I am not finished pining for you, Greater Miami-Fort Lauderdale Metropolitan Area where the air smells like Key limes and coconut, even in heavy traffic.
But I have to confess. There is something in this pasty-faced, corn-fed Midwestern culture to love. To dream about even. To cultivate ripe, lusty, garden-fresh fantasies over.
My friend Dianne, who has family in Nebraska, says that you cannot leave your car doors unlocked there this time of year without coming back to find that someone has filled your passenger seat with 50 pounds of something just picked.
Where I come from, the backyards are elaborately paved over to resemble Venetian courtyards, with palm trees in pots, accent lighting by Target and a cathedral's worth of Pier One candelabra. They don't generally cultivate anything edible unless it grows from a low-maintenance tree that was already there, drops into our laps and can be used to make guacomole or margaritas.
As far as I know, nobody in Greater Miami ever returned to an unlocked car to find it filled with margaritas and guacamole. Not counting the stomach contents of dead hookers.
Here, every third house has a backyard patch of something high-maintenance and ridiculously good. Yesterday, I opened the front door to find a bag of backyard tomatoes, one as big as a softball and so beautiful I wanted to have its nude portrait painted.
Instead, I sliced it and piled it on a bagel spread with cream cheese and capers. It was so good you could have recorded an adult film soundtrack in my kitchen. Oh god.
That must be what is meant by food porn.