This morning I went to the Whole Foods, which is one of my favorite places and I do not apologize for that.
I went in search of breakfast fruit, preferably some raspberries to have with whole milk. The first thing I saw when I walked in the door to the P St. store, though, was fresh organic mission figs from California, on sale for $2.99 a box.
Involuntarily, I dropped my sunglasses and said "Oooh!" to myself.
And serendipitously, my brother happened to be right there in the store witnessing this moment.
Unfortunately, most of the time I conduct myself as if I am alone and no one is noticing me, which is usually the case. But this time I sensed for a split second that someone was looking at me and then I heard a mocking "Ooooh!" and saw Ben standing there laughing at me.
Mortifying. But I had to laugh.
"You don't understand," I said. "Figs are usually really expensive, and they're so good."
"How do you eat them?" my brother's girlfriend asked. All of a sudden I was an authority on figs, even though I didn't really know that much about them.
"You can put them on a plate with some blue cheese and honey," I said reflexively, thinking of farmer's market demonstrations in San Francisco. Put any piece of delicious California produce on a plate with cheese, and you're a gourmand. Simple as that.
"That sounds good. Do you want to try it, Ben?" she asked. I got nervous. I envisioned the figs sucking, or the cheese combo sucking, and them thinking I was insane.
"I don't know," I said. "You might just want to look into some other recipes. That's just one idea."
"No. We're going to blame you if it sucks," Ben astutely countered.
Of course, when I tried the figs at home, they sucked. They were completely bland and mealy, devoid of the sweet lusciousness I experienced the first time I ever ate a fresh fig in San Francisco.
So not worthy of the "Oooooh."
I wrote to my brother and his girlfriend, acknowledging that the figs sucked and asserting that it was NOT MY FAULT.
She wrote back. "I have to admit by itself it was pretty bland; however, when I added the blue cheese and honey it was yummy!!!"
That was kind of her. But no, they suck. So now I'm left wondering: If I pay more are they good? Or can you just not get good fresh figs at all on the East Coast?
What a bougie question.