Cavanauagh’s Farm Fresh Produce

 

Sinead browsed through the bins at the produce stand, not quite sure what she was looking for.   She was impatient to start experimenting with more recipe ideas, but then, she was impatient about a lot of things today.

All morning she’d been plagued by an inner agitation.   She’d tried to plan menus based on seasonal themes, local harvests, and what she could remember of the calendar of events for which Oberon was known, but it was hopeless.  She’d been away too long to recall the exact timing of most of them, and she was too unsettled to think that hard.   She’d been edgy.   Irritated.   Restless.   Frustrated.

In the end, she’d hopped into the jeep and headed into the country, exploring the various canyons that surrounded the town, until she’d fetched up here.

Cavanaugh’s Farm Fresh Produce. The name had sparked some vague memory, but nothing unpleasant, and she had been pleased by what she’d found—by the variety and quality of the produce, and by the other products being offered.   Things like free-range eggs, vari-colored sea salt, crčme fraiche and lavender-scented gardener’s salve.   Good things that spoke to her of home, probably because she so rarely saw them anywhere else.

Inspired, she went to work picking out the perfect fruits and vegetables, and placing them in her basket.   One ripe honeydew.   Three avocados.   A pint of black raspberries.   One eggplant.   Two tomatoes.  A half pound of sunchokes.   Suddenly the irony struck her.   After years spent cooking for huge groups of people, did she even remember how to cook for one?   Her singular purchases looked ridiculously small.   Pitiful.   Lonely.

It seemed absurd to be going to all this trouble just for herself.   Besides, she had a good idea how all the dishes she’d been contemplating would taste, she already knew she’d like them, but how could she judge if they would have mass appeal?   She needed someone to cook for--a taster, someone with a less jaded palette.

Or wasn’t that the problem?

She sighed.   Well, it was in a way, perhaps.   But it was by no means all of it.  The truth of it was, she was lonely.

Lonely? How was that possible? And since when?

She relished her solitude, her freedom, and she always had--she was never lonely.   But, all the same...she was.

She continued to meander the aisles as she thought about it.   White peaches were ripe and several found their way into her basket.   It was probably just being back in Oberon—the place always did make her crazy.   But if she really was lonely...well, she’d have to get herself un-lonely, that’s all.   And fast, too.   Because she didn’t like it.

She could always visit one of her sisters, or better yet, invite them out to see her. That would take care of the problem, wouldn’t it? And she could try out her recipes on them, too.

But who was she kidding? Sisters were good for a lot of things, but in this case they just didn’t cut it.

They really couldn’t give her what she wanted.

She passed by a bin of limes without stopping--she still had a couple of those left from last night. &nbssp; Then reconsidered, picked out a few more and went in search of some serrano chilies.  She was in the mood to create something with a little heat to it.   Spicy and exciting with a bit of an edge.  Something that would make her mouth water and her heart race.

©PG Forte 2005
Touch of a Vanished Hand

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