This is How to Have Peaches for Dinner

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Peaches dressed up for dinner. (Ruth Gebreyesus)

The peaches were so remarkably sweet last July that my mom wondered out loud whether it was the last summer on earth. Her question came back to me this spring as a pandemic took over the world and longstanding protests against police brutality swelled into uprisings across the country. This year’s peaches aren’t as sweet. I wish I could prove it empirically, but all I have to compare is memories of their ambrosial sugariness. Even still, I’m eating my fair share of peaches this year. Galettes have become a favorite way to enjoy them but I also keep coming back to enjoying them simply sliced up with some yogurt and honey. I started eating peaches this way on the many nights last summer when I craved a salad and dessert all at once. A few toppings and a dish is made out of a single fruit. It’s not an uncommon composition to pair the floral sweetness of a peach with a rich dairy thing. I love the tang yogurt provides especially when it’s laced with a slick trail of honey.

This summer is unlike the last for many reasons, but still I savor peaches for dinner. Sometimes I add a plum or a nectarine or pluot to the spread, splaying the slivers of each fruit on a plate before topping it off with yogurt and honey. If I have fresh basil on hand, I chop some up as a final touch. I do the same with thyme blossoms. I’ve said enough about how cooking doesn’t bring me as much joy five months into a pandemic. My appetite for both food and the labor of cooking it is fickle. Each day is a repetition of chores, headlines and corporate posturing. But the ceremony of dressing up a perfect peach still excites me. It’s a thoughtful ritual fit for one of summer’s best fruits. I believe that every ripe peach can be enjoyed over a sink with its juice dripping down turning your elbow into a faucet. But sometimes, a peach calls for decoration, and I oblige.