It’s almost been five years since my Granny died. It doesn’t seem that long in some ways but so much longer in others. Time has a funny way of tricking our minds like that. The strange thing is, rather than missing her less and becoming less emotional over her death, the distance from it has only made me think of her more, wish she was here more.
I’ve changed a lot in the time since her death, become an adult. I wish she were here to have serious conversations, keeping me company during the day when Mom is out and about. She could be a friend, another person in my life that I could turn to when I needed another opinion or just an understanding ear. We’d talk about more things, I’d respect her opinion more, I’d want to hear what she has to say and spend the whole day talking to her. We’d cook and bake together, learning from each other. I think that’s the time I’d value the most. I wasn’t cooking or baking much at all when she was still here, so I don’t think I was ever in the kitchen with her, and that breaks my heart.
Other than a few memories here and there, I’ve forgotten many of the good times we shared. She lived out of town, so our time together was limited, and unfortunately during her last few visits, the prime of her life was passing. Seeing her not at her peak scared me away from her a bit, and it shouldn’t have.
The time surrounding her death was by far the worst of my life, as while she was in the hospital I was at home sick for a month, scared out of my mind. I didn’t have the chance to process her death then, not able to fully comprehend what had happened and the lasting consequences of it. I was more worried about growing physically and emotionally strong enough to eat real food and leave the house, so afraid more germs would attack me, making me sick all over again.
Perhaps five years later my brain is only beginning to deal with her death, her absence in my life, each night as I look at her memorial candle, a tear in my eye, begging her to help me, guide me, protect me, thanking her for doing so, telling her about my day, and apologizing for not treasuring her more when she was here and for only beginning to truly miss her over the past year or so. I talk to her more frequently and honestly than I ever did and than perhaps any other person in my life. I just wish she was there to answer.
I’ve told you before that Mom always talks about what an amazing cook she was, though I didn’t have much of an opportunity to taste her food. But Cucumbers, Tomatoes, and Onions is something I remember her making sometimes when she’d visit. I’ve always hated tomatoes, so I picked out the cucumbers and onions and was a seriously happy camper. I do eat the tomatoes now, though don’t bring cooked tomatoes, pasta sauce, or pizza sauce anywhere near me. I definitely prefer heirloom tomatoes, mostly because they tend to taste a lot less like tomatoes. I used one heirloom from Frog Hollow (my favorite farm) and one from a local farmers’ market. Though it has been a bit of a tough year for tomatoes, I’m actually finding the heirlooms have been of pretty amazing quality the past couple of weeks. The beauty of the recipe is that even in winter when the tomatoes aren’t very good, the vinegar seriously improves them.
This is one of the easiest, healthiest side dishes, and is so perfect for this time of the year. I make it at least once a week, and I bet you won’t be able to get enough after you try it either. I even made a video, below, to show you just how easy it is. So make a batch of this and think of the people in your life that you miss. I’m having a bowl tonight for Granny.
- 1 cucumber, English or regular, peeled and sliced thinly
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 onion, sweet or white, peeled and sliced thinly into half moons
- 1 ½ cups white vinegar (I use Heinz)
- 1 heaping tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (optional, I always omit it)
- In a large bowl, place the cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions (hence the name of the recipe). Add the vinegar, sugar, pepper, and salt if using. Stir to combine. Taste it to see if it is too sour, in which case you can add more sugar, or too sweet (it probably won’t be), in which case you can add more vinegar. Allow to sit up to 1 hour at room temperature for the flavors to marry or consume immediately. This recipe should not be stored or frozen.