Oh, we are in the midst of some gorgeous late summer weather. Finally. Here in the Pacific Northwest we’ve had a dud of a season, with many unseasonably muggy, gray, rainy, cold days and not days like these, sheer perfection in their dry, sunny warmth. At last we can comfortably eat outdoors.
I notice everything tastes better and am reminded of something M.F.K. Fisher said a long time ago. She wrote while she was in sun-drenched Provence in southern France, about how the tomatoes, vegetables and herbs bought that morning at a market were overripe by that evening from the weather. This meant they had to be eaten right away and every juicy bit dripped with flavor.
There is in fact a physiology of taste, and most of us, myself included, don’t often think about it very deeply nor do we think about what enhances it. Sometimes, it can simply be the weather.
I’ve been indulging twice daily on fresh salad fixings, as I have before in other seasons. But this week, after stepping outside and being in the sun just a few seconds, I can taste a beautiful collison of mild perfume from the lettuces, punctuated with a dash of onion, sweetened with tomato and polished off by the refined tang of a vinaigrette. The salad sparkles in more ways than one.