Pickles is a fun word to say. And, they are fun to eat! My grandmother used to make bread and butter pickles. She always had on an apron (which she made) that was trimmed with rick-rack. There were special pickling tools and jars…a entire days worth of a process just for some pickles! The pickles were more precious than her tomatoes. We would only get one jar, with a special label. “Grandma’s Bread & Butter” with the year. I always thought she was stingy with her pickles, until I tried making them! It was so much work for such a small little condiment. Until I discovered that Vlassic makes a pretty mean sweet and sour pickle. Now, I eat pickles all year long! I bet you have a few jars in your refrigerator???
The only bad thing about an orange Creamsicle is how fast it disappears! It’s cousin the popsicle, can last for what seems like a half an hour but probably is only ten minutes (I’ve never timed it!). While the popsicle may seem a bit more versatile (you can break it to share with someone), a Creamsicle can give you two satisfying flavors in one bite! If I had my choice, I would always pick a Creamsicle…but an orange popsicle is a close second!
If there was one Fair Food I could choose to eat endlessly without any repercussions it would be fried dough, or as I like to call it Friiied Dough. Ironically, I can walk right by the donut or pizza booth. County fairs haven’t really changed much from when I was a kid. There is still the Mid-way with “carnies” barking to try their game, there is still 4-H exhibits with some homegrown tomatoes and of course, the county’s most “tasty pie”. You can still get sausage and peppers, cotton candy and popcorn. I suppose each County Fair has a different “flavor” to it, but wherever you are in this great nation, I’m so glad the food police hasn’t discovered just how void of nutrition fair food is! No lie- yesterday, I saw a line of people waiting for their deep-fried Oreo! Got to love America!
Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s meant pouring salt on just about everything. It also meant that anything was “snackable”, even cucumbers. Political correctness for food hadn’t quite hit mainstream. There were no “low sodium” foods, or very few. Snacking in the summer required creativity. With three brothers and sisters, scavenging for snacks meant taking a trip out to the garden and picking a ripe cucumber. I would cut it into thick slices and sprinkle salt on each slice. And that’s how we ate cucumbers in summer, as it was….
That first bite of a peach can either be heavenly or so, so disappointing. Knowing when to take that first bite is the trick! So, you buy them at the farm stand and wait. Wait some more. You pick it up. Nope. Still slightly firm. Maybe now…skin seems to depress ever so slightly when you press down. Ehhh…wait one more day. Finally. Time to take the first bite. Napkin in hand….and….it’s….just perfect. Soft, juicy, sweet, the perfect peach. A definite summer must, enjoying a perfect peach.
Fudge, in the summer, says “we went somewhere special”. Cape Cod, Maine, Vermont, the Adirondacks, the Connecticut shore…where ever you vacation, I guarantee there is a shop selling homemade fudge-like what we make at home in December! I remember on Canada Street in Lake George, there used to be a shop on the corner that made their own fudge. The “maker” would spread it out on a giant slap of marble and work it back and forth. Taffy would be being pulled on some contraption, and the smell of sugary corn would be wafting in the air. But eating fudge in the summer is like the reward for making it to your destination. You savor each bite, knowing soon, it will be the last piece. But before we know it, December will be here and guaranteed fudge will show up in someone’s Christmas Cookie gift plate.
Everything always seems to be better when it has lemon in it. There was Lemon-Up Shampoo, and Lemon Pledge, Realemon juice in a fake lemon plastic bottle. A little lemon goes a long way. It just seems to make everything a little better. Food tastes better with some lemon. The house seems cleaner when it smells lemony. Maybe its the bright color or the happy shape of a lemon. Whatever it is, I’m glad the lemon is here to stay.
If there is one cake I remember best as a kid, it was Wacky Cake. My neighbor made this cake, and soon it found its way into our holiday traditions. Made without eggs, the depression era cake uses vinegar as a secret ingredient! Buttercream frosting sealed the deal! Today is my birthday. And what a better way to share my birthday with you…here’s a piece of cake. Honestly, I have a fond memory of my mother making strawberry cake for my birthday, with strawberry frosting. She covered it with foil so it would survive our drive to the Adirondacks. The hot weather melted the frosting, and the cake was a disaster. But my mom made if for me…that I will cherish forever. Happy Birthday to me!
PS. I did make a wacky cake for this painting. I cut the piece out and wrapped it in plastic (not foil!) and will enjoy it later tonight!
There is no wrong way to eat a tomato. My mother made a fierce tomato sandwich. Here’s the family recipe: 1 over-ripe tomato, 2 pieces of slightly stale white, Friehofer’s bread (pre-mold), about 2 tablespoons of Hellman’s Mayonnaise-room temperature, and about 15 shakes of salt from a salt shaker. But seriously, that was our lunch all August long. A warm garden tomato is still one of summer’s greatest gifts!
When we were told we were having Corn on the cob, I knew that would be a chore I would enjoy doing! I remember having picnics or family cookouts where the kids would have the job of shucking all the corn. It would be in a basket. We would put all the corn silks into a big paper bag. The corn would be placed in a giant vat of boiling water. We would put gobs of Land O’Lakes butter all over it-and pile on the salt. True confession: I just enjoyed the ear I painted…with tons of butter and salt-and it was GOOD!