Today at the farm market I was at the fanciest of the farm stands trying desperately not to blow my whole farm market budget on tiny eggplants and exotic greens when a woman with two kids, maybe they were eight and seven or thereabouts, dropped buckets of stuff on the counter. Looking at her pile of verdure I wondered what her kitchen looked like and if I walked into it would I instantly forget that I'm incredibly privileged because even with the many blessings I do have, I don't have a wide expanse of counter space punctuated by high-end appliances.
But the real psychic injury wasn't inflicted by what she was buying. No. The real injury came from what her kids were doing while she was shopping. One, a girl, was eating a zucchini and the other, a boy, a cucumber. Just like that. Raw. Like they were lollipops. Then, the boy grabbed one of those darling little peppers that you can get in tapas restaurants char-grilled and salted and started chomping on it. "Mom!" he exclaimed, "This is really good!"
"Good," the mom answered, hardly paying attention for fear of dropping her seventy-five dollars worth of braising greens, "good."
"Yeah," he went on, "It's really spicy, but I'm eating it with the cucumber and it's really good!"
For the record, last weekend I made zucchini and corn fritters on the off chance that Elliot would take one bite of a vegetable if it also offered a deep fried experience. He did take one bite, of the oil-soaked edge. "I like the crunchy part," Elliot told me. He left the rest on the plate. Maybe the next time I should just lay a shiny raw pepper next to the fritter. Maybe the salty-spicy combo will be just the ticket. And that pepper? It won't take up any counter space at all.