The Tastes Of Summer

Posted: Monday, August 10, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Saturday  afternoon and the summer everybody’s been waiting for finally showed up.. along with humidity high enough to bring on flop sweats by simply bending over to tie your shoes.
Linda and I along with our friends, the Graves, had planned to have a picnic where we could enjoy a bit of wine..cheese and a slice of heavily buttered French bread.  But it was just too hot so after a couple of beverages at their house I suggested we splurge and pig out on sweet corn.
I was surprised that our friends were just as excited at that prospect as I..so off I went to pick up a few fresh ears.
“Sorry, Doug,” said the lady at the Hoekness produce stand at 10th and Cleveland, (myfavorite) “we won’t have any local sweet corn for ten days or so..the weather’s been too cold.”
“Dang,” I thought to myself..I’ll have to go to that other stand on Sycamore Avenue a few blocks away.  It’s run by some nice kids but they tend to leave the ears stacked up on tables in the heat too long.
As all corn connoisseurs know..the sugars that make sweet corn sweet begin turning to starch the moment it’s picked from the mother stalk. Only proper refrigeration can delay this process.
Anyway, I bought a dozen ears..took them home and got ‘em cookin’ as fast as I could.
We managed to wolf them down without much comment other than to say, “ these aren’t half bad..pass the salt please.”
Speaking of corn..Linda and I traveled to her sister and brother-in-law’s cattle farm near Sioux Center, Iowa over the weekend and, I have to say that in all my years on this good earth, I’ve never seen fields so full of tall corn and soybeans. I hope they all turn into bountiful profits for farmers at harvest time.
This is also the time of year our hobby farm daughter, Brenda, seeks out all the cucumbers, Ball jars and lids she can lay her hands on so she can begin another season of canning pickles.
I don’t know quite how to explain just how popular her pickles are but family members have been known to fight over whose turn it is to receive a jar from her latest batch..be they the hot ones, crispy dills or tangy garlic. Brenda never has to buy birthday or Christmas presents..just stick a bow on a bottle of spicy dills and it’s better than a gift certificate from Macy’s.Brenda Smith..queen of canningI’m not much of a pickle guy, myself, its Brenda’s canned “tomatoes” that I wait for. There’s just no way to describe how exceptionally delicious they are compared to store bought and how giddy I get when in the middle of January, she’ll pop over and surprise me with a jar of her tomatoes that she’s been saving. I can’t wait to use them for brewing up a batch of genuine home made tomato soup or a pot of chili. Here they are..pantry treasures; Brenda’s pickles and canned tomatoes. yummm!
Of course several of us have suggested she could make a fortune marketing her canned pickles and tomatoes..but I don’t think that’s in the cards. It’s a lot of hard..time consuming.. work and I think she considers it payment enough just to have everyone falling over themselves piling on the compliments.
Oh, did I mention that Brenda’s salsa (mild-medium or hot) also puts any store bought band to shame.
Hmmm..ya know..If I just move out a couple of cars, we could turn our garage into a canning factory.  I wonder if she’d consider it.
How does this sound?
BRENDA’S BEST  crunchy dills. 

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