It’s nearly a daily mantra in our house — invariably as a cat contentedly settles into a lap just as the television credits start to roll. For nearly an hour, the purr-machines squander an opportunity for an uninterrupted nap. Instead, they curl up right when we need to get up.
It’s the same with certain vegetables and herbs.
My husband, Kevin’s aunt makes a killer strawberry salsa from store-bought ingredients that we can’t duplicate with home-grown fruit. When our strawberries are in their prime, the tomato and pepper plants are mere toddlers, barely forming new growth after being transplanted.
And, once they’ve produced juicy tomatoes and fierce peppers, the strawberries are just a memory — long ago ensconced in sugar syrup and packed into containers stacked in the freezer.
The same is true of coleslaw. When we crave its tangy, crunchy bite, my pathetic attempts at spring cabbage have bolted without forming heads. By fall, when cole crops are happiest in our garden, it’s lost its appeal. By this time of year, my palate has moved on to warm, comforting oven meals and soul-satisfying soups.
So too, our first crop of alien purple and pale green lumps known as kohlrabi that have finally matured, won’t be shredded into rice noodle salads or grated with carrots into refreshing, vinegary melanges. Instead, they’ll end up in roasted root vegetable medleys or chunked into stews.
Next year, I’m adding kohlrabi to the spring seed collection, so it has a chance to plump into its unique, branched and bulbous form while I still have an appetite for salads.
Too bad we couldn’t store it until early spring, when the desire for crispy, crunchy foods is so strong, Kevin and I head frequently — but not without some measure of guilt — to the grocery store for lettuce grown hydroponically in Ithaca. I’m sure then we’d find it oh, so satisfying.
Ah, timing is everything.