Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’ve been suspiciously quiet this summer. Perhaps you’ve thought, “Um, Sarah- isn’t this summer break? When you have no classes and thus clearly have far more free time to be cooking?”
Well, maybe you don’t use the word “thus”. And maybe you haven’t thought that much about it, but I certainly have. When I turned in my final paper in mid-May, I pictured three months of freedom. Three months with no classes, no assignments, and plenty of time to split between productivity and laziness. Yet somehow I feel like there is more going on now than during the school year, or even last summer when I was prepping for my wedding. Because summer is the time to actually devote time to all the research-related tasks that I really should be working on throughout the year but always get pushed to the side by other commitments. And while I don’t think I would qualify as a workaholic, I do have a tendency to get obsessive about research stuff.
For example… have you ever stepped into the black hole otherwise known as a literature search? It starts off innocent enough. Your advisor forwards an article to you. You think, “This is interesting. I wonder what else this researcher has published.” And suddenly it is two and a half hours later and you’ve looked at abstracts for everything this person wrote, not to mention every article that has cited this person. You have twelve PDF files open on your computer, a running mental list of five more keywords to try, and you find yourself screaming at the computer, “This article is exactly what I have been searching for. Why is it in FRENCH??” If only you’d taken French instead of Spanish. Your poor husband stares at you. Perhaps he’s wondering if you’re ever going to start cooking dinner. Or perhaps he’s wondering if you’re ever going to take a shower today. Or perhaps he too is wishing you spoke French.
So yeah… I’ve been a little preoccupied. And while I have been cooking, not everything has been worth writing about. Or, I just got too into cooking and forgot to take photographs. And what’s the point of posting a recipe if it’s not accompanied by food porn?
That being said… I have taken some photographs of some beautiful summer produce, and I felt sad that they were just going to get lost in a file on my computer. Especially because summer is the rare time that I am able to cook dinner (aka take photographs) while there is still natural light outside.
Shiitakes and scallions. To be skewered and grilled. They weren’t bad, but they looked prettier raw than cooked, and the end product was a salad that had too much going on without any cohesion. Ah well.
Grilled kale. Also a part of the salad. And again, it probably would be good on its own, or in a simpler context.
Squash. From two different farmers’ markets. Purchased with the intent of making this summer squash soup. Two different days I pulled the squash out the fridge to make the soup for lunch. And two days the squash went right back into the fridge. Because who wants to cook squash and deal with a food processor when…
… you could have an amazing, perfect, best-thing-in-the-world tomato sandwich? I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten a summer’s worth of tomato sandwiches in the span of two weeks. My favorites were on whole grain bread, with avocado, basil, spinach, and mayo (and some smoked blue cheese, if you’re feelin’ fancy). I was so enamored with this sandwich that I had to immortalize it. With Instagram. On two different occasions.