That's not true of the Amish, certainly, and it's also not true, for the most part, of those of us who live in the country. A few years ago, at about this time of the summer, I was chatting with some women friends at a reception, where I'd been introduced to a newcomer in our community. Our conversation turned, as always in summer, to what our gardens were producing, what jams we'd made, which orchard had the best deal on peaches, and how many quarts of tomatoes we should can.
Finally the newcomer couldn't stand it any longer. She looked at us in astonishment and said, "Haven't you people ever heard of getting your vegetables in a can at the grocery store?"
Well, we had, of course. But to us, our way of life was normal and natural--if not, we probably wouldn't live where we do!
So I've continued to follow the seasons in my cooking and to take an interest in everybody's gardens. Here in Pennsylvania, the progression of pies is inevitable throughout the growing season: rhubarb, then strawberries, then raspberries, then blackberries, then blueberries. By the time we're picking blueberries, the peaches are ready, and there are plenty of orchards close at hand where we can get them fresh from the trees, followed by pears and then apples.
As for the gardens, our suburban grandkids love eating tomatoes fresh from the plant! Who needs them washed and sliced?
We're at the height of zucchini and yellow squash season right now. They don't last long, and I've never found a very good method of preserving them, so we eat and enjoy every day while they last.
Here's one of my favorite squash recipes, guaranteed to appeal even to picky kids, as long as you don't tell them it's squash!
Thinly slice tender young yellow squash or zucchini, leaving the skin on if desired. Dip each slice in beaten egg and then in a mixture of equal amounts of Bisquick and Italian crumbs. Bring about an inch of canola oil to medium heat in a large skillet. Drop each slice into the oil. They'll brown very quickly, so flip them as one side browns. Transfer to paper towels to drain and keep warm, and continue to do batches until reaching the desired amount. Serve immediately, while they're warm and crispy.
What's your favorite fresh from the garden or farmers' market treat? Your top recipe?
If you'd like a copy of my brochure of favorite Pennsylvania Dutch recipes, just e-mail me with your address at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for my newsletter at www.martaperry.com/lists/?p=subscribe.