Week 2 in Madison, Wisconsin. A place with, according to Wesley’s grad-student handbook, more restaurants per capita than any other town in the country. Mitigating my homesickness for Alaska — how could we leave in the middle of coho salmon season, and just when the blueberries were getting perfect? — there are berries everywhere. And mitigating the queer feeling of having an empty fridge, I’ve got way too many berries in there now.
On the road and in parking lots and little groves are high-bush cranberries, apples, grapes, blackberries, and nobody else seems to be picking them. I brought currant jam from home (red, black, stinky and hairy), but it looks like we won’t have to ration it.I had to Google a number of berries, and was disappointed to find that a delicious-looking double berry is the inedible and invasive bush honeysuckle.
This week’s favorite: Wild grapes. Not all ripe, but still perfectly balanced, both strongly tart and sweet. I’ll have to look into what variety they are; a fruit walk on Tuesday at the UW Agricultural Research Station opened new frontiers in grape tastes to my unschooled tongue. I made grape cream scones, more like tart blueberry or currant than any grape I’ve ever met before.
Huzzah, Madison. You’re a wild place after all.