Also speaking of fruit, it is strawberry season again, like it was when I first arrived here last spring, and it is heaven. Strawberries in Pakistan are delicious red little jewels, and they are only available for 2 months. They are the best-tasting, most vibrant strawberries I have ever eaten, anywhere (with the exception of Stearns Farm, Framingham, MA). There’s an organic strawberry farm outside Islamabad that I now have the hook-up with, and I am determined to put the waffle maker that I bought in Bangkok to good use every single weekend, piling fresh hot waffles high with juicy strawberries and whipped cream from now until the last sad berry in Islamabad drops from its plant and we all have to wait another 10 months for the next.
The pursuit of domesticity continues! Having installed curtains, a new bathroom, and scary gas heaters that would be illegal in the United States in every room, I turn our attention now to the garden, and my desire for fresh vegetables and herbs that I can pick and eat just outside the front door.
Am I allowed to call it “my” garden when it is actually my gardener who gets the seeds, plants the seeds, waters the seeds, weeds everything, and all but hands me local, seasonal eating on a silver platter? I’m going to anyway. And I do often insist on doing the fun part myself: skipping out into the garden with a colander and a knife to harvest what I need for the dinner salad. The gardener thinks I’m weird for doing this, and everyone seems vaguely uncomfortable that I’m not having staff cut lettuce and pull radishes for me. But this is the beauty of being a gentleman farmer, right? Someone else does all the work and you get to walk around and enjoy the fruits of their labor?
Speaking of fruit, I never found my orange thief from last winter, but the tree is in blossom now and smells amazing every time I walk out the door, reminding me to forgive and forget, and also to tell the guard to be on the lookout for citrus felons. Who are we kidding, it was definitely the guard who ate them.