Maybe I'm getting a little too enthused about my duties in domesticity, but one of the things I really get into is providing fresh fruit and veggies to my family. However, veggies are easy because they are fairly consistent and predictable; it's getting good fruit where the leg work really begins. Now I know how dorky this sounds, not to mention pathologically anal retentive and a bit OCD (what else is new?), but I get a lot of satisfaction in finding killer fruit. This is not as straightforward as it may seem, especially during winter in New England (we're not in California anymore) While fruit is readily available in the stores throughout the year, it goes without saying that not all fruit is created equal. About the only reliable kind of fruit in terms of availability and taste are bananas and pineapples - you can tell how they'll taste by their appearance.
Pears and nectarines are harder to predict, and I've gotten burned many a time. You just don't know until you bite into them, and when it's dry and mealy, you feel so cheated because it's too late. I sample grapes before I buy them, looking for sweet and crispy, not to mention on sale. Things like strawberries and melons you can get a good idea by how they look, but that's not a guarantee of their flavor, especially in winter. Apples are pretty easy and you can get them all year, though we like to get the local ones (they're not waxed) which are harder to find.
In an effort to score good fruit, I'm willing to make the rounds to various stores. Fortunately one of my jobs entails making the rounds and thus enables me to stop and shop during said rounds rather than making a special trip just to shop. In fact, taking A to school and working at the college all require a trip to the big city, where all this shopping gets done. While supermarkets are good for veggies and all carry a vast array of fruit, I've had the best luck going to Stern's, and it's not just about price. You can get cheaper fruit on sale at the big stores, but certain things (especially pears and peaches/nectarines) are just better at Stern's. Their hours are not the most convenient, their inventory is not 100% predictable, and if you go at the wrong time the crowds will kill you, but all in all I'm a big fan.
Then, once I get it home, as the final piece of neurotic fruit mongering ways, I like to make fruit bowls for mom and the kids to wake up to. I know how Martha Stewart this sounds, but every morning I lay out a few different fruits in bowls for everyone to have, i.e., I make fruit bowls. At the very least it ensures that the kids will eat fresh fruit every day, at least once a day... not that I think this is a problem in our household because we eat plenty, but it never hurts to make sure.
I figure if I'm going to be the domestic warrior in our home, I might as well find some satisfaction in what I'm doing and take pride in my efforts, right? I don't mind seeming like a big dork if it means my family is benefitting from it, though for full disclosure, this is probably not something I'm going to go advertising to the guys at the hockey rink.
Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Debbie Murray for the pic.