Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fresh Fall Figs with Humbolt Fog...on Bruschetta




Breathe in....Two Steps...Breathe out...Two Steps... Breathe in...Two Steps...Breathe out...

Sometimes I wish I could write out my stream of consciousness while on my daily run.  Thoughts run over themselves, tangle up with one another, and tumble around ~ all vying for attention, deliberation, and domination.


Breathe in...Two Steps...Breathe out...Two Steps.  One foot moves in front of the other.  
I run looking for that place of quiet contemplation but often my heartbeat races trying to knock all sense of steadiness away.

Lately, with each daily run I take I see my life flashing before me with every mechanical step I take.  With every methodical breath I make.





I've been seeing these figs, whether symbolic or realistic, in my mind's eye for weeks now.  My imagination has been fixated on them with clarity but with some mystery too. 

Images of figs attached to childhood times swirl together. Images of figs enjoyed only a few weekends ago sway in my mind. Then, they were being sweetly plucked from a tree and gently offered like little bobbles of jewels to accessorize a meal.  Figs have been a fixation of my imagination that will not wipe away when I look away.




My life at present is like this elusive fig in front of me.  It is a fruit noted and steeped in tumultuous history that manifests itself in generational markers that include eras of pain, of sustenance, of beauty, and of suffering.  The pages of our history keep turning but this beautiful fruit idles in the corners of many diverse worlds so soft and velvety, but altogether dark and shadowy.

Misunderstanding and confusion partner together with one taste of the humble fig as it finds itself being relished in moments of sweet simplicity in one chapter of history but then is considerably cast aside, in tasteless contrast, as it is  experienced by another round of circumstance.



I might need to reference these intense thoughts about figs to my current world.  I should explain that my son and I are steeped in the study of  "World History" this year.  We are filled with scenes of colorful ancient stories of olive oil, cheeses, figs, and wines.  The Sumerians, the Phoenicians, the Chaldeans, and Hittites all run through the pages of time telling us the same story and lessons of life over and over...repeating history's lessons again and again.  

I, with my ever blooming imagination, am left to the wanderings of my mind during our school days, as my my mind's eye flies along time paralleling these ancient worlds to our modern times...and then... down to my own fleeting existence, flapping self-consciously alongside the many great chapters.

All the charts and graphs and leaf plots and histograms could present themselves in a steady and predictable drumbeat of choreography  as these catalogs of civilizations file themselves identically side by side.  Does my life, my patterns of behavior, my patterns of decisions parallel this flow?

Survival, Expansion, Domination, Destruction.  Are these lessons knocking at my door?

Over and over again the pages of history flaunt their messages to all of the students (and mothers!) of the world who are so inclined to hear what are barely audible missives in one moment and then what are deafening howls in the next.






My own infinitesimal mark on the sheets of history come in sharp contrast as well as  comparison to the largess of the experiences of the world's cultures.  I pull these worldly dramas onto my scant collection of personal pages and deftly adhere them to my little tome.  I cup those drops from history that drip between the passages and let them quench my own thirst to satisfy my cravings.

Survival, Expansion, Domination, Destruction.  Such grand words of worldly wisdom that send out beacons of meaning to my diminutive every day role as mother, teacher, wife, and woman.

These grand lessons in history feel like they are  directly speaking to me.  I can hear them.  I see their patterns.  I match their patterns to mine but what I desire is to act upon those patterns and change them.






But, just as history continues to repeat itself time and time again...so does the predictability  of my own negative actions, words, and deeds repeat themselves time and time again.  Self doubt swoops over me like those plagues in history.  My own convictions about my role, my hopes, my plans continue to compete with those of society and statistics that taunt their siren song.

Breathe in...two steps...Breathe out...two steps...

I have to stop continuously.  I have to take stock of my world, my thoughts, my convictions, and my dreams.  So much responsibility befalls a mother that it is all at once liberating, suffocating, deafening, and delirious.

What happened to the days when the big decisions were which flavor of dum-dum sucker would you like?  "Rootbeer or Cotton Candy?  There now...all happy."




So  moments of indecision come fast and furious these days.   Moments of hesitation  take my breath away.  My mind's eye amazingly moves from the pages of ancient history through time and over centuries to compare and contrast the every day decisions of my own life in this 21rst century. 

Figs.  Humble but beautiful figs.  They have seen the centuries unfold.  They mark and grace my own pages of time.   My wandering mind's eye sees them in ancient times, in Dutch still-lifes, and on rural farmhouse tables.

Even with all of the lessons observed in history teaching us not to repeat mistakes of the past, I struggle to heed my own lessons in order to forge a new and better history.

Somehow, these beautiful figs made it through.  Somehow, they survived in spite of the odds.  Somehow, they remain here today to bring us inspiration, joy, taste, and in my case...reflection.



**  Humboldt Fog Cheese is a new discovery for us.  It is amazingly soft, velvety and rich.  If you would like to learn more about it, follow this link here:


Fresh Fall Figs with Humbolt Fog (Cheese)...on Bruschetta

One long thin whole grain baguette
Grass fed whole butter
Wedge of Humboldt Fog Cheese (learn more about this amazing cheese here
Spinach greens (handful)
4-6 Fresh figs, quartered

Cut the whole grain baguette into slices.  Spread the soft butter on each slice.  Either place the slices under the broiler or place them in a skillet on the stove top to toast.

