Salad? ~ With a Side of Memory



Ahh, summertime. Ripe tomatoes.  I am always inspired by seasonal produce despite the fact that these days we often don’t really know what is in season what with cold storage and whatnot.  When in Europe it became clear to me that when you live where food doesn’t have to be transported thousands of miles, you get fresh and ripe produce.  In this country you have to work at it.  But here in Florida you can get ripe summer tomatoes.

My father loved gazpacho and so do I.  He gave me his recipe, on the back of a random piece of paper that I still have.  We talked more about food and recipes than about anything else.  If I could not remember whether you add the oil or the vinegar first in a vinaigrette, I could call him day or night.  So many things he made are in my recipe book whether I make them or not.  And my knives have never been sharpened so well since he passed.  But as usual, I digress.

I like my gazpacho “greener” than he did.  And traditional gazpacho has bread in it and I don’t add bread to mine, I find that with more green, it is bound enough and doesn’t need the bread.  And he added a very non-traditional secret ingredient that I definitely still add, later for the reveal.

So here goes.  For a medium batch I use a very large peeled ripe tomato, about half of a large english cucumber, peeled, half to whole green bell pepper, half a sweet onion, clove or more of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, a little vinegar (you just have to taste and can experiment with what one you like) salt to make the chemistry happen (again, taste, taste, taste) and……. aha:  V-8 juice.  Not a lot just enough to bring it together.  Add a small bunch of fresh parsley.  I make the whole think in my food processor and just keep going until I like the taste and texture.  Rather than adding bread, I serve it with good crunchy croutons.  And voila, Pop’s gazpacho, my style.

This wonderful salad/soup has been many a summer’s dinner for me.  My family found it an acquired taste.  But I love it and it always brings to mind a memory of my father who loved to cook and loved to share cooking ideas and recipes.  Someday I hope to be as imaginative in his honor.

Boys! Are….

So, my son has been gone for a month. Doing what is a story for another day. Suffice it to say he has been away learning how to work and growing some confidence, figuring out how to make his way, a little more, without our help. I am incredibly proud of him, but it is so hard to see him growing away. I want my boy to stay with me, but I want him to find his wings and be happy. It was a good summer I think. Now he has to come home and look for a job here, boring after what he was doing. But first, the point of today’s rant. He flew home from New York, getting in late Sunday night. One of his friends picked him up (that’s a first!) and he stopped home, well after I was asleep (working today), and went off to sleep at a friend’s house. God knows he hasn’t seen them in a whole month! Of course he hasn’t seen us either but we have become anchors, secondary but necessary, rather than his primary focus. This is as it should be, but I think as the mom I have a right to actually see my kid, hear about his trip, etc. etc. etc. But no, here it is about 9 p.m. on monday and I have yet to see his face! Good grief. I’m just the mom after all. But so much of parenting is knowing when and how to let go, when to open your hand and let them fly. I know he still needs us, quite a bit, but he would never say so and we won’t acknowledge it. We will always be there for him, and I think he knows that, we won’t yet acknowledge that either, maybe later. Every time I loosen my hand a piece of my heart takes wing with him.