Let’s Eat — A Writer’s Guide to Cooking

The radishes I planted three weeks ago are almost ready. A few days ago, my daughter and I pulled out a couple to check on their progress. They were too small, but they tasted good. Also, about five days ago, I planted another batch. The first sprouts appeared in two days, and by the third and fourth day almost every seed was up.

Our new parsley bed is also thriving, and our two dozen tomato plants are growing by leaps and bounds. Every day there are more little tomatoes showing. We have awhile to wait before they ripen, though. Here in Salem, tomatoes don’t start coming in until around the first of August. This is a far cry from what we were used to when we lived in Central California, where tomatoes are around for about five months of the year. That’s why, when the tomatoes finally do come in, we eat them morning, noon, and night. Tomatoes and onions, tomatoes and cucumbers, tomato sandwiches, tomatoes by themselves with salt or without, tomatoes on the road, tomatoes in the bath — for a time, we live our lives in a tomato paradise. Tomatoes make us happy.

Summer Salad

There are many different versions of summer salad, but none of them, to my knowledge, leave out tomatoes. And this is something we make only in the summer, and only with fresh, ripe, homegrown fruit. If you can’t raise your own, be sure to buy tomatoes that are locally grown. If all else fails, steal them from a neighbor, or offer him your car or TV or some similarly useless item.

Here’s what I do: several hours before eating time, I peel a cucumber and cut it into bite-sized pieces into a deep bowl, and then sprinkle on a little salt. Then I slice in about half of a sweet red onion. Then I add the tomatoes. I cut them into fairly large pieces, but not so large that they have to be cut again when eaten. Then I add plenty of salt, a little black pepper, and some dried purple basil. I’ve used dried green basil, but I don’t like it quite as much. I’ve also left out the basil altogether. Once in awhile, I sprinkle in some dried mint. Anyway. After the seasoning, I add some flat-leafed parsley. Rather than cutting the parsley, I simply tear the leaves by hand.

Now that the vegetables are all in, I give everything a stir, and then I add a little more salt, a little more pepper, and a little more basil. After that, I add extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. From one salad to the next, I can never quite remember how much oil and how much vinegar to use. Try to use approximately twice as much vinegar as you do olive oil, then fiddle with it from there. Make sure there is a lot of liquid in the bowl, so the vegetables can soak it in. Mix everything up, put a lid on the bowl (a plastic bowl and lid works fine), and refrigerate. A few hours later, the salad will be ready. If you don’t get to it until the next day, it will be even readier. (Don’t worry if the olive oil has congealed a bit.) Leftover salad is wonderful. When you finish the salad, if you haven’t eaten all of the juice, you can even make a new salad using the old juice.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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