Yesterday morning I made the rounds, delivering packages of our home-caught, home-smoked bluefish to some of our friends. Three stops: Amanda, Doug and Dianne, Al and Christl.
I was feeling all salty and heroic, bestowing little bags of beautiful peppered fillets on a few of our favorite people. Hah! The tables were turned. Here’s a list of what I was given in return for my lousy half-dozen smoked bluefish fillets:
4 ripe tomatoes
1 black-staining polypore
a container of mushrooms that may or may not be chanterelles
1 huge bunch celery
a handful of beans
assorted baby peppers and one cute little eggplant
a bunch of shiso
marjoram, thyme, and two kinds of mint, ready to plant
4 perfect leeks
a bunch of chard
a jar of pickles
3 fat cucumbers
a container of herbs de Provence
6 little Thai peppers
1 long, skinny, Japanese cucumber
And it would have been more, except that I absolutely forbade Al and Christl to give me anything. They’ve been so generous with the things they grow that I wanted to get something in the plus column. Besides, I was already so loaded up from Amanda and Doug and Dianne that I was too embarrassed to take anything more. But Christl pressed the Japanese cucumber on me, and I couldn’t resist.
It honestly didn’t occur to me that, if I showed up at the homes of gardeners, in the height of vegetable season, with a measly little gift of bluefish that they would load me up with the bounty of their gardens. If it had occurred to me, I probably would have done it sooner.