We went to visit C and her kiddos today which is always a treat. As an added bonus, she lives across the street from an avid and very talented, successful gardener who often lets her act like Peter Rabbit with permission. Sometimes, I get to be her accomplice, and today, we raided the fig tree. I grew up watching my mother eat fig preserves straight from the jar. Nanny and Aunt Da grew figs; really it seemed like every woman in our family grew figs and put them up each year. During my childhood, I thought figs were nasty, slimy little beings and wouldn't touch them with a 10-foot pole. At some point I cottoned to fig newtons, which is rather like saying you enjoy tomatoes because you eat ketchup, but whatever. Some years later, I moved into an acceptance of dried figs, especially when paired with blue cheese and warmed. And, finally -you see where this is headed- I've started going for the real thing: fresh figs. For starters, I like the Italian word for figs: i ficchi (pron: fee-kee). And secondly, figs do pair nicely with a number of yummies. I don't eat them plain, mind you. I prefer mine cooked with a salty something nearby: the aforementioned blue cheese, some walnuts perhaps, bacon, etc. Otherwise they're too treacly for my taste.

C had cooked hers two ways: caramelized with lemon, and poached in a balsamic/sherry/sugar/peppercorn syrup. Both were good, and the lemon prep was very unique. She had warmed thin slices of bread and had a great blue cheese alongside. Delicious afternoon snack. And then I got sent home with all these pretties and am noodling on a way(s) to use them.