Saturday, May 12, 2007

This meal took 2 years to make!




...well, not really. But a part of it took almost two years to grow. Let me explain.

Picture it. Irvine. Summer of 2005. I was packing up and getting ready to move to Syracuse, where Daiku was teaching. His birthday was coming up, so I decided to send him a gift that would symbolize our lives and relationship at that time. I was leaving California, and one of the things we would both miss about it was the fresh produce, especially the citrus fruit that grew everywhere. So I chose to send him a miniature lemon tree from Harry & David, like this one.

I figured the tree would be a fun thing, and a way of having a piece of California sunshine in upstate New York. The catalog promised us that out tree would grow loads of lemons, so flavorful and delicate that you could eat them skin and all. It all sounded fun and intriguing.


lemon trees Ramon (2nd from left) and Ramona (right) enjoying the sun, Summer 2006

The gift arrived to Daiku. Really excited, I asked him over the phone, "do you see any lemons yet??" He replied, "No... it's a little... puny." It turned out that the lemon tree they had sent was far from the lush fruitful tree we had been promised. I was a little disappointed, but Daiku decided to get on the phone to Harry & David and see if they could help. They were really helpful on the phone, and promised to send another lemon tree to replace the first one.

And that is how we ended up with two tiny trees, supposedly about to sprout lemons any day now. So we put them in the sunshine, watered them, and waited.

And waited.



The little trees became a part of our lives. We forgot about the lemons and treated them as beloved house plants. Above, you can see Daiku vacuuming around one.



Here's a squirrel, investigating a lemon tree out on the porch. In the summer, we moved the trees (which we'd named Ramon and Ramona by this time) to the yard, so they could enjoy extra sunshine and warmth. They proceeded to get infested with aphids. We lovingly treated them with neem oil, since our garden is organic and we couldn't use pesticides or other chemicals.



And then, a breakthrough! Little white flowers bloomed on the plants- could lemons be far behind? In time, we saw tiny little buds, lemon fetuses, if you will and got our hopes up that a huge lemon crop was due at any time.

However, soon the weather turned cool and we had to move the plants inside. Most of the little fetuses disappeared, but one little lemon hung on. We let it be. Weeks went by, then months.



Then one day, a perfect little lemon was born. It was time. Time to eat our baby.



We spent a few days contemplating the perfect way to eat the little guy, the lemon that had taken nearly 2 years to grow.



We decided on a Moroccan-style vegetable tagine with whole wheat couscous, figuring that the fresh acidity of lemon would be the perfect note to bring out the full flavor of the chickpeas and the summer vegetables such as zucchini and tomato.



And there it was- the meal that took two years to come into existence. The lemon was perfect, delicate, and juicy. The skin was, indeed edible. We really enjoyed the couscous. And then it was gone. And now we are left with two lemon plants, and an empty place in our hearts. We are thinking of transfering them to bigger containers this summer, and pruning them, to give them a fighting chance so that maybe, just maybe, we can enjoy another meal like this some time in 2009.


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31 comments:

Unilove said...

That is really a lovely story, with humor and smiles...

SusanV said...

I think you'll definitely enjoy more lemons if you put them into bigger pots. I had the same excitement with our pineapple plant--one baby pineapple--but with pineapples, one is seemingly all you get.

Johanna3 said...

great story! the lemon looks very cute!

Celine said...

love it! the little lemon born picture is making me melt, PLUS it is perfect too. rock on!

Mihl said...

Your own lemon tree. How great! This must have been the most tasteful lemon ever!

Unilove said...

Do lemon trees need to be pollinated by bees? Hence, needing outside exposure?

scottishvegan said...

What a sweet story! And a perfect little lemon at the end!

Theresa said...

I like that story! At least you have two years to come up with a *really* good recipe for the next lemon!

Neva Vegan said...

That's so cool, your own home grown lemon!!! What a great meal. Congratulations on the first lemon of many lemons to come.

aTxVegn said...

Aw, what a great story. Two years is long time to wait for one lemon! Moroccan style was the perfect choice.

Candi said...

You are a great story teller!! What a cute post. And that lemon! I am in love! Lol!

Your dish looks really good, and a great way to use that perfect little lemon! And just think, you will always have this blog post to remember that baby lemon by! :)

KathyF said...

What a sweet Mothers Day story!

Emmie said...

That's such an amazing story. It sounds delisious too, a lemon that you can eat whole. Amazing.

Judy said...

I love this story!

Bridget said...

Awwwwww...what a cute little lemon. What a great story too. One you can tell all the other future little lemons. :-)

Kati said...

I <3 Ramona and Ramon! We actually have a new plant named Fernie that we had to take off our bookshelf because our cats are plant-crazy...meaning they trample and bite anything that's green! I'm glad R&R didn't suffer the same fate.

That lemon is just too cute. I'm surprised that you got anything at all after transporting it to NY - I know certain plants, like avocados, won't produce any fruit above a certain latitude.

Great story!

b36Kitchen said...

i love this story..it made me feel all happy and warm! Moroccan was the perfect cuisine to use your first lemon!

JENNA

runswithdog said...

That lemon is absolutely gorgeous! I can't believe you managed to get one from a plant in Syracuse! That must be a first.

springsandwells said...

oh what a beautiful story!
Welcome to the world, little lemon!
I'm glad to see that your noble little lemon got to enhance such a delicious vegan meal. I'm sure it feels that its life was worthwhile.
:)

Urban Vegan said...

Aw, Bazu and Daiku--congratulations on your perfect little lemon. Seriosuly, I would have thrown you a lemon "shower" had I known ;)

Looks like your meal was the wonderful way to celebrate this glorious lemon. You have taken such great care of Ramon and Ramona--even in such a cold climate. I personally have accidentally killed an orange tree (RIP), so I'm very happy that you had such success.

Dori said...

What a beautiful lemon, glad you got pictures. I loved the story to, glad you found the perfect ending. Looking forward to 2009 :)

wheresmymind said...

Very cute story...just watch out for those skwerls!

Susan said...

Thanks for an endearing story, Bazu. I'd happily wait till 2009 for the next entry. ;)

Samantha said...

That lemon did look tasty and worth all the trouble. I am very bad a growing things, but am mad jealous of people who can. I am a wanna be green thumb with a propensity for torchering plants. I should be arrested for all of the poor little plants I have murdered, or at least all of my plants should have been taken into protective custody.

Carrie™ said...

What a wonderful story!! I LOVED IT!

Gaia said...

You are a good writer ! You made me care for your baby lemon to the point that I wanted it to be spared LOL

Melody Polakow said...

OMG... the lemon.. the precious lemon..

I think you used it wisely.

Keep up with the plants.. don't give up...I will be reading you in two years for the next lemon post.. hehe

vko said...

What a delectable little lemon & what a sweet story!

Lots of time & patience, but all living things reap the benefits of love & nurturing and in turn, you were presented with a gorgeous little gem.

Midwest Vegan said...

Can you say anticipation? - you are a patient person to wait that long and not pick it before it's time. I probably would have picked it before it's prime but I have to say, the little slices do look perfect. Can't wait until 2009 to see what you do with the next lemon (lol)!

Emmy said...

Love that you named your lemon trees. I name some of my household plants too. I enjoyed hearing about the lemon tree story too....all that time just to get one lemon. The tagine looks so vibrant and tasty.

Vivacious Vegan said...

Your baby lemon is so cute I can understand why you'd have empty hearts now. We used to have a lemon tree in Irvine and I miss being able to go out there and pick off a lemon for my iced tea or a recipe.