Thursday, May 17, 2007
A Restorative Radish
Why is it that when some people come together, they feel they must celebrate, and celebrate, and celebrate their reunion until it is over? In the excitement of seeing certain loved ones, familiar in the way only those with shared history and DNA can be, my regard for balance and moderation deserts me utterly.
For the past 2 days, I have been thus occupied, reveling in the presence of my cousins from Chicago. And now here I sit, uselessly inert on the couch and with a distracting urge to apologize, though to whom or for what I can't imagine. I am munching a bowl of French Breakfast radishes and wishing families still lived closer to one another. Mine is scattered across the face of the earth.
Radishes have long ranked among my favorite refreshments, and my instincts may be right. They’re reported by some to aid liver function, quell inflammation, and sooth respiratory ailments.
Breakfast at a Nîmes inn where we once spent a week was always a bowl of fresh figs and a baguette, spread with good butter, covered with a single layer of wafer-thin radish rounds, and sprinkled with sea salt.
At the start of the day, I prefer the French Breakfast variety, which are in season here from late April until the end of the summer. They are elongated and bright pink with white ends and roots, and their flavor is mild and mineral – almost completely devoid of peppery heat. A pile of them in the market always transports me to Parisian markets, where they're far more common. The Migliorelli Farm stand has some lovely ones right now, and I bought a bundle as well as some of the harder, hotter traditional specimens. These I have sliced thin for a spicy sandwich to take on the road. I’ve got a long drive to make today, and I want to bring along a restorative reminder of breakfast in the south of France.