Lesson learned, hick-mama

May 9, 2013 By Clair McFarland

Like many people in Fremont County, I participate in the local produce co-op, or Bountiful Baskets. Most of you fellow participants sign on to the website every Monday, pay for your food, and open your e-mail accounts to reminders from the ubiquitous-but-faceless Sally and Tanya so that you can receive "50 percent fruit, 50 percent vegetables, 100 percent good family fun!"

I do all of these things so that I can treasure the facial contortions (the likes of which push the boundaries of human muscular function) of which my husband is capable upon being offered a "delicious" persimmon by his wife. (Turns out, unless persimmons have achieved a blackened state, they're not ripe.)

Historically, the consequences reaped by men upon accepting fruit from their wives have been unpleasant, but any time we women transfer this boon without affecting the fate of mankind, we count it a major plus.

Also, for you wives who are reading this without the help of your husband's eyes -- peering over your shoulder, making sure none of the words written by this she-columnist are for the greater cause of inciting wifely conspiracies against the sanity of Riverton husbands -- please note that plantains are an equally fit fruit for the task of pushing your husband toward that entertaining gag/grimace.

Another reason I contribute toward the co-op, is because it adds variety to my dinner table. Without the baskets, I'd have never known that my oldest son loves jicama. (Hick-mama? Who you callin' a hick-mama?) I also would never have known that carrots can be purple, white and red, or that you can get a facial rash from eating a lot of pineapple, if you happen to have poor hand-mouth coordination. Most 2-year-olds do.

Lesson learned, hick-mama.

The procedure is simple, too. As I said, you pop onto the Internet sometime Monday, and pay for one to three baskets of produce -- one being a standard week's fare for a family of four, and three being the standard week's fare for a family of four vegans. After that point, you find out if your memory can hold a week's worth of data and therefore carry you to one of the pick-up sites on Saturday morning. Mine can, but it's always aided by my son's incessant requests for "tomaytas."

Saturday morning is the tricky part, because, while you're usually not kept waiting, if you do find yourself in a line, that line will have assumed one of two extremes, one being that the line is comprised of an awkward assembly of non-familiar persons, and you will feel the need to check your cell phone whenever someone else does, and two being that the line is comprised of familiar or outgoing persons, and you will be in the midst of a recipe-swapping crossfire.

Within these crossfires, I have learned that applesauce is a useful substitute for vegetable oil, but only in baked goods. I actually acquired that latter piece of knowledge much later, to both my regret and the regret of everyone who had to taste the infamous stir-fry.

I also now know this: Any vegetable or fruit that is among the less desirable ranks of bounty can achieve an improved state once deep-fried. Nope, that doesn't negate the health aims for which you initially signed up for your basket at all. Also, Microsoft Word has yet to invent a sarcasm font.

So those are the reasons why I run down to the recycling center every Saturday, and it all seems to work out for me: my husband does a sort of facial yoga every time he embraces my trustworthiness as the culinary anchor of the family, my son builds himself "birthday cakes" out of raw potatoes and other dainties, and I immerse myself in the food knowledge that is among the many interesting and useful traits of Fremont County people, in particular.

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