Brouhaha: Sautéed Nectarines

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

-Sometimes a little inspiration - and frustration - comes knocking at your door.-

Some Mormon missionaries just dropped by the house. I was bemused and excited. Mormons! We hardly get them in these parts of Sacramento. Curious to interact with them outside their native habitat of Utah, I opened the door.

"Hello!"I said, chipper as ever. "I assume you're selling religion?"

The two of them stood there and beamed in their pressed white shirts. Their matching backpacks fitted neatly and neither one wore them carelessly slung over one arm. Their pocket protectors and neatly printed name tags identified them right and proper.

The one of the left, a blonde teen who possessed a nostalgic aura of All-Americanism that was up there with apple pie, smiled back. "Well, not selling. It certainly doesn't cost you any money," he said.

"It's totally free," said the one on the right. His skin was tan from so much bicycling in the sun, in a clear bag he had a bunch of nectarines and a few extra copies of The Book of Mormon.

-Peddling faith with fruit. How novel!-

I smirked at the bag of nectarines. Farmer's Market preaching; Joseph Smith, you clever devil.

"Mormonism, yes?"

They nodded and began their spiel before I could really stop them. I decided to give them a chance to get it all out. They must, I assume, get the door slammed in their face plenty so why the hell not show a bit of sympathy?

To be honest, I have respect for missionaires. Being sent somewhere strange and told to march up and down each and every community preaching faith can't be easy. It requires chutzpah and a type of dedication I'm not sure I can say I've fully ever given to many things, let alone God. The closest thing recently was my thesis, though, when I was young, the desire to know everything there was to know about Power Rangers instilled a certain dedication within me. We all have our priorities.

Still, after two or three minutes I decided to stop him. I didn't want the two getting their hopes up. "You know, I'm sorry, but I'm Lutheran and very, happily, gay. I also know the church isn't too keen on that - the Lutheranism or the homosexuality - so I'm gonna have to pass."

"Oh, no, that's totally not true!" said Apple Pie.

I perked up and wondered if suddenly there was a new form of liberal Mormonism spreading across the land. Had I missed this piece of information somehow?

-Just can't trust the news programs to tell you anything these days.-

"Oh so?" I asked. Now, mom always raised me to be polite. Dad, however, taught me the joy of pushing the envelope and having a spot of fun at another's expense. Guess which parent's advice I decided to follow this afternoon?

"So, then," I smiled at Apple Pie, "the church is okay with being gay now? And, you know, Lutherans?"

"Yes, the church welcomes everyone," assured Bicycle Tan. "We help people with those problems."

"I'll have to tell all the other Lutherans!" I beamed.

They laughed. By this point I could tell someone had prepped them for every attack, every snide comment, every argument someone might pitch. Their smiles were stalwart and gave away nothing. My little show was nothing new.

No... it wasn't just that. They truly, wholly, honestly believed in what they had to talk to me about.

"Look," I said, "gay people are born gay. That's just how it is. I can speak with authority on this one."

"We know," Apple Pie said and put his hand up and directed a sage, thoughtful nod my way. "It's okay. People are born gay. People are born with all kinds of problems, like alcoholism."


Strangely, at that moment, I really wanted a bottle of Jack Daniels. Two actually. One to drink and another to smash over his head.

"Wow," I stopped and laughed to collect myself. A deep breath and I decided to attack. "Listen, I'm about to punch you in the throat right now, so you probably best be on your way." I waved, "So long! Go fuck yourselves and die in a car crash!"

With that I slammed the door.

As I see it, if God doesn't like gays then he needs to stop making so many of them.

I went and told BF of the incident. We laughed. We gays are used to this holier-than-thou brouhaha.

Still, there was something to thank them for. I had forgotten it was nectarine season. I would need to pick some up. Maybe sauté them in some white wine and spices for a simple summer sweet.

I guess a little bit of door-to-door religion can be good for you after all.

Sautéed Nectarines

4 large nectarines, pitted and cut into wedges
1/3 cup honey
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup white wine
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods, crushed
dash of ground cinnamon
juice and zest of a lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and marinate for 4-6 hours. Place a large saute pan over high heat for a few minutes. Add all the ingredients at once and cook, about 4 minutes, or until the nectarines become softer and the alcohol burns off. Serve.


  1. Inspiration does to come to us in the most ridiculous ways sometimes! Great story... I'm Lutheran too. It's the least of my "problems" ;)

  2. You are so much more polite than I... (and those nectarines look delish!)

  3. really enjoyed the story accompanying this recipe! you are a good writer.

