Friday, June 16, 2006

Thinking. fruit. (cherries).

June means cherry season, and I love cherry season. There's something about eating fruit in season, where you wait all year for your favorites to arrive, eat them until you get sick, and then can't eat anymore until another year goes by and it's the season again.

When I was very young, I would get nosebleeds when I ate too many Bing cherries, waking up in the middle of the night with my pillowcase stained the same deep red of the fruit. (Sorry to be so gruesome). Fortunately, I outgrew this, but even now the Bing cherries are so dark and luscious with that deep, rich taste, like red wine or bitter chocolate, you cannot eat too many without feeling overwhelmed. But I love them, eating handfuls of those sweet, red-black cherries, leaving a trail of stems and stones behind me until I cannot eat any more.

And then there are the Rainier cherries. A beautiful pale yellow, flushed pink like blushing faces, they taste like pure sunlight. They are as sweet, but lighter than the Bing cherries, and I can never get enough. We once drove out to an orchard that let you climb into the trees to pick your own cherries; I ate as many as I could pick, warm from the sun, golden and sweet. I always buy as many as I can, and I never share them if I can get away with it.

Which kind of cherry is better? They are as different as red or white wine, dark or milk chocolate, moonlight or sunlight...If you really pinned me to the wall I would say that I love them both, but Rainier cherries are the ones I dream about all year long until the first ones arrive in the market, bringing the glow of the summer sun indoors, brightening my kitchen, exploding with pure sweetness in my mouth. In the winter months the memory of eating cherries is like a promise for the return of a golden summer and as many cherries as I can eat...

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