human levels, burst out laughing at me and said that me having a peach blog was very revealing. And the she just grinned like she had the upper hand.

Damn straight it's revealing. It reveals that I have really good taste.

Anyway, the peach was mediocre. It was well into being ripe, the skin had a bit of give to it, and the flesh itself was finely soft and juicy. Which is the tactile side of a good peach. But the flesh itself had very little actual TASTE to it. It was more like a peach flavored water balloon than anything else. It was sweet, but undistinguished. It was peachy, but bland. I tossed the pit into the bushes and maybe me and this person gazed into each others eyes all profoundly, and maybe we just talked awkwardly around each other for a little while longer, before packing up our impromptu picnic and heading our separate ways.

Here's to the next batch, folks!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fame! Fortune!

It's a very special time in a person's life when they have reached a high enough pinnacle of fame to be worthy of a parody. And now, gazing from the stunning alpine height of recognition and celebrity that is the 100 Peaches Project (SOB - we have come SO FAR), I am thrilled to announce that yes, now I am famous. Take a deep breath friends. I would thank all the little people. But it's all me, baby! All me!

Check it out: The 101 Peaches Project.

My time has come.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Peach # 9: Patience!

In Chinese tradition, the peach is said to be the ambrosia which keeps the gods immortal. The heavenly peach trees take six thousand years to ripen. But once they’re ripe, they’re tasty enough to keep the assembled spirits and powers happy and alive for a couple millennia more. When the peaches are ripe, all of heaven gathers for a huge peach feast. Which seems amazing. If you asked me: Brendan, of all the parties in the world’s mythological tradition (I nod) which one would you most like to attend? It would be no contest. Fuck Valhalla. I wouldn’t take a second look at the Great Hunting Grounds. Give me that Heavenly Peach Feast, anytime.

So, having devoured my first batch of peaches, I picked up a bag of white and yellow peaches from the local organic food market (on sale! 1.99 a pound!) and set them up on the windowsill and decidedly did not follow the advice of ancient Chinese tradition. I was hungry. They were sitting right there. And so – I couldn’t wait, I couldn’t control myself, I ate… a premature peach.

Sure, it tasted like a peach. And I didn’t vomit. But the flesh was hard and almost crunchy, and it had about as much sweetness as a college student in finals week. It wasn’t even juicy. And – how’s this for a final humiliation – the peach-fuzz left a weird, dry sensation on the roof of my mouth that wouldn’t go away for hours. So here’s some advice to all your readers out in blog-land: WAIT for your peaches to ripen. I know they might look tasty, and compelling. But if you feel your peach, and it feels hard, DON’T BOTHER. It won’t magically taste good just for you. Patience, patience.

And yet every morning I leave my room, and I see that pile of peaches – and I see whether today will be the day. But not yet. I’ll probably eat the whole bunch in a day when they’re ready.

Score: 4/10

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Peaches #s 2-6: And hippies!

So I’ve been on a peach-eating roll. For a guy who has a blog about peaches, this might not come as much of a surprise but whatevs. Peach # 2 was by far the best. I wasn’t expecting it to be very good because it seemed a little hard and unripe, yet once I took the first bite I found it to be soft, sweet, and juicy right down to those little fibrous bits clinging to the stone. The peach was subtle enough for me to grasp the shades of flavor underneath the sweetness – when a peach is too sweet, I find you can’t really taste the floweriness that comes from a perfect peach. The other peaches were good – but nothing to write home about. I ate a couple walking out of the house on my way to trying to find a job – and having peach juice covering your hands is actually a pretty good strategy to impress future employers, I’ve found.

I walked into the local farmer’s market today to pick up peaches, having wild daydreams about how I would get to write ecstatic post after post about the amazing, heavenly, natural organic Boulder peaches that I found there. Well. Silly old me. Peaches don’t grow around here in Boulder. What does grow around here – it seems – are the usual trappings of hippy life. And while the trappings may be a bit clichéd, they’re still fine and dandy to an Iowan cornhusker like me. How can you get bored with all the idealism, the bare midriffs, the tasty, presumably healthy, sustainable, raw, cracked, buddhadharma, organic expensive food? Probably pretty easily. But walking around the packed farmer’s market, dodging people in the crowd so well I wish it were a spectator sport, I wasn’t bored in the least. I was pretty content. I wished there were some damned peaches, though.

Other things grow around here, too, besides youthful idealism: cheese, mixed veggies, salsa, coffee, and good food, exercise as personal virtue, wine bars, attractive people. The things that make up the constellation of comfortable old bourgeoisie life – the good parts of bougie life, mind you: none of that guilt or social relevance for me, thank you.

But then again I’m on a budget. I shy away from the tasty plates of Thai food, the micro-brews, the mesclun salad, and eat only peaches, cottage cheese, and cans of tuna. And try to find a job. One day I’ll get to order a seven dollar muffin from that ritzy cafe. But not today.

Here’s an idea: I’ll set up a pay-pal account one of these days, and whoever puts money into it will sponsor me going out to a restaurant and ordering exactly what they tell me to and I'll reviewing the whole experience – with panache, of course! and color! and lyricism! and I'll toss in some metaphors, too! Good idea, Brendan! We’ll see how it works. More later. And more peaches.

Peach score (overall): 7.5

Friday, May 25, 2007

Peach # 1: Bruiser!

After waiting for so long for the right moment to eat my first peach, the actual first peach came as a complete surprise, of course. I had walked by the peaches in my local supermarket for a couple weeks shunning the immature, inedible fruit. I'd feel them and they had about as much give as a Granny Smith. Which is not a good sign, no sir. A nice peach should not feel like a rock. But last night I decided that the supermarket peaches looked fine enough, and I loaded up my grocery bag and walked back to my house with a hope and a prayer.

I had just got back from the grocery store and was putting my little peaches into a bowl when I found myself biting into one. It’s like I was staring at a pretty girl across a party and then, suddenly, I was making out with her. Which is very nice, let me tell you – if not a bit shocking. I had picked up a peach and had found it terribly bruised – about one half of it was absolutely squishy. I knew if I left it for later it would just get nastier & nastier…. So I ran to the sink and, preparing for the worst, ate it.

It was gross. Kinda. But only the bruised bits – the rest was a good, solid peach. Nothing sublime. A bit on the tart side, but that doesn’t make for a crappy peach. The bruised parts were kinda like a sticky mass of peach puree. Which was a bit gross, but I can deal. I’ve eaten peaches so bad that they make me doubt that there is a loving god. This was not one of those peaches/

When I finished I could barely understand what had just happened. Heady, I wandered into my new room and felt a little off-balanced and could taste peach on my mouth for hours. The project has begun!

Score: 6/10

Peach count: 2

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Project.

I love peaches.
And I mean I love them. I think my relationship with peaches is really a little creepy when you get down to it. Okay, you're probably gonna say that you love peaches, too. And whatever it is, it can't be especially creepy. I mean, this is the internet and all. Well -
You ever cried because you ate a bad peach? I have.
You ever rubbed a peach up against your cheek just to feel the fuzz against your skin before biting in? Definitely done that.
Are you more nervous about eating a peach than you are about, say, asking someone out? I am.
So. The peaches are probably ripening somewhere out there in America, and they'll be put into a truck and shipped to wherever I am, and then I'll eat them. And document each tasty, juicy, easily bruisable experience. At least 100.
It's a hard job, sure. But I'm unemployed. I have a college degree.

1) We're talking PEACHES. No peach cobbler. No peach juice. No peach ice cream. Whole, raw, beautiful peaches.
2) If it sucks, I can spit it out. It still counts.
3) I don't have to suck at the pit or anything.