Sweltering nights were followed by hot cloudless days of sunshine all summer in 2010. The unusual weather, infused with abundant ultraviolet radiation caused my tomato vines to reach more than six feet in height by September. As the leaves slowly turn brown and blossoming comes to an end, one cannot help but wonder if plants are advancing like man in this mad age.
There seems to be a potent chemical in the water from the Catskills that was used to nourish these plants and keep them from wilting. Day after day, water from a kitchen sink and the Catskill Mountains was carried in a plastic urn, out the bedroom window, and dumped sparingly so that the plants would survive a series of seemingly endless heat waves in the Northeast this summer.
Hot waves of air infused with sunshine washed upon shores of blue, cloudless skies; the plants, having all that was needed from a few spoonfuls of blue-crystal Miracle Grow plant food reached skyward in rip-currents. The vines, feeding from New York’s peculiar water, absorbed rays of the sun like cocaine users of the Hamptons enjoying the benefits greed during times when their neighbors further inland are being evicted from homes and living in the shade of pure greed.
New York City has delicious drinking water; vegetables ripen with arrogance here; they are set afire from the nourishment of clean, heavenly fluoride dumped day after day upon roots that are able to breath in carefully tilled soil. Ripened on the vine, the plants are now taller than most men. Four more fist-size fruits await harvest and stewing this morning.
Into a skillet they are fed, with a little more water from the Catskill Mountains. The skins pop, seeds are squeezed out, and then the bloody flesh is chopped and diced.
Two dozen cherrystone clams awake when Brooklyn tap water boils. Reserve three cups from the pot for broth.
Salt pork from a Dominican market is seared in a heavy-bottom skillet. Look closely at the pig hair! Onion, potato and celery are cooked to a golden glow.
In a little thyme is tossed with four home-grown tomatoes. A little of the red fruit goes a long way when cooking in chlorinated, Miracle Grow broth.
A slow cooker makes harvest time in a heat wave more tolerable. A chowder-like chili will form in eight hours. A storm by the name of Earl will roll close to the cocaine high of the Hamptons when it is ready– oh how I crave something from the sea today!
Slowly I stew the day along, waiting for this category four meal to make it to the table later this evening. The seemingly unending heat wave of 2010 will end after the storm passes, or so the weatherman claims.
Croutons will be placed atop what is called ‘Manhattan Clam Chowder’ in other parts of town, but here, closer to the Hampton, we call it “Red Cocaine”.