It was too hot to move, but I thought ahead to later that afternoon when it would still be too hot to move, but we’d be hot and peckish. Wishing for something crisp, refreshing, quenching. Then it hit me. Thanks to my late grandmother, Irene, I had a simple and delicious idea. It was something she would make on hot summer days at the farm in New Hampshire. It was time for Danish cucumber.
10 years after a cliché, yet life-changing experience as a backpacker through Europe, I returned. We went to Paris. But, I didn’t have to stuff a pack into a locker and wear flip-flops in the shower. This time, there were chocolates waiting for me on my pillow, along with the weather report for the next day. I could get used to this.
There’s no time to beat around the bush, so here is the long and short of it. 2 weeks ago, I walked into my local pet store to get cat food and walked out with a puppy. Since that fateful day, our days and nights have consisted of puppy training books, vet visits, thousands of comments uttered such as “good girl”, “No!” and “ouch!”, and more conversations regarding “number 1” and “number 2” than I ever thought humanly possible. People in the neighborhood actually started talking to us despite the fact that we’ve lived within the same block radius for 6 years. I’m also still begging forgiveness from the cats.
I woke to the sound of trees rustling – actual trees – and the chatting of birds over the comforting low hum of the ocean. Aside from my feeble attempts to tan (I swear, I can tan) I knew the days would consist of meal plotting by day and evenings with hungry, sandal-clad friends and family…
Sometimes, there is no competing with hamburgers and hot dogs. My mission: feed the masses with large mounds of summertime flavor. I wanted something that would scream, “Look at me, I’m delicious…and you can have seconds without awkwardly asking for someone to throw another dog on the grill.”
It’s all a bit of a blur.
I agreed to prepare some finger foods at a friend and co-worker’s “summer kick-off” / house warming party. In my usual fashion, I wasn’t satisfied with preparing something we already know is brilliantly crowd-pleasing. Although, there was plenty of room for that.
I wouldn’t call myself a jam maker. But, when I saw a bowl of kumquats on the kitchen counter left over from my extensive photo shoot with kiwis (they didn’t make the cut), I knew I had to do something with them. I have a love/hate relationship with kumquats. One moment, I’ll eat one that is fantastically tart and bursting with sweet, citrus flavor. Then, I’ll reach for another and I’m suddenly aware that I’m eating a miniature, oval shaped orange with its skin. The tartness and pithiness practically slaps me across the face and I’m left feeling confused and alone. I’m being a little dramatic. What it boils down to is that I knew I’d be staring at that bowl of kumquats on the counter until they spoiled, the orange pile only slightly dented from the curious passerby. I can’t stand watching a fruit or vegetable spoil. I made marmalade.