Once nice and toasted, add spinach leaves, a slice of Humboldt Fog cheese and a wedge of fresh fig to the warmed toasts.  Enjoy as a dinner with a bowl of soup or as an appetizer for a get together with friends.

31 comments:

  1. ah Sarah I love figs and brusheta this look amazing!

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  2. Sarah you are an amazingly gifted photographer, and your passion for your subjects just glows from the page (or screen, I guess!) The figs are magnificent, I want to frame them.

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  3. Forgot to say that Humbolt Fog is our all time fave in this house...I love that the one layer is the morning milk and the other is the afternoon milk!

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    1. This cheese is delicious and it is so fun that it is an American cheese. We tried it at Whole Foods and just marveled at the creaminess and flavor. Of course, the name is just too fun!

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  4. Very good photos, Sarah, and I love the plates. Figs with cheese, what else can you ask ?-))) The best dish ever. I hope the wine was good too:-)

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    1. We actually had it with a nice red, nothing too expensive but good!

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  5. Count me in, Sarah ... a must try! (Stunning images)

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    1. I can see you with simple bruschettas to enjoy at your lovely lake home, drinking wine and watching those fall sunsets!

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  6. Figs and bruschetta!
    I love this.
    Looks delicious.

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  7. Fig bruschetta. Good lord, I'm in love. Actually my love for figs goes very deep and I look forward to them reappearing next season.

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  8. how inviting :) FRESH FIGS..YUMM!!
    XX

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  9. We once rented a vacation house in Provence, which had a dining table under an old fig tree. I loved sitting below the soft, almost primordial leaves (and I think I read on another blog they can be used to wrap fish for steaming -- another idea for another post) -- and, yes, they always made me so reflective of humankind and nature and the unceasing cycles of time... Thanks for the moment of reflection this morning -- and happy running!

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    1. Fish wrapped and steamed in fig leaves. Doesn't that sound like something right out of the history books. I do wonder what flavors are imparted in the fish!

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  10. I am so glad that I stumbled upon your blog. I love those intricate shots and delicious styling. Figs are so popular in India that we make something similar to chocolate truffles with it. Your bruschetta with figs is a great party appetizer. I am going to fix this for one of the parties.

    I will be back to your space for more recipes.

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    1. I had no idea that figs are popular in India. We love Indian food but have never come across the fig truffle dessert...I would love to discover it...and of course EAT it!

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  11. This is the 2nd or 3rd time I have happened upon your blog. I always enjoy myself when I'm here, and I will definitely be following you from now on. Your photos are beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Emily...blogging is such a new discovery for me and a hobby that I never expected to fall into! I like your blog name..."Jelly Toast" it has such a fun ring to it. I'd love to come over for a visit.

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  12. Sarah,
    Figs and humbolt fog are a delicious combination (love that cheese). Your photos and words are beautiful, as always.

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    1. I am amazed how many people know about this cheese. And I thought it was some elusive discovery!

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  13. Sarah, Such a lovely post with such thoughtful introspection. Beautiful photos! I can’t wait to try your Fig Bruschetta.

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  14. What a fabulous piece of writing and I fully understand the thoughts tumbling over each other thing and the self doubt about our role in life. Any study of history can set us wondering and think about how small we are in the scheme of things. It is so humbling and somehow sad. I think we are too hard on ourselves sometimes, especially homeschooling mothers who often doubt choices made. We have so much more influence over our children's lives and the responsibility weighs heavily on our shoulders.
    Love your photos - that first one is like a historical work of art. It should be framed.

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    1. Suzanne, you are such an inspiration to me. I had someone tell comment to me recently, "Homeschoolers are the most socially awkward people I ever meet.". I tried to "chin up" and not debase my comments but all I wanted to ask him was, "So, were you, by chance then, homeschooled?" He had met me all of 1 minute and had never met my son. People just don't understand how hurtful these zingers are to us.

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    2. I battled with naysayers right through but my approach was that the children who went to school who weren't right for that environment would be harmed so badly by the mass education/every child is the same attitude that it didn't touch me. We are the people who know our children best and are the only ones to make the judgement call that they should be educated in massive classes of children, responding to bells and punishment or at home in a loving environment which encourages learning. Each to their own, I say, whatever is best for the individul child. But just one thought - how many children do you see skipping all the way to school with a smile on their face?

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  15. Figs are gone from where I live and I feel I totally missed out. The bites are gorgeous. What beautiful writing, what beautiful thoughts. Thank you for sharing your soul.

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

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    1. Thank you! for sharing that gorgeous curry the other day!

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  16. I miss figs so much. I bought a fig tree but we'll see if it survives this winter in the ground.
    There are a lot of thoughts go around when we are alone with ourselves. Hard to silence that anxiety sometimes...

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    1. You have planted a new idea in my head! I wonder if I could plant a fig tree here in TX. I'm going to check into this possibility. Ilke, so sorry about the troubling stories on the news about E. Turkey having to defend itself. I hope the entire situation diffuses and doesn't escalate any further!

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  17. I have never had a fresh fig! I need to do something about that! ha.

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    1. Eat it with your favorite cheese! And perhaps a drizzle of honey on top! And...with buttered toasted little bread slices!

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  18. I have 5 months to wait for our figs to grow and now I am pining for them after finding your beautiful photos

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    1. Oh, I'll have to come and visit and see where you live in order to be able to have a fig tree. What a cute blog title "peasepudding".

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