I learned a new phrase the other day: Cucumber time. According to this New York Times blog post, that’s what they call the “slow news season” in the Netherlands. Yes, the period we’re in right now — when headlines like “Kate Middleton’s Dress Sells Out After Royal Baby Photo Shoot” make the front page — it’s cucumber time, folks!
I wish I was spending my cucumber time in Vermont (see photo above), or Provence, or somewhere with a shady spot of lawn and a tree full of ripe peaches. Instead, I’m in steamy New York City, where road construction blossoms in August, where blasts of reverse air conditioning — that is, hot air — gusts onto the street, where icy drops of unidentifiable liquid drip on your head from the windows above.
Still, it’s cucumber time in the city, which means the midtown streets are blissfully quiet on weekend afternoons, you can always find a table at your favorite Italian restaurant and a pedicure chair at your neighborhood nail salon. Plus, our apartment has air conditioning and with air conditioning I can tolerate almost anything.
Of course, all this talk of cucumber time has only made want to eat cucumbers. Quick refrigerator pickles are a lovely, sharp counterpoint to a charcuterie plate. (Bonus: people will be impressed you made your own pickles — and it’s so easy!) Proper cucumber sandwiches add refreshing refinement to any afternoon gathering. If I were drinking, you can bet I’d be adding cucumber and mint to my gin and tonic. And then there’s this cool-as-a-cuke avocado buttermilk soup, which I’ve been making for years. Adapted from the Once Upon a Tart… Cookbook, it’s equally lovely as a lunch unto itself — in a big bowl with a hunk of bread — as it is a first course, served in little chilled demitasse cups. (Skip the shrimp — it’s better plain.)
P.S. A friend just told me that Hungarians also have cucumber time — uborka saison — I love it!