Last night my friend Kendall came over for a local foods dinner. We had quite a feast: roasted garlic and kale soup, CSA pork chops brined in a maple-juniper mixture, kraut and apple salad, spicebush ice cream. The ice cream was served with a few chunks of pineapple. Yes, pineapple. Kendall decided to take advantage of my “gift exemption” and surprise me with a bag of imported tropical goodies that she knew I hadn’t tasted much of since starting The 250. Her gift included pineapple chunks, a mango, a lime, and kumquats.
The juicy burst of pineapple in my mouth was a treat not so much because it was pineapple but because it was a fresh fruit in winter (that wasn’t yet another apple). I’ll be eating the pineapple and the mango for breakfast for the next couple of days, and I’ll figure out something to do with the kumquats. But what really has me perplexed is what to do with the lime.
A singular and, to a Northeast locavore, exotic treasure. One lime. I used to take limes for granted, using them in tortilla lime soup, Thai recipes, and salsa without much thought. But now I am like those 19th century children who thought getting an orange in their Christmas stocking was just the best gift ever. It’s a side effect of The 250 that I have a heightened sense of appreciation for non-local goods, and a cautious respect for the many costs of getting them here. I hope that when The 250-Mile Diet year is over I keep that acute awareness. It’s not that I will never again eat an orange or a lime or a banana or a pineapple, but I don’t ever want to consider them everyday foods. Not unless I move to a much warmer climate.
Meanwhile, Kendall’s lime sits on my kitchen table while I try to think of something suitably celebratory to do with it. It should be featured, not just added to the mix of whatever I cook. And since it is perishable, I don’t have forever to make my decision. Any suggestions?