Yesterday I was paging through a women’s magazine while waiting at the orthodontist’s office. As usual, I skipped all the decorating stuff and went straight to the recipes; then I double-checked the magazine’s date. Yes, it really was the December issue, so why on Earth was there a recipe for pesto-guacamole stuffed tomatoes?
Granted, the cute little appetizers were red and green, but pesto and fresh tomatoes in December? It makes no sense to advocate using such seasonal ingredients months after their peak has passed. Yes, I can buy fresh hothouse tomatoes at the grocery store, but we all know what they’ll taste like: packing peanuts. Fresh basil is a bit tougher; it occasionally makes an appearance at the store, but only a sprig or two at a time in a tiny plastic box. Of course, that half-ounce will set you back $2.75. I figure that for my pesto recipe, I’d need 20 packets, making that charming pesto a whopping $55 plus tax.
However, I do have several packets of frozen pesto in my freezer, made when the basil was plentiful (and a frost was looming) late last August. That’s when you need to think about pesto, not after a week of sub-zero temperatures. Even though I have the pesto, I’ll forego the disappointing tomatoes and skip that appetizer all together.
The other summery recipe sported by the magazine touted peppermint as a cure for holiday stomach ailments. True enough. The snippet of an article stated that you should drink peppermint tea for indigestion, which I have done, and it works well. Peppermint tea is made from dried peppermint, so it’s available in any season. However, the other suggestion was to make a mint julep, for which you need two sprigs of fresh mint. Hmm, my mint is long dormant. Of course it’s available in those little packets for slightly less than the basil, and in a quantity just right for the drink, if you don’t mind venturing out in frigid temperatures for the sake of an herb sprig.
While amusing on the surface, these ideas touted by a major publication illustrate the utter disconnect our society has with seasonal foods. So we’ll just keep eating seasonally, and hopefully those magazines will catch on eventually. It may take awhile though; their writers are out scouring the shops for fresh basil and mint sprigs.