  4. Richard T-Dallas, TXJuly 19, 2011 at 7:34 AM

    Hi Garrett, I've not been following your blog for very long, but I just wanted to take a sec & say thank you for the great stories, recipes & laughs!! I love your style & panache, especially in handling this situation! My Momma also raised me right, but I hate to say a similar visit ended up the same, ha! They seem to use "Apple Pie's" down here in Texas as well; just happenstance, or a brilliant idea to use Eye Candy to open that dialogue, lol.
    Keep up the great work! Now on to the store for some nectarines...

  5. Occasionally I hear this kind of church-speak about homosexuality from some of my family members. Then I remind them how it was completely apparent from an early age that our gay brother (the fabulous Rand) was completely different from the other 2 boys in the family. They admit that, but some of them still can't admit he was born gay. It's sad really that they let the church do so much of their thinking for them.

    Having said that I do have to say that living in SLC I see there is indeed a lot of good in the Mormon culture and even in the church. My own family was and still is such a great example of what a loving family should be that it was very hard for me to decide not to be a Mormon. But there were too many things I just couldn't swallow.

    Garrett, I'm always flying around the internet barely looking at things as they go by, but it's always a pleasure to read your posts!

  6. I have I told you how much I love hearing about your happenstances? I think I would have clocked them both for the, "We can help you with your problem" comment.

    Anyway, happy summer and enjoy those nectarines!

  7. shannon: Lutherans. We're Catolic Light.

    Sugarpunk: They are!

    Annonymous: Why thank you. =)

    Richard: Well, Texas is known for steers and queers, right? I'm sure you've found your own awesome ways to deal with Apple Pies. Thank you for the kind words. ;)

    Kalyn: Thank you. Yeah, I agree. My mom is a teacher. Third grade. THese days she just tells me, "I have two gay kids in my class. They don't know it yet. I raised two of them so I can tell now." It makes me laugh.

    This isn't to say I have anything against Mormons. I disagree with a lot of aspects of the Mormon religion, but I know some people who are pretty laid back about some of the more conservative teachings. This was just an extreme example of the far right.

    Serendipitydiary: Yeah... that comment was just crazy. Oh, missionaries...

  8. Love your blog! I'm impressed you stuck with them as long as you did. At least they were good for inspiring a desert!

  9. I love your sense of humor, thanks for a good laugh! I grew up in Fair Oaks and our school had a large Mormon population, so I was curious that your neighborhood doesn't. You must be in a part of Sac way cooler than Fair Oaks ;)

  10. Hi Garrett,
    This post made me quite sad. I understand that is it incredibly offensive having your sexuality likened to a "problem". It also must have felt quite invasive that this exchange happened right at your doorstep! Having said that, I wish I had read that you had just said "No thanks!" I sympathize, but I also feel quite sorry for those two boys.

  11. Annonymous: I understand where you are coming from. I was rude. Very rude. But, to be honest, I've gotten this stuff my whole life from people. Usually, I'm polite, calm, and unargumentative. I'm very anti-conflict. This time was just different.

  12. Oh god haha I admire your ability to talk to missionaries long enough to have some fun with them. I grew up in a family that was Mormon and distinctly remember their "we can fix that" mentality about being gay, it was always something that just stuck in my mind as sounding so completely wrong even when I was too young and uninformed to really know anything about the reality there. Now that I'm older and ditched that particular religion's teachings (and spent a summer of my teen years in San Francisco) I almost can't stand to talk to those cheery wide-eyed fresh faced boys without getting pissed and thinking (or usually saying) "You're trying to ruin the happiness of a lot of people so, yeah no thanks." after that I usually have to fight this strange, overwhelming urge I get to pants them and steal their bikes. I really do try and leave the conversation with class, but I just know one day you're going to see me on the news with two rumpled up teenagers (no longer smiling) and you'll know exactly what went down.

  13. Hi Garrett,

    I've been reading for quite some time but I think this is my first comment. Your statement "if God doesn't like gays then he needs to stop making so many of them" reminded me of something I saw the other day that I thought you might get a chuckle out of:

    Great story, but I'm so sorry you had to deal with that at your own home!

    The nectarines look divine!

    - Maggie

  14. love, love, love this! except for you having to go thru it. (from someone stuck in their "native habitat....yes, i keep my door locked and curtains closed!)

