Posted in Stories from the Olive Grove, tagged apple, cathy rogers, flowers, Jason Gibb, Nudo, olive grove, olive trees, olives, picnic, Rosalio, Rosie on June 16, 2011 |
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A picnic in the Rosalio olive grove is a feast not just for the tastebuds. The eyes get to take in one of the most beautiful views, all tilting hills and wonky trees and tiny villages perched on unlikely mounds far into the distance. The ears are treated to the sounds of birds and faraway tractors and the occasional cry of an Italian mamma calling her brood in to eat. The skin enjoys the softness of the wild flowers and grasses and the bristling thrill of the possibility of a 3 foot black grass snake paying a visit. And then there are the tastes and the smells. I’m not exactly sure why a simple piece of bread and cheese takes on such additional majesty when eaten outside,sitting on a patch of grass but it surely does. A glass of wine is like drinking from the very earth and a crunch of salad leaf like eating it.
In fact the only thing to disrupt this perfect feast of the senses is the sound of Jason’s pencil, as he sees a branch that needs tidying, a baby tree that needs tending or some other chore, scribbling things on his ‘to do’ list.
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In my small world, there is little as pleasing as being given a piece of fruit on a plate with a sharp knife. There is no fruit that isn’t immediately improved by at least a factor of 10 with these two small additions. An orange ‘untooled’ is not a fun fruit – that first bruising, finger-staining penetration of the skin, the unsatisfying picking at layers of pith, the disheartening cleaving of segments torn apart revealing their pulpy innards. But an orange with a knife – well it’s a different game altogether. You can go for the straightforward kids’ football quarters and get your face stuck in, you can score the skin into a few segments and peel it back with a satisfaction almost as great as when as a kid you could pick that dried copydex glue from your fingertips, or you can give yourself the challenge of the ‘all off in one’ helter skelter skin peel. There is no bad option.
I offer ‘fruit service’ to my family. I usually first ask if anyone would like some fruit – a pear? An orange? Some apple? A bit of melon? ‘No thanks,’ they all say. ‘Nothing thanks’. Then I take a plate, or two, and a piece of fruit, or two, and a sharp knife. And I prep the fruit. Peel it, take seeds out, de-pith, cut it into bite sized chunks. No sooner is it prepped than it is eaten. Absolutely without fail. ‘But you said you didn’t want any fruit’ I occasionally say. They just smile. ‘So what?’ they reply, juicily.
I shouldn’t present this as a great surprise. I recently saw in a sandwich shop a tiny, hermetically sealed pot of assorted fruit selling for £2.99. £2.99! I mean seriously, this constitutes a mark-up of at least 400%. I saw a lady reach up to take one, to actually buy one. I was seriously THIS CLOSE to inviting her home to borrow my sharp knife instead.
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