Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Honey Comb - A Trip to the Charleston Farmers Market

I've been obsessed lately with trying to eat more locally. The importance of this having been drummed into my head by recently watching the documentary Food Inc., which will change the way you shop and eat, probably forever -- but also because I've been thinking a lot about how our bodies adjust to the world around us. Food is the ultimate absorber: since growing a few of my own vegetables this year, I've realized for the first time just how much our veggies are impacted by the world in which they are born. When I eat the zucchini from my garden, I'm not just eating any old zucchini. I'm eating that thunderstorm that came through yesterday like a flash flood, raging as though we should all cease any other activities and immediately commence building our own arks. I'm eating that hot summer sun that beat down on my back all last week, wilting me on even the short trip to the front yard mailbox, causing things to grow and grow until they ripen and burst, and return to the earth. I'm reconsuming every day that has come before this moment, and when you think about it this way, intimately knowing those moments because you were there, and then consuming them, bringing them into your body, eating a zucchini becomes quite a beautiful and miraculous thing.

Yesterday at the farmer's market I roved the stalls like an insatiable woman, loading up on onions, collards, cucumbers, lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, and local chicken from a husband and wife start-up farm called Fili-West Farms -- happy to fork over $20 bucks for 3.5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts after talking with them for nearly 20 minutes about their chicken raising techniques.

And then there was the honeycomb. It caught my eye at the local stand because I knew I wanted to buy SOMETHING there, but I'm pretty flush in the honey department now. There it sat, a big old flat brick of honeycomb, oozing with golden possibility.

"What do you use honeycomb for?" I asked the woman with grey-streaked hair who was manning the table.

"Well," she said, "You can slice it up to put on biscuits, fresh bread or toast...the wax in it is amazing for your digestive track."

Which gave me an idea...

"I bet it would be fabulous with some fruit and some fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano."

"Exactly." She agreed, probably eager to make a sale. And so the next thing I knew, I had handed over $8.00 for my own personal chunk of honeycomb.

So today I'm making tea, and as I'm reaching for my honey to add, I figure, why not go whole hog, and dip into the real thing!

I open up the container and sliced off a chunk with a table knife. It sank into the honeycomb so effortlessly, it was promising. Glopping my serving into my tea mug, I poured the boiling water over it, watching it melt away, thinking, Awesome! It melts away completely. So much less gross this way. Because truthfully, raw honeycomb is a little disgusting. But on my first sip of tea, I got it. Stuck all over my teeth, to be exact. So here I am drinking green tea with a film of honeycomb wax that has settled on top. It's pretty gross. I don't want to know what those round little white things are. Please don't let them be... bee eggs or something. But I feel virtuous. And I will not let my $8.00 go to waste.

Perhaps tomorrow, I'm better off learning how to bake some biscuits.

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