Date:         Sun, 1 Dec 1996 20:58:39 -0600
From: Anne Harwell Toal 
Subject:      Capers
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L 

I wanted to say a few words about capers. My mother and I always had a
thing about capers. We didn't eat them very often, but we thought capers
were a symbol of something we liked. Something eponymous. Their flavor is
jumpy, happy. It leaps up into the mouth when you bring your teeth down on
them. The skin of the caper is like a tiny green frog. A frog you can eat.
Carry one out into the bright sunlight and you can see little tiny dark
textures in the skin. The skin is green and leathery and the insides are
all full of that mischievous juice. There's a saucy little point at the tip
of each caper. Something attitudinal there. It has its nose turned up at us.

I had a bagel today served with pacific salmon, sliced red onion, a couple
of lemon wedges, some dark green lettuce, and a slab of cream cheese. Under
the slices of onion were about two dozen capers. The chef had practically
emptied the whole bottle of them onto the lettuce leaf. They were hiding
under the onion because they didn't think I'd go looking for them there.
Thought I'd forget they were somewhere on the plate. They came rolling out
everywhere. One escaped and hid under the plate on the table. Fine fat
fellows. I scooped half up them up and put them on the bagle, walling them
in on all sides with a ring of red onion. No getting away now. The others
huddled behind under the lettuce. I came back for them all. One by one,
they fell before an enemy who outnumbered them and had better technology.
It was a massacre. And when the waiter took the plate away, I got the one
who was lurking on the table.

I have a bottle of capers in the refrigerator. It's still there right now.
Mother and I bought it a few weeks before she died. I've never been able to
bring myself to open it again.