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.