Monday, August 18, 2008

Confessions of A Salsa Slasher

It was bound to come to this.
I knew in my mind that I should be prepared- that I should pull up
my big girl panties and deal with it.
I guess I just kept hoping it would all go away.

By "it" I mean the bushel baskets of produce that have
taken over every extra inch of my kitchen counters,
every crisper drawer and refrigerator shelf,
all the large pans and bowls and turkey cookers that I own-
and it has all spilled into the garage like a garden virus.

So, I gave in and looked up some recipes using tomatoes, cucumbers and squash.
I drooled over the computer keyboard as the screen brought up lovely
pictures of chunky pineapple salsa, moist, nutty zucchini bread, and crisp kosher pickles.

Now, one thing I want to share with all of you is that any recipe that has more than five ingredients is immediately rejected.
First of all, I don't have the patience to deal with anything more than five.
Secondly, when the recipe calls for more than five things, it usually means it will end up costing more to make than it would be to buy it in the store.
Why spend $20 to buy spices for pickles when you can buy $20 worth of pickles that will last a year or two?
That's my take on the whole thing.

But facing all those vegetables-
laying there waiting-
was intimidating.
Where should I start first? Where will I put all the peelings, seeds, rinds and rejects? Should I freeze, can, or refrigerate my culinary delights?

I just strapped on an apron and started attacking the tomatoes.

If I had loved tomatoes before our uncomfortably intimate "chopping spree",
I loathed them now.
Their fat, round little faces looking up at me, pleading to be spared-
their red, rotund, bodies sweating profusely with fear-
all of them hoping to go back into the crisper drawer and schmooze with the bologna.

But, as I always say -a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do.
Would Martha Stewart back down when the going got rough?
Would Julia Child let the sight of a little tomato seed bleeding on the just-mopped floor stop her from having a bon appetit?
Would Rachel Ray be discouraged by the daunting task ahead?
Probably not.

I spent six hours peeling, chopping, paring, poking, slashing, mincing and
butchering the unlucky tomato family.
My kitchen looked like a set from the Saw movie.
I ended up with a dozen pint jars of salsa,
one cut finger, sore feet, and a ceiling splashed with runaway seeds.
And none of the salsa either looked or tasted like the beautiful pictures on the Internet.

Duty called,though,so I was ready to tackle the cucumbers.

I peeped out the kitchen blind into the garage.
There they were-
giant green solders stacked up waiting-
their prickly skin and oozing vine-holes
preparing for their doom.

Then I realized the truth.

And the truth set me free.

I am NOT Martha Stewart, Julia Child, or Rachel Ray.
I am NOT even a good cook, I have NO organized kitchen,
nor do I have the slightest desire to see
cute little canning jars fill up with my mess.

I ripped off my apron,
slid on my flip-flops,
drove quickly to WalMart-
and headed straight to the pickle aisle!