The hard way
The elder of our two indigent boarders is a “hard-way” learner. Certain authority-type figures in our household have argued that he comes by this naturally and that I might benefit from “just doing what other people do instead of always trying to re-invent the goddamned wheel” (not an exact quote).
An example of his learning style shall suffice. A few years back while watching me garden, this first boarder happened upon a hot pepper plant. He has always loved sweet red peppers and these looked vaguely similar, so he picked one. Perhaps a bit brusquely, I suggested that eating the pepper might not work out the way he wanted it to. Sticking close to character he dangled it over his mouth and made biting motions. He assumed, as usual, that I was imposing arbitrary rules. I assured him that the pepper was far from sweet. Needless to say he didn’t believe me and many tears followed.
Subsequently he has had similar lessons with hot grills, deadly nightshade, jumping on the couch, throwing sharp things and, unfortunately, I could go on.
Someday he will make a great scientist; I was hoping for a cowboy.
He’s also a hard-way eater. He has more than once informed us that “I don’t like it because I’ve never tried it.” Reason won’t work here. Persistence on our part does, eventually. We have succeeded with a few dishes mostly at the bland end of tasty. He has, though, always loved tomatoes.
This year, as I mentioned last week, late blight has hit my tomato crop. I was able to harvest a fair number before the fruit became infected and so last night set about turning them into sauce. I use an old hand cranked all-purpose food grinder that I found in my grandparents’ garage. After coring the tomatoes I push them through the grinder, skins and all, then boil them down.
The boy watched me for a while then asked to try cranking the grinder. His assistance didn’t double my speed, but it sure helped. Working together we made about three gallons of crushed tomatoes in much less time than it would have taken me. After boiling the sauce down we had about two gallons.
Following all this crushing I chopped onions, garlic, pepper, carrots and basil and made a lovely sauce to go over some angel hair pasta. I even made the boss some of the first brussels sprouts (her favorite). She refused to share. Everyone dug in.
Except for that elder boarder, he wouldn’t touch the stuff, so he ate raw tomatoes and green beans.