Two Ripe White Peaches

Gentle Reader, While I’m closeted writing a novel I hope you’ll enjoy reading, it’s been suggested I post pieces from earlier years … years when I was freshly widowed, living in or near L.A. with my dog, waiting for Bill to appear. Do please bear with me!

A View from 15 years ago: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2009

Two Ripe White Peaches

I just ate most of two ripe white peaches standing at the sink. I remember the first white peach I ever saw. I can’t imagine how it was, but I was in my twenties … maybe even thirties. It was a shock, this exotic, like discovering my first pluot. Something about the snowy whiteness of the flesh raised this peach to a higher order, isn’t that silly. But it did. It was as though the fruits were virginal, merited respect. Silly again, but not really. There are some achievements in nature one ought honor.

This afternoon, I bought a clamshell package of four organic white peaches at Trader Joe’s. I examined them carefully from the outside, and when I sniffed at the little open slot of the box, the fragrance was divine, so they clearly were wonderfully ripe. Unfortunately, tonight when I took them out of their box to put them on the epergne, I realized two were beginning to lose ground … a hint of mold appeared on one and the other had an unhappy brown spot. I whipped out my small paring knife and nicked out the offending spots, the while thinking, How’m I going to preserve these? Keep them from deteriorating more?

I know; just add sugar. Sugar is, of course, a preservative sine qua non. So I cut the peaches into a blue glass bowl, bite sizes, and sprinkled them copiously with sugar.

Then here I was with a blue glass bowl full of fragrant, juicy, sweet, ephemeral — that’s the key word, they were not going to last — white peaches. What to do with them?

I’ve learned over the years that refrigerating peaches is a bad idea … the flesh can become grainy, woody. Actually, the first peaches I bought this summer — also organic, also smelling of the ripe fruit — were a misery. Woody as hell, clearly they had been refrigerated. I had to throw them out — there was no rescuing them … could not turn them into jam, could not keep them in brandy, could not frame them in a galette, there was no way the woodiness would not be noticed.

I reached for one of the large silver spoons my Russian great-grandmother brought over on the boat from Rostov-on-the-Don. I have three, they are oversize, thin, bent, with fiddle-back handles, and I eat just about everything from my morning oatmeal to my lunchtime yogurt to my evening risotto with one of these precious spoons. Stirred the sugar a bit to dissolve it, spooned up the morsels.


My husband used to be annoyed at my eating standing at the sink. He’s not around to get cross at me, but if he were, I’d do it anyway. He said it was a sign of undue haste. Maybe. Maybe instead it’s a sign of being comfortable in one’s kitchen, of feeling easy just leaning against the sink, daydreaming, not wanting to pick up a napkin and go to the table or the counter or anywhere …that sometimes feels like a sign of undue fussiness. Why not simply be straightforward and plunge in to eating the lovely treat at hand with pleasure and no nonsense?

And so I did.

The other two peaches are in the epergne I carried on my lap on the plane home from Orvieto forty years ago. I will eat them the same way tomorrow.

I urge you: go and get a handful of fragrant ripe organic white peaches and eat them wherever it feels happiest, at the sink or under a tree or sharing with a good friend.

Too soon the end of summer will take all the possibilities away.

2 Comments. Leave new

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Previous Post
Comfort Me with Chanterelles
Next Post
The Professor’s 4-Ingredient Supper