Our dear friends Conchita and Mariano gave me a ton of courgettes this morning, so I spent the afternoon making ratatouille. While standing there stirring and sweating I couldn’t help but reflect on the irony of summer produce.
Right now the temperature is about 34 C outside (93 F), precisely the type of temperature where you do NOT want to be standing over a hot stove. And yet, this is when all the wonderful produce appears in our gardens and markets. Since we can’t eat it all fresh, the obvious thing is to find a way to preserve it and that usually means heat.
It’s completely crazy, of course. We would really all much rather be doing anything other than cooking in this weather, but if we don’t cook it then it is wasted and we won’t have it available for use during the winter.
We’re lucky, of course, because we have the assistance of our wonderful modern appliances. If you live in a modern house in America you probably have your air conditioning on, but here in our far from modern house the thick stone walls, the double-glazed windows and extra insulation in the attic and the special heat reflecting curtain on the front door keep the house extremely comfortable But think about our ancestors; they were doing all their preserving on wood burning stoves with no real insulation to speak of. Certainly nothing like a/c existed. But they managed and fed their families through the lean times on all that they were able to store over these hot summer months.
I’ll try to reflect on that next time I’m standing in the kitchen wishing I was anywhere else; we’re lucky in today’s world and should think about that more often.
Ciao for now.