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Gretchen’s Cookbook

Whining and Dining with Samantha Cardimon

Piquant Joys of August

Ah, August. It's one of my favorite times of the year. August is something of a contradictory, almost melancholy month. It's still hot, the kids are still off from school, the office is quiet as our colleagues finally get to their vacations... But the harvest of the garden is beginning to come in, the nights can cool off ever so slightly, and Staples starts running back-to-school ads. It's time to harvest food and Number 2 pencils for the winter.

Even as a child I thought of August as bittersweet. (I think I need not say that I was an odd kid.) I can remember being excited to the point of bursting because that was usually when my beloved Grandma Dorothy came to visit us for a month ("Only a month! Why can't she stay forever?"). Grandma's visit meant some extra good cooking. My mother has always been a good, inventive cook (with a few regrettable forays into things like fried bologna and Spam Parmigiana shudder) but the arrival of Grandma Dorothy always heralded the arrival of Silver Queen corn at the roadside stands and the sacred making of Vegetable Soup. Mind you, Grandma's vegetable soup recipe is probably much like everyone else's. But I've never personally tasted anything any better.

Since you've probably got some vegetables dropping off the vines at home (or in my case, dropping off the vines at the farmers' market) why not cook up a batch of this soup? It freezes well and is a nice taste of August when a November nor'easter assaults body and soul and Grandma Dorothy has gone home.

Grandma Dorothy's Vegetable Soup

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