The Fig Paste Story

by Bob Schwartz

Fig Paste
Interest and talent for food runs a range. Some are world-class, others are moderately capable and knowledgeable, others don’t know or care. We are lucky if we are beneficiaries of those who take the making of food seriously and can follow through all the way to the table.

The artifacts of fine food are like those of any of the fine arts: you have plenty of tools and materials at hand, but some you may use only rarely. The tools are on racks or in drawers, the stable foodstuffs are on shelves, but some things are relegated to the refrigerator for freshness.

That is how the fig paste came to the refrigerator. It was purchased in December, in time for the holidays. It in fact came out of a holiday display of it and other fruit pastes, a pretty arcane category. It did end up in a very tasty dish back then. But a little container of fig paste goes a long way, and so to the fridge it went. In December.

The plastic container is quite small, about 2 by 3 inches, an inch high. It will fit easily in a refrigerator of more than 20 cubic feet. Except that in a busy, busy refrigerator, where ingredients and leftovers are always coming and going, there is a lot of rearranging to be done. So the tiny container, filled with delicious fig paste, is not so much homeless as peripatetic.

This weekend, as if to re-establish its raison d’être, the fig paste worked its way into another dish (crostini topped with fig paste and goat cheese: delicioso!). But Monday morning always comes, there’s a price to pay for all that eating, and now the fig paste is squeezed into, of all places, the butter drawer. It is in rich company (butter, cream cheese), but now the door to the drawer is challenged. Does it truly belong there? And so it has moved again, hoping it will not have to wait another five months for a role, even a very small supporting one. They also serve who sit hidden on the second glass shelf.