Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

Where would I be without home grown tomatoes?  One great thing about life in the Deep South is the long growing season.  In fact, it's year round.  Well, until a freeze comes along and turns my tomatoes to mush.

Tomatoes are growing like crazy, harvesting continues apace in the cool January weather, until the weatherman predicts a freeze.  I could cover and coddle them, hoping they'll pull through.  But I'm not that kind of gardener -- any plant of mine needs to make it on its own.  So I rush out and pick everything off the vines.

Some I put into paper bags on the counter to ripen slowly over the next days and weeks.  But the rest are cooked immediately.  I slice them, sprinkle with salt and pepper, dip in an egg wash, then in seasoned cornmeal and fry them on medium-high.

My husband, just arriving home, steals a few crispy slices and eats them right up -- so hot they burn his tongue!  He says the delicious fragrance that hits him as he comes in the front door compels him and any collateral damage is totally worth it.

Fried green tomatoes is one of the joys of winter in the South.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How Many Do You Have?

Aunt needs help in the garden from someone with some muscles.  19-year-old nephew is college student perpetually in need of funds.  He comes over early to get a good start.

Aunt:  "Do you want some breakfast?  How about some scrambled eggs?  How many do you want"

Nephew:  "How many do you have?"

Aunt:  "Er, six?"

Nephew:  "Great...thanks!"


So nephew eats six -- yes six -- eggs and a veritable mountain of various other breakfast foods, then worked like two horses for the rest of the morning.  Aunt pays generously, remembering when she was a broke college student.

New garden beds shaping up nicely.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Enough Religion

Jonathan Swift said, "We have just enough religion to hate, but not enough to make us love one another."  I resolve this year to love.

I have always believed that love is a decision, not just a feeling that happens to me.  I resolve this year to love my family, especially my husband and daughter.  I'm going to tell them so every day.

I am going to love other people too.  I have great neighbors and friends, but I don't have them over enough.  I will offer hospitality at least once a month, even if it's just coffee and dessert.  

Well, so much for the ones that are easy to love.  I get a great return on that investment already.  Now the real work starts.

There are these people who live in the next block.  All day long they seem to wander up and down the street, eating junk food and throwing their bags and bottles on the ground.  A couple of times a day, I pick it up with a scowl.  This year, I'm going to smile when I'm picking up neighborhood litter and invite those neighbors for coffee and dessert too.  And not call them "those people."  Or even think of them in those terms from this moment on.

Sometimes I miss opportunities to love because I fear rejection.  I resolve to sincerely try to help when I see a need.  I'm not going to worry about whether the person accepts me or my help.  I am just going to try.

I think I can muster enough religion for that.