Summer Cooking

Academic life means not a lot of money but decent time in the summer. For me, it’s meant years of cadging invitations to housesit and thus, summers of cooking in someone else’s kitchen.

Fortunately, the limitations of trying to get to know someone else’s pots and pans, their spices and oils, and trying not to use up stuff they might miss (Renting for a month on our honeymoon, my husband working long, long hours on his book, poor as church mice, I ate our host’s giant stash of AirHeads. I still feel kind of bad. And they’re disgusting!), are perfectly suited for summer cooking, when I don’t want to turn on the oven anyway.

This summer, we’re at my mother-in-law’s during the week (and with her and her mother at the River on weekends), so I have special dispensation to use up stuff in the freezer. The other night, I pulled a couple small pieces of salmon out of the freezer, poached them, and stirred them into a bowl of spaghetti (penne would have been better but there’s a spaghetti surplus around here) with a dressing of mayonnaise, yogurt, and lemon, a bit of garlic, dill and parsley from the pots out front, radishes from out back, onions and cucumber from the farm stand. It wasn’t terrific but it did the trick. The bar is low: it’s summertime.