February 11, 2009

And now for the dried fig portion of our program


I bought a pound of dried figs two days ago so I could take a picture for this post, but I have no picture, because I have no figs left. Oops.

It's a weird thing to love. And really, love doesn't even cover what I feel for figs. Most people I have encountered in my life have only run into figs as part of a fig newton, which has NOTHING to do with figs in my humble opinion. And I suppose if my grandparents had not had a fig tree in their back yard, I would be amongst the fig newton fig believers. Thank goodness for the hot Californian sun and whomever planted all the fig trees in Redding.

Growing up, I thought it was normal for grandparents to have a wide range of fruit trees in their small urban back yard. I mean, who didn't have access to pomegranates, figs, lemons and grapefruit a few yards from the kitchen door? Really? You didn't? Well, let me tell you, you missed out.

Every summer, when the figs were rips, (conveniently, about the same time as my visit) my grandmother would pick bowls full of the plump green fruits, boil them in sugar and set them on drying racks in the giant solar dehydrator in the middle of the yard. More of them would go straight from the tree into bags in the family room freezer to be eaten all year long. I was rationed to only a handful a day of either fresh or dried with dire threats of "you'll make yourself sick!" Once I'd eaten my allotment I would sneak them out of the freezer and eat them in secret in the laundry room, biting into the sweet frozen flesh of the fresh ones or languidly chewing the icy dried ones. I probably ate at least 20 a day this way, and I never got sick. But I think that may have been sheer will power; I couldn't possibly stand a reduction in my ration and I wouldn't stop pilfering them as often as I dared.

I no longer have access to a fig tree. Someday, when we stop moving around, I'll plant one. Well, I'll probably plant several, the more the merrier. For now I'm reduced to buying them. They aren't cheap, and they aren't nearly as good as my grandmother's, but I buy a pound of dried figs as often as I can afford and sometimes even when I can't, and then spend a happy couple of days chowing down.

And I've passed this addiction on to Evie. Briton informed me years ago that only girls ate figs (what? oh well, more for me!) But Evie loves them. She calls them "Big raisins." Yesterday our conversation went something like this.
"Mommy! I want raisins!"
"You ate all the raisins Evelyn. No raisins."
"No BIG raisins."
"Yes, bigs, big raisins."
"Figs, Evelyn. Say Figs."
"figggggsss...oh,whatever, here."

So now we have two addicts in the house, which is (honestly, it wasn't just me!) why we have no figs for a photo. Sigh, another day and a half till grocery shopping. I hate waiting.

Ah well, I'll leave you with my new favorite breakfast, which highlights figs in all their yummyness

Fig and Quinoa yogurt parfait

1 cup good yogurt - I use homemade vanilla, but any good thick yogurt works. Greek would be great!
3-4 dried figs, roughly chopped
3 T cooked quinoa
1 T granola

In a bowl (or a glass, it looks pretty!) layer yogurt, quinoa, yogurt, figs and then sprinkle with granola. Dive in. Yum.