“But what do you do with all those raspberries?”
Years ago, living near wonderful U-Pick-It farms in New Jersey, the owners would ask such questions, perhaps wondering what kind of person walks off with gargantuan takings of perfect, dead ripe produce week after week.
I’m the one hauling too much corn, tomatoes, peaches (you name it), through the farmer’s market parking lot. The staring lady who cannot decide between one nectarine and the other probably thinks I am cooking for a family of six, or for the firehouse down the street.
But what do I do with all that eggplant?
A key strategy for the single cook with an embarrassment of market riches is to think of every dish as prep (or “mis en place” as a French chef would call it) for something else. Today’s ratatouille may be the go-with for grilled lamb chops on a summer evening, a cold salad tomorrow, and a quick post-golf lunch with pasta and grated cheese the next day, and the rest in individual frozen portions, a taste of August throughout the fall. And this is the key: Buying at peak, enjoying the moment, and consuming the rest on a future day when the ingredients won’t be nearly as good, or nearly as fun to work with.