The Fruits of Summer

The other day I ate the first ripe tomato from my garden. I picked it off the plant, took it into my kitchen, and within five minutes it was gobbled up with a piece of whole wheat toast. Delicious!! When you eat a homegrown tomato like that, you realize just how tasteless and crappy the tomatoes are from the grocery store or, heaven forbid, the supermarket. Horrors! I don’t know what those supermarket tomatoes are supposed to be, but they are a sin against nature.

My vegetable plantings don’t exist in the form of well-tended rows over acres of land. (Acres? What are those?) Like most people who live in urban areas, my vegetables hold their own in limited square-footage and free standing buckets. But the plants don’t mind. Give them good soil, sun, water, organic fertilizer, and they will dutifully grow and yield luscious fruit.

In celebration of my sweet and juicy first tomato, I couldn’t resist posting a work from the 16th century painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Born in Milan in 1527 to a wealthy family, Arcimboldo’s career started out on the usual route of the times; securing jobs in the royal courts of Vienna and Prague doing the traditional work of painting portraits, designing costumes, palace decorations, stained glass, and tapestries. But Arcimboldo’s personal imagination didn’t begin to soar until he created strange and unique paintings of human heads in the form of fruits, vegetables, and plants.

A reflection of the season’s abundance, here is Arcimboldo’s Summer. I love this painting! Totally weird, but totally awesome:

Arcimboldo-summer

It comes as no surprise that Arcimboldo’s bizarre heads were admired centuries later by the Surrealists, such as Salvador Dali, who saw in his work the earliest expressions of the grotesque beauty and peculiar visions they would explore further.

ArtinthePicture has a more complete gallery of Arcimboldo’s heads. Check it out!

13 thoughts on “The Fruits of Summer

  1. Lin says:

    Congrats on your first tomato!
    I loved Arcimboldo’s painting too. This reminds me of Carl Warner’s amazing foodscape photographs:

    http://tinyurl.com/5sukx8

    • artmodel says:

      Thank you Lin!

      For some reason, that first tomato of the season is the most gratifying. And boy did it taste great.

      I loved the Carl Warner images. Those broccoli trees were my favorite! All of them were clever, creative, and beautiful.

      Claudia

  2. dougrogers says:

    I watch like a hawk my small patch of asparagus in the Spring; snap off the sprouts, brush the dirt off and eat the asparagus. Fresh. Ripe. Raw.

    • artmodel says:

      doug,

      That is by far the best way to enjoy the earth’s bounty, right out of the ground. I can almost taste that crunchy delicious asparagus you described.

      I’ve been wanting to try my hand at asparagus. I should have planted them this year but I got caught up in carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, and leafy greens.

      Claudia

  3. K L says:

    French bread, sliced by hand three quarters of an inch thick. Extra virgin olive oil in skillet with thin sliced fresh garlic. Bread fried in oil until crisp and golden, sliced garden tomato on top with a dash”oh my!” of salt and fresh ground black pepper. That is how I eat my tomatoes. Had my first ones last week(early girls), the only hybrids I grow..the rest are heirlooms. This cool spring brought me some of the best broccoli that I have ever grown and cabbages you would not believe. Ahh Claudia, live is good and it’s the little things that make it so. Thank you.

    • artmodel says:

      KL,

      That is a perfect preparation for home growns. Simple and delicious. The French bread is a nice touch. My mouth is watering!

      Your comments have inspired me. I really should venture away from hybrids. I’ve had good results with Best Boys, but I’d love to try heirlooms. The problem is I have limited space and use containers, so I can’t grow an indeterminate plant. I wish I could, though, as I LOVE Brandywines. That is my dream tomato.

      Glad the weather was conducive to the cruciferous veggies. And yes, KL, it is the little things – the pure, rewarding pleasures, that make life good 🙂

      Thanks so much for your comments.

      Claudia

  4. Congratulations on tomato #1!

    I just harvested rhubarb tonight but won’t taste it for a year, that’s how long it takes to make a nice wine out of it.

  5. Ron says:

    This gives new meaning to the term “head of lettuce”.

  6. Ron says:

    And Mr. Potato Head.

  7. swatch says:

    There is something very special about eating from your own garden. We share our produce with snails. Every now and again we collect them up (in their hundreds) and send them into exile in a field that I hope is far enough away. But they breed really fast.
    I have always found Arcimboldo’s vegetable heads mildly disturbing – I think its because they look like flayed heads or something. So I will come back and reflect on this and hopefully see something of what you see. Another diversion in this wonderful journey – thanks for the signpost.

    • artmodel says:

      Swatch,

      That’s a lot of snails!! All we get here are slugs, with no shells, crawling along the pavements after a rainy spell.

      I can see how you would find Arcimboldo’s heads a bit disturbing. They are pretty weird! I happen to like Surrealism, and Arcimboldo is clearly a forebear of that genre.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Claudia

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