Oh how we Jaffaites suffer the woes of winter.The season of winds and rain is here, but so far, they seem to have forgotten to blow and fall. There are still people who walk around in t-shirts and shorts... well at least at mid-day. This year winter seems to have taken a detour and so far we have only had one major storm. People are starting to worry about the water level in Lake Tiberias, and, as is usual when there has been an unseemly lack of rain, there are rumours of water rationing and vague threats of drought and the subsequent plague and pestilence that is always associated with it. Of course, this being the land of biblical prophesies, doom and gloom, floods and fire and all manner of dire fates are easily bandied about. In fact, what has the people of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and the surrounding satellite cities worried isn't water conservation, but a convicted serial rapist who managed to escape when being transferred from prison to court. The newspapers speculate that it was probably an inside job. In a country this small, that isn't so surprising.
One of the good things about living in such a militarized state is that there is a very large police presence. My friend Cactus had 2 female officers banging on her door the other day. The first thing she thought of was that they were there to rescind her visa (not that there is any reason to, she is an extremely law abiding person). In fact, they were doing a door to door search, and wanted to make sure she wasn't being held against her will. Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy?
The market this Friday had only one single stall with the first flowers of winter for sale. Soon, however, there will be more. Artichokes are one of my favourite foods in the entire world. I like them for a number of reasons... actually, I would be more accurate to say that I love them.
Artichoke, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
- I love eating with my hands and you are the perfect finger food
- I love that you are elegant and sexy
- I love that you are homely and simple
- I love the dichotomy you present
- I love taking time over a meal, and to enjoy you one must take time - slowly taking you apart, leaf by leaf until I get to the heart of the matter.
- I love that you are perfect on their own
- I love that you are perfect with a good vinaigrette
- I love that you are perfect with the richness of melted butter and the piquancy of lemon
- I love that you agree perfectly with the unctuousness of hollandaise
- I love that when I drink a glass of water after eating an artichoke, the water is sweet - how many other things in life can do that?
- I love that you are a harbinger of winter and a promise of spring
I love that you can eat artichokes at a picnic by the sea, in the middle of winter, looking at a sailboat as it passes by, basking in the sun and knowing that elsewhere, people have to shovel snow to reach their cars just so they can go to the mall. I just walked here...
Winter in Jaffa. It's such a test of fortitude isn't it?