Clyde: Fine ways to feast on figs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 16, 2021

Oh, the lowly fig, scorned by many, unloved by children, packed by the grackle, cultivated by few, passed over by most.

The taste, inherited from your grandmother is like none other — sweetness you’ll never forget. Love ’em or hate ’em, like some people you know. Matthew 7:16 says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?”

Falling, forsaken, fermenting in fallow farmlands, with a few faineant fans of the facetiae and farce. We heard about the good tidings of figgy pudding, but something must have gotten lost in the translation. We learned that Fig Newtons were not named for Sir Isaac. They were for Newton, Massachusetts and invented by Charles Roser in 1891 by the extrusion process. Fig leaves come in all shapes and sizes, not unlike the fruit that tends to look like what they cover. Ask Adam or Eve what they would have done without them or belly buttons.

The Poteats, out past Sherill’s Ford, are quick to share with you the names of varieties like yellow Italian honey, celeste, brown turkey or Hardy Chicago, which is a black color. Warren, a fig convert, says there is an island off the coast that has over 50 species. You can only get there by ferry. Forbidden fruit.

Aunt Sallie, a 104-year-old in Tyro, would stew thew figs covered in sugar and water for 20 minutes each day and then roll them in more sugar and dry on waxed paper to be put in tins for Christmas “candied” figs. Recipes abound, but the best may be raw figs filled with goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto that could pair with a sweet sherry, a tawny port or a madeira at Stephanie’s and Bob’s wine shop.

If you can find Mason canning jars with lids, you can make a jam with a little effort. No blender please. A little bite of fig preserves on a morning toast can heal about any trouble, if you let it. Or “let them take a lump of figs and lay it for the plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover,” says Isaiah 38:21.

Whatever hurts, hopefully is not forever. Like paint, it fades gracefully with time. “For they have healed the hurt slightly, saying peace when there is no peace … they shall be cast down. There shall be no grapes on the vine or figs on the fig tree and the fig leaf shall fade,” says Jeremiah 8:11 and 13. “and the things I have given them shall pass away.”

We can still miss things and people that are gone. they slowly fade from memory. We can still worry about the omega variant of the virus, the Taliban takeover or recharging your cell phone or just little things that we don’t use or appreciate before they are gone. So, mind how you step on them figs in the backyard next to the chicken lot while watching a murder of crows feasting in the tree tops and a sneaky ol’ black snake hiding underneath the three just waiting to give you a snakey little lick. Keep repeating the apocalyptic warning in Revelation 6:13: “And the stars of heaven fell unto the Earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken by a mighty wind.”

Amen.

Clyde lives in Salisbury.

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