Cucumber and Gooseberry Salad with Feta and Mint
You can only eat this dish right now. Well, you can most likely eat it a week from now, and you could have eaten it a week or two ago. But this salad will only taste good for a short amount of time. That’s a lot of pressure.
Summer dishes have an urgency to them. If you mark the passing of time by the produce calendar, they can incite anxiety. But that’s what makes them special. That they are fleeting makes them worthwhile. A winter supermarket tomato may look like a tomato but it doesn’t eat like one; it’s not a tomato. An in-season one is sweet as a ripe peach and its walls are just as tasty as its guts. Winter storebought herbs are brittle and musty. Summer herbs are tender and supple and so fragrant you can’t quite get their smell out of your kitchen, even if they’re stashed in the fridge. The allure of these short-lived flavors provides me with the energy to make a balanced meal at the end of exhausting, sun-soaked days. If I don’t eat all the things now, I won’t get my fill. It will turn cold and I will stare at mountains of just kale and beets for months.