My great-grandmother, Ada lived in a tiny, white, basement house in Ohio. Her home was built long before the neighborhood was planned, so she had a huge lot set in amongst the post WW2 grid of efficient, cookie cutter homes. I really don't remember her too much as we never seemed to have a conversation other than my annoying actions eliciting an "tsk" sound from her.
I do, however, have a pastiche of sensual memories from summers spend visiting; the small, sweetly scented half-rotted apples I picked up from her yard so she could mow, each making a satisfying thud as it was thrown into the rusty wheelbarrow;
sitting on her back porch while she soaked green leaf lettuce in a stainless steel bowl to get the grit that had settled deep between the leaves;
the ice cold water that we drank from a communal metal cup that hung from a nail near the kitchen sink;
her rug which was made from colorful rectangular carpet remnants, which amazed me not because of it's economy, but because of it's beauty;
and her cucumber salad.
This salad is so simple, so easily adapted that it really does not even need exact quantities. I could and can still eat bowls of it - each sprinkled with crunchy salt and pepper.
I ate this at her house in the warm summers. After she died, her daughter, my grandmother, lived with us and she fixed it often. When I was in high school, I would make it for myself as an afternoon snack. And now as the mother of three kids, I prepare it for my family. My children devour it until their faces are covered with dressing and the bowl is empty.
what you need
1 crazy heaping T of mayo (try to make homemade)
a wee bit of vinegar
what you do
Whisk the mayo and vinegar until thinned down and lump-free. Stir in the thinly sliced cucumbers and chill in the fridge (or eat right away of you can not wait). A bit of chopped scallions or shallots will make it irresistible.