I always worry that one day you’re going to realize that we drink an almost unacceptable amount of wine, more than we need to, and that your response is not going to be “I should come over!” See above for exhibit A, and the equivalent of four bottles for four people. Summer is for laughter and sharing.
To be fair, there was enough food for eight people, and once I got going on a simple meal of fried chicken and cucumber salad, the menu somehow spiralled until it included candied sweet potato and apples, whole-wheat baking powder biscuits, peas in butter with scallions, and macaroni and cheese with chipotles for Jaz, Tracy’s boyfriend, who is a vegetarian. Somehow, it all got eaten. The night ended earlier than usual because we all needed to head to our respective beds to sleep it all off.
This is the point at which I want you to think you’re invited over, because you are. Anytime, so long as you’re not planning an intervention. Wear elastic-waist pants. If you think of it, try to call the night before.
We almost never issue invitations, because there are always friends passing through, either to play games or watch games on TV, or to share wine and gossip, or to catch up because somehow we all got very busy and the constant togetherness sort of died off. The latter has been the case with Tracy, who runs a fantastic arts and lit magazine and works four-thousand jobs and still finds time to win awards and go to Toronto and get into grad school to study publishing, and I have got to stop whining about being tired from my one job and my no other things. Tracy has been away and returned, and the night before she came over, she sent me a message to indicate that it’s been too long/forever, and let’s eat.
So we did.
And I didn’t realize it, but I make a lot of cucumber salad come summer. It goes with everything – fried chicken and biscuits, with spicy Indian food, with delicate pieces of fish or with big hunks of grilled meat. It’s the easiest thing in the world, and I have been eating it at summer meals since I was approximately an infant. Here’s my spin on it, which you can easily adapt to your own summer table.
- 1 long English cucumber, sliced into very thin rounds
- 1 small onion, sliced paper-thin
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
- 1/2 cup chopped herbs (your choice, and depending completely on what you want to serve – I like parsley, mint, dill, or cilantro)
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- Pepper, to taste
Place cucumber and onion slices in a large bowl, and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat. Cover, and place in the refrigerator for two hours.