It seems strange to call apricots a vice, which is why I prefer the word obsession. Whatever the appropriate term, this week marks the return of my love affair with the fruit–available for only a brief season each summer. But while the apricots here have been good, even very good on occasion, the perfect fruit remains elusive.
I know what a perfect apricot tastes like, thanks to the one, too-short week we spent in Northern California during my childhood. At the time, my dad’s mom–my grandmother, Marjorie–was living on a ranch in the San Jose area. I remember several things about that ranch: It was magical in the way that the West is magical. It was cluttered with old-fashioned trinkets and memorabilia that my sister and I found strange and exotic. And it was home to several dozen apricot trees.
To say I gorged myself during that trip is an understatement. I ate the apricots in the fruit bowl on the counter. I went out and ate them off the trees. I would have eaten more, except my mom–and eventually, my gut–stopped me. But only temporarily. Soon enough, I was splitting open another perfect apricot, my hands dripping with golden-orange juice that tasted like a mixture of honey and flowers and a tiny bit of the tartness of plums.
I’ve never had another apricot like the ones I plucked off those prolific trees. Too soon, the ranch was gone, and though we returned to California after that, it never seemed to be during apricot season. But a few times this week, as I savored the red-hued apricots making the rounds in Boston, I could almost recapture the feeling of standing on those dust-brown hills. Of the perfume of apricot nectar in the air, and the taste of ambrosia filling my mouth.
5 Things I’m Obsessing About This Week (beginning and ending with apricots), August 14, 2013:
1. I love eating apricots out of hand, but I did save a few to make this delicious breakfast treat. I highly recommend.
3. This was surprisingly eye-opening.
5. And if there are any apricots left, there’s nothing that looks better than this recipe for roasted apricots. Stirred into yogurt? I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to my favorite season.