It's officially December. On Sunday I turned the final page of the 2013 calendar on our refrigerator with a hint of disbelief. How have we arrived here already? Didn't the fall just start?
But the fall didn't just start, and the crunchy snow that still lingers in the shady sections of our yard indicates that we've lost our opportunity to cut the grass one final time. This realization saddens me. I feel somewhat adrift when loose ends aren't tied up.
Still, I have to tell you about one final moment of fall that I stole early last month, one that I haven't yet shared. As I was turning over our garden in early November, I realized that our tomato plant still had a small bounty of unripe tomatoes on the vine.
Then I realized that it was time to fry these green tomatoes, because that's what you do with green tomatoes. Or so I've heard.
I've never made fried green tomatoes before, but the premise seemed simple. First, slice the tomatoes and lightly salt them.
Then dip the slices in buttermilk and dredge them through a mixture of flour, bread crumbs, and corn meal. (Isn't dredge a terrific word?)
Then fry those bad boys up right.
I have to tell you, just looking at this dish, this northern girl was feeling her (nonexistent) southern roots. I poured myself a glass of sweet tea (because this is what you do when you're feeling southern), piled the fried tomatoes high on a plate, carried them to the table, and was instantly reminded that I'm the only person in my family who likes tomatoes.
There's nearly thirty slices of fried tomatoes, and I'm the only available eater. Beyond that, I only marginally like tomatoes. It's a take-'em-or-leave-'em kind of relationship, one where I'm delighted to chop them up for fresh salsa with cilantro, or mildly happy to add a slice on my sandwich at lunch. But I'm also just as content not to add a slice.
All told, my first venture with friend green tomatoes likely will be my last. At the very least, the experience gave me one final touch of summer in the midst of fall. One last bite of warmth and sunshine during the descending chill.
Now if this snow would just melt, maybe it's not too late to cut the grass one final time, after all.