Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

1.2.05

Peaches.

Everyone loves peaches. You can tell by all the expressions. Peaches and cream complexion. Peachy keen. And everyone knows what most resembles the shape of a ripe peach.

Time was we never bought a peach; they fell off the old tree in their hundreds, to rot on the ground. Except they didn't rot, we picked them all up and ate the unbruised ones and halved and stewed the rest, having cut out the bruised parts.

They were huge but delicate in flavour, sweet but not cloying and as white-fleshed and blush-red skinned as an English lady.

We had an apricot tree and a nectarine tree as well, but the peach tree was the biggest. It was right in the middle of the garden and gave the most fruit. Year after year, summer breakfast was cold stewed peaches on hot porridge, the cold sweetness of the fruit contrasting with the warm bland texture of the oats. We drank the juice when all the peaches were gone and it was nectar.

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The tree aged, helped along by seven children climbing in it. There was a rudimentary tree house - really just a platform, like a raft in a tree - and later, as teenagers, we slept under it on summer nights. The peach tree exacted revenge for earlier misdeeds and sent huge spiders down to land on our heads and to secrete themselves in our sleeping bags. Perhaps to run up our pyjama legs.

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Peaches are in season. I bought some today, ate one, stewed the rest.

For breakfast tomorrow, on porridge.


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