Top | cafemama — an inconvenient life

going to italy, local-style

(post, Sarah Gilbert)

Did you know that artichokes grow better near the coast, where it's cooler in the summer? So says the artichoke vendors at the Portland Farmer's Market, who drive from Tillamook each week with cratefuls of lovely artichokes in all sizes. Fifty cents, one dollar, two dollars, three dollars, and the huge Italian artichokes are four dollars and Worth It.

My husband loves to share artichokes with me, so when I'm feeling sweet I'll buy a $3 Italian artichoke (because four dollars seems just that much too improvident). There was one in the fridge and tonight, with dental surgery in the morning (and subsequent mood-altering drugs), I felt it was time. He powered through the gauze-stuffed face and drooly mouth to do all the laundry and clean the kitchen!

He cooked the artichoke while I made aioli, two cloves of garlic from our enormous garlic braid (purchased a few weeks ago at the farmer's market, next year perhaps we'll braid our own) mushed in the mortar & pestle; then an egg yolk from the one hen whose eggs I can find (someday soon we're going to find a treasure trove); a sprinkle of sea salt and then I drizzle in a quarter cup of olive oil (from California via People's Co-op bulk; as local as olive oil gets).

Each bite of the artichoke was like an instant in that cafe in Venice, the one where I ate spaghetti with clam sauce and finally understood what the big deal was. (Aliza's husband recommended the place so of course it was amazing.) From Portland to Italy without letting our food, or our bodies, suffer the weight of wasted fossil fuels. It's the next best thing to instantaneous matter transportation.