“What is the difference between a québécois summer and an Algerian one?” you may ask.
These days, nothing really, except perhaps a few degrees and a humidex measurement. Your vegetable farmer has gone AWOL for a short spell, just long enough for a quick visit to the Numidian country from which he hails to take care of some administrative matters and to visit family members.
It had been a very long time since I last visited my home country in July.
Weather-wise, spring visits are ideal, early winter visits are do-able…but July! It felt like the heat had been waiting for me: it pounced, as soon as I exited the plane. Almost as if to remind me that nothing would/could be done with haste on this trip. It was going to be a slow burn.
That said, this interlude has convinced me that,
while on the one hand, one can indeed commit
a crime and blame the heavens,
as demonstrated by Mersault in Camus’s L’Étranger; on the other, there is nothing more flavourful and delectable than in-season fruits – which, these days in Algerian markets, include sweet and perfumed peaches, impossible-to-grow-in-Quebec Canary melons and torpedo-sized watermelons, a variety likewise impossible-to-grow-in-Quebec given their heft. In another note, I’ll wax lyrical re the merits of eating local and in-season. In the meantime, I am getting my fill of the summer smells and flavours of my childhood in a brief detour down memory lane.