Showing posts with label disappointing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disappointing. Show all posts

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!

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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!