August 13, 2012
It is the worst of times. It is the best of times. (With apologies to Mr. Dickens.)
I refer, of course, to August. It is hotter than the hinges of Hell. It’s dry; this year, in the grips of a Grapes-of-Wrath-ish drought, it’s so dry the mountainsides look like October. Starched, pressed blouses and shirts are limp and bedraggled by 11 a.m., and forget trying to look nice for an afternoon appointment.
On the other hand — tomatos. Hordes of tomatos. Big ones, little ones. Red ones, yellow ones, purple ones, green ones. The early European explorers didn’t call ‘em “love apples” for nothin’. A first-of-the-summer tomato is one thing, its bright, tomatoey, acidic flavor bursting on your tongue and snapping your eyelids open with a WOW factor that chases away in one bite every memory of a frigid, damp winter.
A late summer tomato is a different animal. It’s rich. Sensuous. Silky. Smooth. Sumptuous with flavor. Concentrated summer, wallowing voluptuously on your tongue, making you not care that it’s 102 outside and your utility bill is going to be higher than your house note and the grass in your yard crunches when you walk across it.