Summer days began with the whistling of a train as it passed behind my grandmother’s country home. I don’t care what kind of Southern literary sentiment that a train whistle may have, at 6 years old it scared the daylights right out of me every time (and still does). After I regained my composure, I threw on my denim shorts and whatever t-shirt was my current favorite. I could hear the beloved sound of pitter-pattering on the roof as the morning rain invited me into the kitchen. There, on the counter, laid a gargantuan mountain of emerald cucumbers just brought in from the garden. I remember sitting in my grandmother’s plot of paradise in the afternoons, when the temperature slowly, slowly began to drop from stifling to almost comfortable. I watched the sun go down on my childhood days with three gifts: a smile on my face, ingenuous secrets from the day, and a bright green cucumber giving me strength for the next.
*Note: The cucumbers used in these photographs were from grandma’s garden in Louisiana!
Recipe: Serves 2
½ cup of water
¼ cup of sugar
1 cup of ginger ale
6 slices of cucumber
½ sprig of fresh mint
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Dissolve the sugar into the water over low heat. Once all of the sugar is dissolved, take off the heat and let cool.
In a measuring glass, measure out 1 cup of ginger ale. Add 3 tablespoons of the simple syrup to the measuring glass. Toss in cucumber slices and the mint, torn into small pieces. Stir to combine. Pour over 2 glasses filled with ice.