  15. Wow! I LOVE nectarines and these look really special and delicious. Thank you for the recipe Garrett! :-)

  16. Garrett, you should take comfort in the fact that you aren't a programmed religi-robot. Much worse than being gay. In fact, religi-robots often go to their grave that way, having experienced a life totally devoid of original thought. What a waste!

  17. Hi Garrett :)

    The nectarines are so pretty. I just want to sit across the table from them and stare :) lol. Also, I've yet to try the apricot recipe...good ole college student budget. But hopefully soon before summer's over! Thanks for sharing your recipes and blessings to you!

  18. LOL i used to be a Jehovah witness, and they believed being gay was just a bad choice, buncha smart ones, thats why i left. Great story, and i will have to try the recipe for my husband

  19. Hi Garrett,

    I love your blog and I read itevery week!
    You should really give "The Book of Mormon" a listen, there is a song in it that I know would make you laugh called "Turn it Off". Its pretty much about what happened when you tried to talk to the mormons ;)


  20. Strangely, at that moment, I really wanted a bottle of Jack Daniels. Two actually. One to drink and another to smash over his head.

    What a coincidence: A couple years ago, I, too, had to chase a Mormon encounter with Jack Daniels!

    But my most effective response ever was answering the door dripping wet from a shower, wearing nothing but a towel. Game over.

  21. Oh Garrett, I'm so sorry that someone claiming to represent God would treat you so hurtfully. I know it's happened again and again to so many of my gay friends. I ALWAYS tell them, God loves you and He created you. I know it's true! That said, my husband loves talking to Mormons when they come to the door. His mother has converted a few AWAY from Mormonism as they've tried converting her!

  22. Rachel: I so want to see that musical. Thanks for the review. ;)

    Holly: I love you.

    Diana: I need to meet this woman. She sounds amazing. =D

  23. Cute, I've always wanted to do that. My 16 year old son was caught politely listening at the door the other day, when I had to step in. I wasn't so forceful but I certainly was firm,,,,, and I think Mr 16 has learnt a lesson. The nectarines look like they've been kissed by Go....,(I know) the colour and the texture and vanilla, nice. Hope you have recovered.....

  24. I dont know what he said to them, but my husband is pretty sure we wont be getting any more mormons visiting in the future....

    What a shame some people are so brainwashed, glad you were good enough to laugh about it afterwards and it didnt ruin your day.

  25. "if God doesn't like gays then he needs to stop making so many of them. " Just perfect. I do applaud you for attempting to hear them out.

  26. I love you and your throat-punching ways, Garrett.

    Good on you. Nectarines are killer fruit, after all.

  27. You always make me laugh. . .thanks. I have no clue as to why, but I always think of you as having a sassy, southern accent when I read your blog - weird huh?

  28. I love your blog Garrett, and I really love the stories you relate with your recipes. You are so creative! I just have to apologize on behalf of returned Mormon missionaries everywhere...sometimes 19 year old boys forget that the rest of us don't think comments like "helping with your problem" are appropriate or accurate and it kind of pisses people like me off. :)

  29. People are born with alcoholism? That's brilliant. Thank you, Mormon church, for killing just a little more of my faith in humanity.

  30. Good on you for turning a negative into a positive, those nectarines sound scrumptious! Well done sir.

  31. I love this post so much. That is all.

  32. Hey, Garrett! I came by your blog via Poor Girl Eats Well, and I'm so glad I did - I've loved your writing from the start, but now I've tried one of your recipes, and it was a revelation. I made the sauteed nectarines tonight for a dinner party, and I actually don't remember what anyone else said about it because I was too busy enjoying it. AND! There was some juice left over afterwords - I was a little overgenerous with the white wine during the marinating process - and we mixed it with champagne to make a cocktail. A floating star anise in each glass finished it off beautifully. Thank you for a fantastic story and a phenomenal (and versatile!) recipe.

  33. Irvin: Sweet. ;)

    Annonymous: I did the same thing with the leftover juice. ;)

  34. We get Mormons and Jehovah's witnesses in our part of Sacramento, unfortunately I've yet to get one who wasn't sweet when I wanted to argue, they normally just read you a verse and go on their way, but I have a long list of conversation starters to get them thinking over their choices!

  35. Wow, I stumbled upon this via google search for "sauteed nectarines"- you are amazing! I will now be a regular reader. A fellow gay with an obvious passion for desserts... what could be better? Thanks for the laughs and the recipe.


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