It's almost time.
And truthfully, apart from the ones at Soby's in Greenville, SC or Husk in Charleston, not to mention the wonderful ones at Curate in Asheville, NC, I'm not a big fan of fried green tomatoes. So much can go wrong. The oil can be too cool. The cornmeal can be lackluster. The seasoning can be bland. Just because it's a southern staple and the possibility for something really exceptional, even in the most exceptional restaurants, one rarely finds the thing of your memories.
One of my memories is this: an old farmhouse in the upstate of South Carolina, the home of my mother's sister and her husband, where the typical large mid-day lunch (what we call dinner) is served. Vegetables that came straight from the garden a few hours before, as well as a fried chicken who literally had crowed to welcome the day a few hours before. There were pickles. Sweet tea. Biscuits. Chicken. Macaroni salad. All the southern staples. And, on the rarest of occasions, fried green tomatoes.
When I close my eyes I am there, perched on a chair from a vinyl 1950s era dinette set, listening to my aunt tell stories, tasting the love in that food, the lack of pretense, the connection you don't get anywhere else, hearing the laughter.
In any case, here at Stargrove, the tomatoes, even the green ones, aren't ready yet.
The real recipe, the one that is now in my dreams, is probably just out of reach.