Close
Request mobile website view
Subscribe | Log In
Welcome back!
My Account | Log Out

For want of a bell pepper


To read this article and more, subscribe now

Looks like you've already reached your free article limit for the month. To continue reading, without interruption, subscribe and get unlimited digital access.

What I now know about taking in the harvest, prepping food and canning veggies is that I don’t really know very much.

Sigh.

I’ve been picking and freezing tomatoes for the past few weeks in anticipation of making … I’m not sure. I already have enough spaghetti sauce. I’m not keen on salsa. Tomato aspic? That’s an answer to a crossword puzzle clue. I hear you can use tomatoes on boils and acne.

Once my garden was bare and my freezer was filled to bursting with bags of tomatoes, I brought them all out to thaw. I downloaded a few recipes. And I started to prep the mess.

The dog looked longingly at me. The cat meowed incessantly. I offered them bits of tomatoes to show them they didn’t want any. They turned up their noses and continued to look longingly/meow incessantly. I was starting to go a little nuts.

But it didn’t take long before I was done! Yep! That’ll happen when your blender seizes up. A friend happened to call — she had a blender I could borrow! I drive all the way to her house to find out it’s not a blender, but a mixer, and I have one of those! Haha! Thanks anyway!

I get home and outfit my old blender with beater-bar-thingies I’d just purchased and … they don’t fit. So I pulled out my old hand-crank decapitating machine — one of those things they display in the store and offer real food to show you how well it works — and started work. Tomatoes were thick, my arm was strong, and the handle broke.

Sigh. The cat meowed.

Then I realized I’d forgotten my recipe at work. Drive to work, collect the recipe, go home.

And then, cataclysm: the recipe called for a bell pepper I didn’t have!

For want of a bell pepper the canning season is lost? No! The kitchen is awash in tomato juice! It’s too late to call it quits!

Normally being short a bell pepper or two wouldn’t be a big deal, but a friend and I are doing the Big Box Boycott, so we can only purchase food from locally-owned businesses. Just for a month, thank god. But we were still nine days out!

I looked at my pot full of tomato glop. It would not last nine days; no way.

I’ve already given my friend grief because she’s admitted to sending her husband to the big box store to buy things; cheating by proxy! I say.

“Where am I going to find a bell pepper?!” I cried.

“I have several in my crisper,” she replied, nonchalantly.

“Of course you do,” I snarked.

She gave me permission to go to the store — one time — for the bell pepper. Oh, no. I don’t want that lorded over my head for the next year.

I envisioned myself in front of a grocery store, apprehending little old ladies by their coat sleeves.

Me: Ma’am? I’m sorry, I was wondering if you could buy me a bell pepper? I’ll pay for it; you can keep the change?

Ma’am: You! Don’t touch me! Go away! Panhandling isn’t allowed!

Me: Sir? I was wondering …

Sir: Harumph … mumble-mumble, bums, call the managers …

Me: Yo, dude! A little help? I need a bell pepper —

Dude: Is that like, code? I like it!

Me: No, I really do need a bell pepper and I can’t go into a big-box store; it’s on a challenge with a friend to not go, you know, and I have to go nine more days until I can and —

Dude: Oh, you got kicked out of all the stores, too, huh? Bummer, man. Later.

Me: Sigh.

Panhandling at the grocery store with a fiver in my hand for a bell pepper — my mother would be so proud.

Back at home, I chop onions. Grate garlic. Look for ginger powder — I don’t like ginger! Stupid recipe.

The dog looks at me. The wooden stirring spoon drops out of my hand. I glare at the broken blenders. And look up to see my mess had clogged the sink.

It’s all going to have to wait. There was no way I was going to start some high-pressure canning the way my luck was going.

For now, I await the plumber’s arrival. The cat can meow at him, instead.