Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Halloween Harvest

September has yet to sign off, but thanks to our local retailers, we’ve been immersed in Trick-or-Treat paraphernalia for at least a month.  Halloween is a cautionary holiday.  Do carry a flashlight.  Don’t eat unwrapped candy.  Do travel in groups.  One essential warning flies below the radar: Beware the cheap chocolate.  This devilish combination of cost-saving calories has spooked my self-control for many an October.

Chocolate is one of my three favorite foods.  I have oh-so-many favorite foods, but topping the list are “The BIG Three”: chocolate, fresh blueberries and homemade salsa. 

Every July, the kids and I make our annual trek to pick blueberries.  It’s usually Africa-hot and my little workers lose their enthusiasm within the first twenty minutes.  Last year, we managed to pluck 15 pounds before we succumbed to retreat.  My plans for a mega-pick this summer were thwarted by my conflicted calendar, crazy crowds and a thirsty 10-year-old who lacked his mother’s dedication.  We slumped away with seven paltry pounds. 

My salsa harvest was sadder still.  The Candy onions I planted were swallowed up by a grass invasion.  They may still be in there....somewhere….but I doubt it.  My tomatoes gave a tragic performance.  Lots of green tomatoes equal very little salsa.  My red peppers are still thinking about turning red.  One is blushing now, but of course, the essential summer heat has packed its bags and headed south.  The cilantro would’ve done beautifully, had I actually sown the seeds.  The seed packet is still sitting on my counter.  I had delayed planting the quick-sprouting cilantro so that it wouldn’t bolt before the other ingredients were ready for harvest.  Would’ve been a good plan if my postponement hadn't degraded into procrastination.  My jalapenos did beautifully.  I could kiss them if they weren’t so spicy.  Unfortunately, I have no other use for them besides homemade salsa.  We Uftrings are a mild bunch, I’m afraid. 

So as another Halloween approaches, I brace myself for temptation.  The desire to overcompensate in the chocolate aisle for a harvest of disappointments is a strong one.  If you happen upon me there, contemplating the sheer deliciousness of a reduced-price bag of Rolos, feel free to distract me. 

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