Last week we spend a long weekend at Cape Cod, at Truro and Provincetown. It’s a summer tradition that for me almost started with a disaster.
It was the fall of 1994. A few months before, at the end of June, I had just told my friend Brad that I was gay. It was the first time I told anyone and during the next few months I was swimming in a mix of exhilaration and loneliness. The freeing sensation of finally acknowledging to someone else that I was gay was an experience like none I had ever experienced (or have since). “You don’t have to come out to your mailman,” Brad joked in that fall of 1994 after I told him how I was on a coming out rampage. I just couldn’t hold it in anymore.
But it was also a time of loneliness. Here I was, freshly out and eager to start my new, my real, life, but I was stuck. I had just finished college and I was living in New Jersey, in a drab and depressing apartment next to a highway, with a straight roommate I had just met who didn’t know I was gay and with absolutely no gay friends or any idea where to find other gay people. My occasional trips to New York to meet with Brad were just not enough. Most of the time I felt trapped and alone.
So, it was during that fall that Brad told me about the vacation he had just taken with some friends. “We went to this amazing place!” he gushed. “It’s a little town at the tip of Cape Cod and its full of gay people! It’s like heaven.” Neither of us had heard of Ptown, as it’s often called, so this was a revelation. For me, it sounded like exactly what I needed.
So, since I couldn’t take time off from work and since I needed some time to plan my trip, I ordered a TripTik from AAA (remember those?) and decided that I would drive up to this magical place called Provincetown…in February. Yes. In February. I had no idea that Ptown in February is bitterly cold, as you’d expect for a tiny village perched on the tip of Cape Cod in the middle of the North Atlantic across from Boston. And I didn’t know that almost everything would be closed and only a few locals who stayed around for the winter would be there. That there would be very few if any gay people and they would be old timers, hunkered down in their homes. This was 1994. There was no web and no other easy way for me to know any of this.
When February came, I kept delaying my trip. March came and I still hadn’t left. And then right when I was gearing up to drive up there, I went to a gay community event in New Jersey where I met a guy named Wayne who went on to become my first boyfriend. And when I told him about my plans he laughed. He explained how Ptown would be nothing like what I expected if I had gone in February and instead we planned a trip there that summer. It turned out to be exactly how Brad described it. So we went back the summer after that and the one after that and the one after that. And for twenty years now, along with peaches, chilled soups, and rosé wine, Ptown has been a summer tradition.
Chilled Peach Soup with Fresh Goat Cheese – Slightly Adapted from Food and Wine
3 cups sliced peeled peaches (about 4 peaches), plus more for garnish
1/4 cup finely diced peeled seedless cucumber
1/4 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup diced dried apricots
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons crumbled fresh goat cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, plus more for seasoning
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large garlic clove
1. In a bowl, toss the peaches, diced cucumber, yellow pepper and apricots. Add the honey, 3 tablespoons of goat cheese, 1/4 cup of white balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Add the garlic. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Discard the garlic. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a blender and puree. Add 1/4 cup of water and puree until very smooth and creamy; add more water if the soup seems too thick. Season with salt and white balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate the soup until very cold, about 1 hour.
3. Pour the peach soup into shallow bowls and garnish with the diced peach and bell pepper, and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and serve.