I find myself on multiple occasions fantasizing about the produce section in our grocery store back home. Oh, to be able to just wander freely through such a veritable garden of eden again…

Which is not to say that there isn’t good produce here, the problem is that because of some weird hang-up about cholera we’re not allowed to buy it off the local economy. So what we get is what can be flown in from safer parts. For vegetables, that means on any given day carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes. Every now and then some celery. Let me tell you, I never thought I would treasure celery, but when you haven’t had it for weeks it’s amazing how good it tastes. Fruit is the same way — we usually have access to red delicious apples, plums, pears and the occasional kiwi. I should be greatful for what we have, especially since I’ve heard that the winters here often mean that no flights can land and we’re reduced to whatever is canned and already here for weeks on end, but I’ll admit that I’ve been fiending for berries and peaches and summer squash.

So what did I do the other night? I bought about five books on organic home gardening online. Why, you ask, in a place where we have no land in which to plant such plants, let alone time to tend them, would I torture myself this way? I’m not really sure. But the very idea of being able to walk out my back door and pick some okra or strawberries is incredibly seductive right now.

On a slightly separate note, I’ve developed a fresh appreciation for the many ways of preserving meat and fruit products as I contemplate a time six months from now when we may not have received any fresh supplies for weeks or months (last winter I think the record was eight weeks with no mail and no food deliveries — people were getting Christmas cards in February). If I actually had the equipment or know-how to make sausage or dry meat (or how to use it once it’s been dried) or preserve jellies and jams and such I would beg, borrow and steal whatever I could from the mess hall and create my own stockpiles.

Perhaps I’m starting to sound a bit fiendish. I think I’ll go enjoy a lovely dried peach and a granola bar and try to ignore the visions of summer watermelons and cherries that are dancing in my head.

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