In 2009 the USDA declared seventy-nine of Mississippi's eighty-two counties disaster areas due to excessive rain in spring and fall and a drought in the summer. It rained more than fifteen inches in May when farmers were trying to plant their crops. Then in the busy harvest months, a deluge of eight inches in September, followed by fourteen and a half inches in October. It was one of the worst yields on record.
My cousin Michael Thompson has the right temperament to be a farmer. He is unflappable in the face of natural disaster and focuses on doing everything he can to foster a good soybean yield each season. "To do what I love on land that means so much to our family, it's home ..." As he says this his voice trails off dreamily.
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 small onion, quartered and sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cooked shelled edamame (soybeans)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cottonseed or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Put the cucumber and onion slices in a bowl and toss with the salt. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour. Rinse, drain well in a colander, and return to the bowl.
Add the edamame, lemon juice, cottonseed oil, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and cayenne. Toss well to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
From A Southerly Course: Recipes and Stories from Close to Home by Martha Hall Foose. Copyright 2011 Martha Hall Foose. Reprinted by permission of Clarkson Potter, an imprint of The Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc.