Friday, October 28, 2011
God, I love acorns. They're so little and smooth and they wear cute, nubbly caps. They're so satisfying to crush under your feet as you walk down the sidewalk, plus they make amazing weapons: you're not going to put anybody's eye out with an acorn, but if you can manage to hit somebody with one, it's great because it makes the person laugh and say "Ow!" at the same time.
Acorns remind me of Casey, who I used to be married to and who recently called me to ask if I would be his biographer. I told him I was interested, but that I'd have to wait until my schedule cleared up a little. I seriously think I could make a ton of money off the story of Casey's life, so I moth-balled that idea (you like that? I picked it up in a meeting yesterday. Meetings are great places to discover new, stupid ways of saying things.).
Casey is wonderful and also craaazy. This one time, back when we were married, he decided he was going to spend the year 2003 only eating things that were produced or grown within a 150-mile radius of Athens, Georgia. He decided this in October and he planned to start in January. So he scored a freshly killed deer off the side of Mitchell Bridge Road ("There's only like one bruised place on it's left haunch and Brady totally saw it get hit a few minutes ago, so it should be fine. I'm gonna go pick it up in the Justy--be back in an hour.") and he started spending every Sunday walking around in the woods shooting squirrels. Pretty soon our whole freezer was filled with roadkill and squirrel meat. So that was good, I guess.
But Casey's a big eater, and that wasn't going to last him until summer. He picked a cardboard box full of pecans out of a friend's yard, but upon shelling them, found that he was going to need a lot more pecans. So he picked about 5 bushels of apples, but they all rotted within a couple of weeks. And with this, Casey started getting nervous. He surfed the internet and discovered he could eat acorns.
At this point, it was November and Athens was lousy with acorns, just like it is now. One afternoon, Casey came home with a shopping bag full of acorns.
"Whatcha gonna do with all those acorns?" I asked.
"Make acorn flour! For acorn cakes!" He's an enthusiastic guy.
So Casey spent the better part of November gathering acorns. He toasted them in the oven and shelled them. He let them soak in boiling water for hours and hours. He fed them through my great grandmother's meat grinder, and voila! Acorn mash: a ton of it.
And man alive, was that acorn mash ever disgusting. Casey made some acorn cakes one morning and I tried one. It didn't just taste bitter, it made my mouth try to attack itself. Like all my salivary glands were spitting venom. It took a while to get over that.
"I think you might have used the wrong kind of acorns?" I said when I had recovered.
"Mmm." Casey said, still chewing, nodding thoughtfully. "Mmmhmm."
Anyway, come January Casey started his year of local eating. One morning--actually, I think it was January 3rd--I was cooking an egg and toast in the kitchen, and Casey came in from outside.
"Fuck it," he said. "I am so damn hungry. This has been the worst three days of my life."
And he scrambled like five eggs and sat down and ate them with half a loaf of bread.
And that's the story of Casey and the acorns.