Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Plums and Lattes and Nirvana

Pa and I just got home from the big city. The wagon’s unhitched, the provisions stashed in the pantry, and I’m settlin’ in with a glass of hooch. OK, so it’s chardonnay, but hooch is more fun to say. Hooch! Hooch!

I made two food discoveries today that I’m sure many of you will write and say, “You’re just figuring this stuff out NOW? Where have you been, girl!” Please be kind.

First, a confession. Until two years ago, I professed to hate plums, even though I’d never tried one. After all these years (26 to be exact) of mothering and goading my kids with the old “How do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it?” routine, I was adamant that I hated plums. I know it’s because I had a negative association with plums, and you’ll laugh when you find out what it is. It’s stupid, really.

When I was a kid, my dad owned the grocery store in our little town. Next door was the hardware store, and the owner, Paulie, would come in, grab a plum from the produce case and toss me a dime. This happened every year and every damn day they were in season. He never let me weigh the plum to make sure he was paying us enough. He just grabbed a plum and threw me a dime. It really ticked me off. How inaccurate! What if it was 12 cents? 13 cents? I was sure he was ripping us off. Never mind that Paulie fitted me for the grooviest tennis shoes ever (Keds boys high tops) or sold me ammunition for my dad’s .22 and my 4-10 shotguns when I was 11 (you had to be 16) or that he gave me a deal on my very first bike (an aqua 5-speed that I saved all year to buy for $75). I was sure every plum cost more than a dime. Obviously that stick I’m known for was firmly planted up my ass at an early age.

Fast forward *ahem* 35 years…

I was at a farmer’s market a few summers ago and a woman was selling little yellow plums. Cutest things you’ve ever seen. While I looked at them, she said, “Try one!” I thought of Paulie and the dime and I could feel my nose crinkle and my head start to shake “no” and then I thought, “Let it go, you twit. That was soooo 35 years ago. Put the plum in your mouth!” And so I did.

It was love at first bite. The chewy tart skin and the sweet soft inside…I bought a pint and dashed to my car. I cleaned a few with the bottled water and Kleenex I had stashed in the glove box. I ate them and sighed in regret. I wasted so many years and deprived myself of so many plums! I made it my mission to spend the rest of my life making up for lost time.

Plums have turned into a quasi-addiction, although I’m quite sure you can’t be dangerously addicted to fruit. I especially love them cut up in Greek yogurt. This week I added 3 tablespoons of Grape-Nuts to the mix for an even more complex taste sensation. The texture is unreal.

Anyway, as I was saying, I made two food discoveries, one involving plums. It’s the pluot. Dappled on the outside, pink on the inside, it’s half plum, half apricot, but it takes more after the plum side of the family. I bought two of them at Whole Foods today. After loading the groceries in the car, I grabbed one and ate it in the car in the parking lot while the car warmed up. I reluctantly shared with Pa, who liked them, too, and I was tempted to go back and buy a bunch more, but then I remembered I’d also bought apples, bananas, grapefruit, tangerines and strawberries. A girl can only eat so much fruit in a week.

Our next stop was Trader Joe’s, but I got all the regulars there: Greek yogurt, stevia, baby bok choy, tea, almonds, flaxseed crackcrackers, Ak Mak crackcrackers, some bacon for the man of the house. My next food find was at our last stop: Starbucks.

After buying the puppies their favorite chews in bulk at PetSmart, Pa and I headed over to the ‘Bux for sustenance for the hour-long ride home. I was in the mood for something cold, even though the temperature never rose above freezing. I ordered an iced skinny cinnamon dolce latte, which I’d looked up online and saw was only 1.5 Points for a grande. After last week’s S’bux vanilla rooibos latte discovery, I doubted anything could equal its yumminess. I believed I’d hit latte nirvana.

As I prepared for disappointment, I plunked down my dollars, bought Pa a normal old coffee, then buckled myself into the car for the ride home.

Once on the highway, I took a sip. Oh. My. Goodness. Heaven. On. Ice.

If you love coffee, cinnamon, and brown sugar, but hate milk (as in cow’s milk) like I do, this cinnamon dolce thingy (dolce meaning, “In a gentle and sweet manner. Used chiefly as a direction.” Yeah, as in, “Get in my belly!”) is your ticket to palate paradise.

It enjoyed it for 30 miles and I sucked the straw for the remains of coffee goodness on the bottom just as we hit the intersection of routes 66 and 28.

I sat back in my seat and sighed. A pluot and a latte, both in one afternoon. Decadence at its finest.

Now I’m home and contemplating dinner. Might be butternut squash with the pasta sauce I made the other night. Might be a veggie burger. Doesn’t matter. I’ve got a food grin on my face no other food will wipe off for a long while.

8 comments:

debby said...

Oh Yeah Baby! I LOVE the pluots! And thanks for the tips on the plums in greek yogurt--I was just thinking tonight that I was getting a little bored with the same old fruit choices. AND the latte--think I'll try it out tomorrow. Isn't food fun?

Dreena Tischler said...

I've seen pluots but never tried them; somehow they haven't been dug up by my produce-sniffing daughter, a plumb-lover of great renown. Oh and your description has me longing for the humble plumb. Mmmmmm.

Juliet said...

I love plums too! I'm glad you found out that you liked them after all. I love discovering new things to love. Keeps things interesting!

VeeGettingHealthy said...

Congrats on your new discoveries! I only discovered avocados a couple of years ago and can't believe I ignored them just because they are green! What weird wonderful people we are! Vee at www.veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

Juice said...

Now I'm hungry. Good thing I'm planning to hit TJs after ww meeting today!

Shelley said...

This entire post made me laugh...god how I wanted to be Laura Ingalls when I was a kid!

Lynn Haraldson-Bering said...

Food IS fun!!

Hey, Shelley, I grew up near Walnut Grove AND I went to DeSmet to the LIW house when I was a kid. I was a Little House on the Prairie devotee, too. I can't wait to read them all to Claire.

Hanlie said...

I also adore plums!