To say “I don’t give a fig” is to say one doesn’t care. There are some interesting schools of thought on why “fig” is used– mostly impolite, given the center of the fresh fruit’s resemblance to female genitalia. It would seem to me that the outside of the dried fruit’s wizened appearance makes it look like the lowliest, saddest object, and therefore a good representation of how little, sad and lowly one feels about something.
But what’s in a name? My favorite pizza place- or anything place, really- in Boston was Todd English’s Figs. When I lived in Chestnut Hill back in 2004 there was a Figs right down the street and we went there for every special occasion we could. When the waitstaff saw us coming there was always a table waiting, regardless of how busy the place was. When they moved, opening up locations in Boston proper and Charlestown, there went the neighborhood. (They said it was because there wasn’t enough parking- I can totally believe that.) Figs was a symbol of good taste, a good meal, a good time. Every restaurant we went to after that was “not as good as” or “almost as good as” Figs.
A recent trip to Poste confirmed the place of the lowly fig in the highest echelons of taste. A salad of arugula, basil, mint, marigold leaves, fresh figs and shaved parmesan drizzled with aged sherry vinegarette was divine. The moist, slightly sweet fruit and the bitter greens were a perfect marriage. This is something to give a fig about.
I could not have been more shocked to read in the express that figs actually grow in DC– in the ‘burbs and local residential nabes, in fact. The Express rather helpfully published a list of places serving fig dishes this season (ie, the next month after which fresh figs will be scarce upon the landscape.)
I plan to hit at least one from the list: whether it’s the “brandy-soaked, chocolate dipped” figs at Biagio, the goat cheesecake studded with fresh figs or the fig and pistachio stuffed porkchops at Vermilion, the fig and prosciutto pizza at Vapiano, or grilled figs with pink peppercorn ice cream (a favorite of former Post critic Phyllis Richman- my childhood idol) at Vidalia, I’m sure I’ll be stunned into insensitivity with utter gastric joy.
Ah heck, maybe I’ll try all 5.