Graduation Part I: Souvenirs
May 18, 2008
You’d think that the most exciting aspect of the last weekend for me would have been receiving my law degree. And, while that was a “milestone” and “momentous” and “special,” I just might have been a little more thrilled by another thing that happened this weekend. I went to my first farmers market of the year!
Kevin’s sister graduated on Saturday from the University of Wisconsin, so we were in Madison for roughly 18 hours to help her celebrate. Between dinner and pretending we were still in college at the bars on State Street on Friday night and the ceremony on Saturday morning, we had barely a second to breathe. But I really, really, really wanted to go to the Farmer’s Market that bustles around Madison’s capitol building on Saturday mornings. You see, Chicago doesn’t deem it Farmer’s Market season until an absurdly late date (mid-June in my neighborhood!). And I have been counting the days, weeks and probably even months. And I could wait absolutely no longer.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story and more photos.)
So, I decided that sleeping on Friday night would just have to go. I defied the iron hotel curtains that could have blocked out the sun and let me sleep till an ungodly hour (8? 9?) and instead popped out of bed at 7 and made my way toward the capitol. Kevin joined me on the walk (actually, more of a jog; I’m telling you, I’ve been dying for this), bless his heart.
And oh boy, was it worth it. Really, I would have traded an entire night’s worth of sleep to do it. People were sauntering around in the early morning sun, steaming coffee in hand and dreamy smiles on their faces. (Or, maybe that was just me.) Floral smells from the flower stalls blended with savory, oniony wafts. Purveyors with dirt under their fingernails earnestly handed over bushels of this and bundles of that. Quite simply: I was in heaven.
After a scouting lap around the market, I made my choices: green garlic (first and last photos), spring onions (third photo), purple (!) asparagus (fourth photo) and rhubarb (second and fifth photos). I also had my eye on a hanging basket spilling over with multi-colored million bells and I’m still kicking myself for not getting it. But that morning was about produce. I wanted to stick to things I couldn’t find in my grocery stores and things I hadn’t cooked before. The green garlic, spring onions and purple asparagus fit the bill. And the rhubarb? Well, I just couldn’t resist.
So, now that the dust has settled after a weekend of not one but two graduations, I am staring down a blissful week of NOTHING. I have five days off before we leave for Bermuda for a Memorial Day wedding, upon our return from which I have to start studying for The Bar Exam. And I cannot wait to try my hand at using these new (to me) vegetables and to find a new recipe for the rhubarb. If you have any suggestions, please do share!