Simple Southern Summer Suppers

For my prompt at Real Toads, Weekend Challenge.  I want folks to share the best thing they ever ate, the best meal they ever had.  Doesn’t have to be fancy, just the best!

fried okra

sliced tomatoes

Simple Southern Summer Suppers
“Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.” Anthony Bourdain

We always had a huge garden.
As a kid I would roam around it in the summer
stripping from the vines a cucumber or a tomato
or green beans.  But….
The best meals were the summer suppers –
Sliced red sassy tomatoes on my grandmother’s
Blue Willow plates along with freshly cooked green beans
and sometimes new potatoes and or tomatoes thrown in,
along with steamed yellow squash and onions or fried squash,
fried okra or steamed okra and tomatoes,
the tiny jade green butterbeans –
small new potatoes and steamed corn on the cob –
Dripping with butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Small thin corn cakes – lacy and crispy around the edges.
The best meals in the world.
And of course, my family lining the table –
digging in and loving every bite.
The best part of every meal that always made
each one the best.
I still eat those suppers during the summer.
I will love every bite until I die.

green beans and new potatoes

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kim881
    Aug 25, 2018 @ 14:19:45

    I can see how your love of food developed, Toni – I love fresh produce from the garden. When I lived in Germany, my foster mother pickled and canned fruit and veg from the garden, where we had, among other things, plums and cherries, which she made into jams and soaked in alcohol ready for Christmas.Those summer suppers sound wonderful.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Aug 25, 2018 @ 14:24:57

      They were! I didn’t count fruit into the mix. Damson and green gage plums for preserves, pears for preserves, apples for jelly. I love the thoughts of cherries in alcohol. Yum. Greengage plums seems to be one of those English tastes, brought over with us. The plum trees in the yard at the time came from original stock brought over. The plum in my yard comes from that stock. I will be getting pears and apples from a friend on her farm in a few weeks – jelly and preserves time!!!! I love that you wrote so lovingly of that rarebit. Sometimes I will fix for me. I will fix a burger for my husband as he doesn’t like cheese (can you imagine). I do love a good rarebit. Sometimes I will pour a good dark ale into it. so good.

      Reply

  2. Jim
    Aug 25, 2018 @ 14:25:33

    Sounds so very nice, Toni. Mrs. Jim is from Louisiana and I’m from Nebraska. I’d never eaten grits, cornbread, or poyboys until I met her. About the only Southern foods I don’t like are eggplant and okra. When I first moved here I would eat okra fried but not even that way any more.
    I’m of to write. Checks and maybe try a poem or close to one.
    ..

    Reply

  3. annell4
    Aug 25, 2018 @ 15:38:55

    Yes, those meals were the best, the very best, it seems there was always cornbread. Thanks for reminding me of those best meals!!

    Reply

  4. annell4
    Aug 25, 2018 @ 15:42:12

    Okra is just the best!! Perhaps hard to acquire a taste for it in adulthood, when you haven’t eaten it all your life?

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Aug 25, 2018 @ 16:46:57

      My husband had never eaten it. He grew up in Virginia but hey, they are almost in the north. I fixed it one night for dinner and didn’t tell him what it was. He took a bite. And then another. Next thing I knew, I was having to fight him for it. He fell in love with fried okra. Next I fixed us gumbo using the okra to thicken it. He fell in love with that as well. Brad is an adventuresome soul when it comes to food. Now he looks forward to fresh okra right out of the garden, however way I fix it for him.

      Reply

  5. coalblack
    Aug 25, 2018 @ 16:59:36

    And therein lies a big part of the appeal–you CAN go home again, in some ways.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Aug 25, 2018 @ 17:24:47

      Yes you can. The Durham stadium has been rebuilt and is big and brassy, no longer the small intimate stadium it was. But….the hot dogs still taste the same!

      Reply

  6. teal
    Aug 25, 2018 @ 18:17:42

    I would LOVE to eat that meal with you. Especially the tomato slices. Gosh, I love farm-fresh tomatoes.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Aug 25, 2018 @ 19:43:03

      And NC tomatoes are so sharp and sassy, they jump up and slap you across the face – twice, before you can even get a fork into them. Not bland and sweet, but full of juice.

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      Reply

  7. MrsBednar
    Aug 29, 2018 @ 00:08:25

    grew up with two acres of garden (I’m NOT kidding) and I HATED most of it. Loved the corn and tomatoes but not canned tomatoes. Summer gardening was a dread for me as I was afraid of all spiders. Beets were the worst and asparagus and spinach… hated. NOW I love it all and wish I could eat everything my mom labored over and prepared. My childhood garden poem would be the opposite of yours 😉

    Speaking of your poem, I loved it and the heart felt love of the family gathered around nourishing good tasting food came through loud and clear. Enjoyed this prompt. Thanks.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Aug 29, 2018 @ 01:18:39

      We lived in the city and owned the block. We had fruit trees, raspberries, asparagus and rhubarb beds. I love canned tomatoes – su useful for soups, stews, marinara, and the whole canned tomatoes for winter salads. And the fresh greens – the lettuce, cabbages (4 types) turnip, mustard, collards, chard. I grew up with so many veggies. Except for the wretched ubiquitous kale, I love them all. We kept potatoes apples sweet potatoes, cabbages in our root cellar, the shekfs lined with canned veggies, jellies, and brandief fruits, cane syrup, molasses, and maple syrup. I miss that root cellar and pantry. I try to keep such here but it is only 2/3 the size

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      Reply

  8. Helen
    Aug 29, 2018 @ 19:06:20

    I spent hours and hours at my grandparent’s farm and experienced so many of the summer suppers you so lovingly wrote about. Thanks!

    Reply

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