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OrdinaryTimes 1.04-2MateOh

Even OrdinaryTimes can be pretty darned special. When summer slips over into her better half, harvesting starts in earnest. When harvest finds her peak, The Muse and I go on the hunt for tomatoes. When we lived in The Valley, the hunt took all of fifteen minutes to drive to Milton and Rose’s truck farm, where we’d pick our own then haul ‘em home to steam up the windows. In exile here, it’s a hundred miles each way to a barn in Pennsylvania, six hours on rolling two lane blacktop, dodging the occasional Amishman’s carriage; still well worth the trip.

Each summer we produce a few dozen quarts of canned plum tomatoes, perhaps a half dozen half pints of tomato paste, and a few freezer bags stuffed with roasted tomato slices, rendered in olive oil with garlic and fresh thyme. We do not can sauce, but make it fresh from our canned tomatoes, paste, and roasted slices. We preserve ingredients rather than finished product so we can use our harvest differently every meal.

This might distinguish Ordinary from ExtraordinaryTimes. ExtraordinaryTimes try to replicate past performances while OrdinaryTimes seem less picky. Each act of preservation both builds upon and diverges from the past rather than simply trying to recreate it. OrdinaryTimes preserve the present for the future, ExtraordinaryTimes replicate the past for the present.

We preserve more than tomatoes when we steam up the kitchen windows, we preserve ourselves and our sometimes fraying relationship. OrdinaryTimes can take a heavy toll on togetherness as our routines pull us in isolating directions. Harvest rituals reconnect us.

The Muse and I became mates when we first put up together. We could be partners, even spouses without ever preserving any presence. The essence of mating must be this preservation—of the species, sure, but also of this present, this harvest, this high summer season for savoring as a part of some otherwise chilling midweek twilight winter supper. OrdinaryTimes nourishing OrdinaryTimes.

Now, for The Muse and I, canning tomato has become canning to mate. Oh!

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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