Summer Food: Blueberries, Texas Caviar, Tomatoes For many listeners, summer food is epitomized by fruits of the vine, tree, bush and stalk. They share stories about grandmothers and "blueberry slump," gardens and "Texas caviar," and a bittersweet tale of tomatoes, champagne and a light bulb.
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Summer Food: Blueberries, Texas Caviar, Tomatoes

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Summer Food: Blueberries, Texas Caviar, Tomatoes

Summer Food: Blueberries, Texas Caviar, Tomatoes

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Summer is connected to food for many of us. With all those weddings, reunions, barbecues and picnics this time of the year, we've asked you to tell us about your favorite summer food. And we've heard a lot about fruits of the vine, and tree, and bush, and stalk. Corn on the cob is a hands-up favorite. Okay, not technically a fruit, we know that, but just as sweet, according to some.

Rosella Ewing of Buffalo, New York, says the water was already boiling in her parents' kitchen before the corn had been picked. During those summers in Baton Rouge, eating corn, slathered in butter, sprinkled with salt, was the only thing that kept her family quiet at dinnertime.

And then there are blueberries. Meg Watjen of Tempe, Arizona, sent us a recipe for blueberry slump. I just love that name. It includes lemon juice, sugar, nutmeg and milk. Now, don't worry. That recipe is on our Web site. Meg also told us about how she used to pick blueberries back home near Rochester, Massachusetts.

Ms. MEG WATJEN: My grandmother and mother would get us into our bathing suits and we'd wade into the clear, cool waters of Snow's Pond, walking along the edges, looking for blueberries with coffee cans tied around our necks. About half of the blueberries we picked made into the cans. The other half we ate. Blue fingers and tongue's the proof of our work.

NORRIS: Hmm, a colorful memory. Now, something called Texas caviar. This comes to us from Juanita Weisbrich. It's a side dish including peppers, onion and black-eyed peas - things from her garden. And again, don't worry. That recipe is also on our Web site.

Juanita lives in Round Rock, Texas, of course, and she's a renter who insists on having a garden plot. This year, she's also raising a variety of tomatoes. However, the record rainfall in Texas has taken a toll. Her Celebrities, Carnivals, Big Boys and Champions are taking a long time to ripen and the skin is starting to split.

Tomato love gone wrong is something Ron Alose knows about. Here's his summer food story.

Mr. RON ALOSE: So several years ago, a friend of mine and I were celebrating the last tomatoes and I mean the last tomatoes of the summer. We have them. We sliced them up beautifully on a tray with basil, olive oil. I mean, it was just this beautiful, like, sweet smell that was coming from them. And in the last minute, I thought, you know, this is a great idea. This is the end of the summer. Let's celebrate this with a bottle of champagne. So I turned to the refrigerator, got out a bottle of champagne, put it on the island next to the tomatoes.

I took the foil off the top of it and I took the basket off the top of that, and in the two seconds that it took me to go from island to the garbage can, the cork went pop and hit the light fixture that was hanging over the island and shattered the light bulb, raining glass all over the tomatoes. I mean, it looked like we had dusted them with glitter or granulated sugar. And I stood there in horror. I thought, oh, my god. And for a second, I thought, you know? We might be able to wash these off. But we couldn't. We knew that we had to throw them out, and it broke our hearts. So we slid the tray of tomatoes into the garbage, poured the champagne, toasted them anyway, and then went out to dinner.

So now, every summer, when that first sweet tomato comes from the yard, I think of that story and I laugh and I cry, maybe just a little bit. But I still love those tomatoes and basil.

NORRIS: That was Ron Alose of Newport, Rhode Island. If you want to share a story about the food that means summer to you, or get some of those recipes I told you about - hmm, think blueberry slump - visit our Web site, npr.org.

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