◊ There are two things that money can’t buy

… And that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.
Homegrown tomatoes.

Dear Mom,

I’m feeling homesick.  This whole summer has really put me in a funk. It’s been averaging a sticky 100 degrees in DC, and I still have to put work clothes on and spend my days in an office. It throws me off when my life activities don’t change with the seasons.

Jump To Recipe

Summer is eating tomatoes and peach ice cream and never changing out of my bathing suit. But I’ve been doing the same things since December and I can’t wrap my head around how time moves so freakin fast. Wahh.

I just miss home. I miss our front deck and Alabama tomatoes and squash and okra.   All I want to do is go blackberry picking at the farm and then come home and watch dad make tomato sandwiches. Remember last summer when you and dad had your okra battles? He came home with bushels of okra every week – you roasted most of it and he’d boil whatever you allowed.  Then I’d have to judge the winner. I ate your roasted okra like peanuts – dozens at a time. The slime dried out and they were crispy and salty. Dad’s were super slimy, but so watery sweet. The flavors were incredibly different, but both delicious. A few days ago I explained okra to a friend who had never tasted it. I told her it’s like eating a sweet, seedy loogie.  Okra…

Anyway. Yesterday I attempted to live summer.  In sandals and a tank, I biked with Arielle and Adam from DC to Arielle’s family friend’s house in Potomac. It was a 15 mile ride on major roads and it poured rain the entire ride– miserable. At one point, we biked around a dead deer on the side of the road. I screamed the whole time. Traumatizing. The point of going to the family friend’s house was to swim in their pool, but the rain and thunderstorms made that impossible.

The upside to the trip was that the family gave us a huge bag of yellow squash from their garden – alas, summer! And this morning I came back from the farmers market with okra and baby tomatoes. While I’m pining for a big, juicy Alabama tomatoes, the baby tomatoes from the mid-atlantic region are about as phenomenal. My favorites are sungolds – they are teeny and yellow and pop in my mouth. They are acidic candy. And next to the other tomatoes – maroon and green and red – they are gorgeous.

I made an okra, squash and tomato salad and it is SO summer.

It’s so summer that it almost fulfills my longing for lazy Alabama heat. It doesn’t really, but it’s time for me to face summer as an adult.  I can’t lounge around in swimwear eating tomato sandwiches and popsicles my whole life (I resent this). So I’ll suck it up and go into my office everyday in my professional attire – as long as I can come home to summer in a salad bowl.



Ultimate Summer Salad

  • Okra
  • Yellow squash
  • Best tomatoes of your region
  • Fresh basil
  • Arugula
  • Salt and pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar and olive oil

Toss squash and okra in olive oil, salt and pepper and broil for 30 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, chop it up with tomatoes and basil. Toss all ingredients with arugula. If you want some protein, add goat cheese. Live summer.


One thought on “◊ There are two things that money can’t buy

  1. Shaina, all of this sounds delicious. I grew up with okra, called bamyas, made with fresh tomatoes and lemon juice, very Sephardic. But I had your mother’s wonderful “popcorn” okra, and loved that too. Your salad sounds divine and your writing is so clever. Terrific blog! Keep it coming!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s