As I get older, I find that whenever I catch a cold, they all seem increasingly novel-esque (or at least short story-esque) in aspect. Each cold unfolds in a unique, dreadful way and seems to issue from a different, dark and unknowable pre-history.
Summer colds are always the worst. I always seem to contract one and this summer’s two colds (the first lasted a couple of weeks and departed in early July; I’m now experiencing the “Encore Presentation”) have been hideous.
I’ll spare you the symptoms, apart from the fact that this one has affected my back, rooting me to bed. Like most people, I hate the feeling of immobility. It’s summertime and, dreadful heat notwithstanding, I need to get around and go because I have things to do.
But being merely human, my reach and my grasp are approximately equal and they are greatly diminished. What I can’t reach, I must shout for (uncouth as that is) and if no one is listening………..
On my terrace this summer, I am growing cantaloupes, watermelons and morning glories in large pots. Being rooted in place does not inhibit their ability to move, however. They each reach out from their pots to attach themselves to adjacent neighbors (sometimes several pots down the row) and to the iron railings of our terrace. Multiple tendrils extending to many locations, their reach and grasp seem approximately infinite. You can actually see this occur and we’ve spent many dinner hours in silence watching this amazing phenomenon.
A friend suggested that my cantaloupe friends are perhaps genetically altered Triffids. I hadn’t thought about Triffids for a long time (although one never really forgets them) and, all I can say is, I hope not.
Sadly, it’s all happening out on the terrace right now, but I can’t see it. Sadly also, there’s no cure for the common cold, although I do think the word “common” is misused here. My cold is unique.
Spooning this conserve over yogurt makes a light, sweet summer dessert.
Start to finish: 45 min
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large ripe cantaloupe, seeds and rind discarded and flesh cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
1/3 cup golden raisins
Accompaniment: plain yogurt
Bring sugar, water, and lemon juice to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved, then boil, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cantaloupe and raisins and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until cantaloupe is translucent and syrup is thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.
Transfer conserve to a metal bowl, then set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water to cool, stirring occasionally.
Makes 6-8 dessert servings