Granulatin’ Bad

Sure. I look pretty harmless. I’m polite to the neighbors, fairly unobtrusive when I leave the house, as middle aged ladies often are. No one could look at me and know that in August, within the confines of my home, I’ve got skills, mad skills. Because when boiling sun and steamy air turn the tiny green figs into golden orbs, I’m Granulatin’. Granulatin’ Bad.


You’re no doubt familiar with someone else who may appear mild in the outside world,  but who  leads a whole other life right under his neighbor’s noses. That’s right –  Walter White.

Don’t think I have anything in common with Walter, or Walter with me?  We’ll just see about that! Here are some similarities:

Photo Source: IMDB

Photo Source: IMDB


Obviously we’re both bad you know whats.

1)  Highly desirable product:  Walter’ s blue meth is apparently the stuff of dreams. OK, fine. But you should  see the eyes widen when I walk into the yoga studio with a box of twelve gleaming jars of fig preserves.  Excited murmurs float across the studio. When class is over they make a beeline for every last jar. Unconditional acceptance of your product by a yoga class says only one thing: 99.1 % pure, total quality.


2) Large amount of raw materials needed:  Walter buys his in more than one location to avoid suspicion. But I HAVE to buy mine in multiple locations because no one stocks as many jars or as many boxes of pectin as I need. And unlike Walter, because I deal with a live ingredient, I  can never predict the exact amount of supplies I need. They may suspect me of something at the grocery store when I dash in wearing sticky shoes and a stained T shirt and buy ALL of their eight ounce  canning jars,  but they know not to question me. I dare them to. 

3)  Specialized work environment and equipment:  We each need to set up a pristine, industrial workspace. Mine is the kitchen. Walter  may have a gas chromatograph while I use a spoon and my own mouth for quality control, but the concept is the same.

My lab.

My lab.

Walter's lab. Photo courtesy of

Walter’s lab. Photo courtesy of

4) Total concentration: We can’t do anything else while cooking.  We’re basically unreachable. When my harvest begins, I am in a flurry of picking, washing, cutting, cooking, sterilizing. My hands get too sticky to even think of touching a phone. So don’t call me. Walter and I agree that production stops when we say it stops.

5) Hazards:  Yes, it is hazardous work. You are familiar with what Walter has faced through the years: beatings, torture, kidnapping, and even death. But what about me? I’ve bravely faced my share of challenges. Here is a short list:

a) Balancing on the part of an eight ladder where it says not to standDSC_0736

b) While keeping up with a bag of figs over one shoulder

These babies aren't light.

These babies aren’t light.

c) While grasping at leaves and branches and clutching them to your chest so you can pull off the figs with the other hand, sweat dripping off your brow,

d) And a swarm of mosquitoes gets close and personal with your armpits,

e) And getting down from said perch,

f) Dealing with the crazy violence that seems ubiquitous in the fig tree world

Nobody saw nothin'.

Nobody saw nothin’.

g) And even having to hide some ominous, foreshadowing symbols from my family, like this.DSC_0718

Inside the house, once I have gathered my figs I  still have to endure deep, deep stickiness from spilled sugar and gooey figs, boiling water, hot pans, an extended cleanup, and last but not least, the sick feeling that comes from tasting preserves fifteen times. Let me tell you, I’ve paid my dues!

I'm tough enough to take the heat.

I’m tough enough to take the heat.

Walter and I, we’re a pair. We may threaten, cajole, and intimidate, but we get the product out.  Still, we have our differences. First he sells his product for top dollar while mine is  free of charge. Maybe I could sell mine, but unlike Walter I have no partner to handle the distribution end. Second, he can’t taste his product, but I can. Mr. White always uses the   same recipe, while I  I experiment with new flavors. This year I’ve added a little something different in every batch. Walter never divulges his recipes, but I can. I’m not trying to corner the market.

Walter in his work clothes

Walter in his work clothes. Photo:

As fig season winds up, so does Walter’s last season. I don’t have a good feeling about his prospects, but he may surprise me yet. While we wait to learn his fate, won’t you try some of my  fig preserves? Really. They’re free, and you won’t have to worry about going to jail!DSC_0710 Postscript: This years flavors: cinnamon, cinnamon and ginger, rosemary and port, pepper, basil, amaretto, and that’s all I can remember. Tell that to the D.E.A.

26 thoughts on “Granulatin’ Bad

  1. What about the plastic sheets on the lab floor? The first day of your cooking when I came home, I didn’t know if I had stepped into a scene from Breaking Bad or Dexter. There was after all, a white garbage bag on the floor of something pulpy…

  2. O M to the G, Mom! You are a hilarious genius! I was packing my suitcase when Eric came in and said, “I think you need to go look at your mom’s blog right now.” He then proceeded to take a video of me falling out of my chair laughing while reading it! Ahhhh, I don’t even know where to start with all the awesome! You make a very good Walter White. But who will be your Jesse Pinkman?!

  3. The pictures alone made me laugh out loud so much that my four-year-old daughters came in from the next room to ask me what I was laughing at. Unprepared to explain the correlation between canning and meth labs, I simply showed them the pics and asked them if you looked as tough as Walter. “Tougher.” They whispered.
    They speak the truth.

  4. I see there have been a lot of changes for Walter since last I watched the show! I hope to set up my own “fig” lab here, but I don’t think I’m quite ready for the big leaves yet. Great post.

  5. Pingback: Granulatin’ Bad | mindfulmagpie

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