After a recent late afternoon heavy rain, I went down the street and collected the grandkids, because it was time to go hit the puddles. After that we went and picked some tomatoes from my backyard to take home to their parents for dinner. One of the little twin girls always wants to have a tomato right at that instant…furthermore, she wants to bite into it just like an apple. My mother used to do that with tomatoes from my grandfather’s garden.
Thinking of summer gardens and memories…here are a few from books that I have read, and the time frames range from the Depression years on. Then I have a few memories of my own at the end.
From “Kitchenary” by Peggy H. Landis:
“Mother was captain of the summer garden, and the rest of us marched to her orders.”
“Mother always did a good job of bringing the garden to the table. A typical supper menu might have been fried country ham, mashed potatoes or corn on the cob, fresh green beans, sliced cucumbers in a creamy dressing, thick red slices of ripe tomatoes, homemade bread, and sweet iced tea. Fresh sliced peaches from a nearby orchard often provided a simple but delicious dessert.”
From “Mrs. Blackwell’s Heart-of-Texas Cookbook” by Louise B. Dillow & Deenie B. Carver, illustrations by John Henry Faulk:
” During the summertime, the noonday meal was a feast of garden vegetables, hot corn bread, or yeast rolls and butter, fruit cobbler, and iced tea. ”
“We had a spring and fall garden so there were fresh vegetables from April through December and canned and dried vegetables during the winter months.”
From “Little Heathens” by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
“For the vegetables, a couple of kids, along with an adult, would be dispatched to the garden with a paring knife, a pail, a kettle, and a huge dishpan. There we picked the peas, the tomatoes, and the lettuce and placed them in the dishpan. Relying on the feel of the corn in our hands to select ears that were full and firm enough to eat, we snapped them from the stalk and placed them in the pail. Then, we dug the potatoes. Afterward, we carried our harvest directly to the windmill, where we washed everything with freshly pumped water.”
From “Living a Country Year” by Jerry Apps:
“ Pa paid us a penny for every bushel of potatoes we picked, and if the potatoes were good, we could each pick one hundred bushels in a day and earn one dollar. “
“My brothers and I both dreaded and looked forward to the annual potato vacation at our school…a vacation, I learned years later, that was unique to country-school kids and not known by kids living in other parts of the Midwest“.
My own memories as a child :
My grandparents had a large garden and we enjoyed its bounty from spring on. Early lettuce and onions and strawberries and rhubarb were the first treats. While my grandmother often made coconut cream pie or banana cream pie, a seasonal treat was her rhubarb meringue pie when the rhubarb was ripe in the garden.
Later on came green beans, cantaloupe (my grandfather called this “mush melon” ) and watermelon, corn and tomatoes. My favorite childhood dinner of all time would be in my mother’s kitchen, enjoying the foods from my grandparents’ garden: corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, German cucumber salad, and German fried potatoes. Later on my grandfather might come up for a visit bringing fresh watermelon. He put salt on his and I still eat watermelon that way.
If you have summer food memories that you’d like to share in comments or previous blog posts about summer foods & memories please share / link : we can all enjoy :) I often find that the majority of comments here are better and more interesting than the post of mine that you are commenting on, lol! :)
*UPDATE: The comments thus far are VERY interesting :)
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