July 2009 Issue
I eat what is put in front of me. With the exception of lima beans and other assorted vegetables I would hide under the mashed potatoes as a kid, I’ve always been that way. I am not what our mothers used to derisively call a “picky eater.”
Truth be told, back in high school I even thought cafeteria food wasn’t half bad. What were my classmates complaining about? It’s pretty hard to mess up a Sloppy Joe — or at least to mess it up any more than it is supposed to be messed up.
And as far as lima beans were concerned, I had a solution for that as well. My mother would point out that “the little children across the sea” would be glad to have them. This was designed, apparently, to shame me into eating the last few, holding my nose and downing them with milk.
The ploy did not work. I suggested popping the lima beans in an envelope, sticking on a three-cent stamp, and mailing them to my youthful counterparts across the sea. If they wanted them, they could have them.
My mother failed to appreciate the logic in all that, so I ate whatever I couldn’t hide. And in time, I came to enjoy my vegetables almost as much as Sloppy Joes. After marrying into a family blessed with cooks who make food a work of art, my tastes became even more sophisticated. Over the years, I have discovered that food has value that goes beyond mere sustenance. Imagine that!
I mention all this because our issue this month contains a celebration of food. In “Taste of Summer,” beginning on page 93, five Ohio food writers talk about their favorite fare for enjoyment in the sun. Making their menu suggestions are Debbi Snook of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland; Gary Seman Jr. of This Week Community Newspapers in Columbus; Kathie Smith of The Blade in Toledo; Jimmy Gherardi, chef and culinary editor for Taste Magazine Cincinnati; and Mark Fisher of the Dayton Daily News.
From tacos made from yellow perch fished from Lake Erie to perfect peach pie made from freshly picked Ohio peaches, here are meals made in heaven. (OK, maybe not heaven, but the closest thing to it — and we know where that is.)
Mark Fisher, who covers food as well as wine at the Dayton Daily News, also provides us with his five best bets for Ohio wine to make your ideal summer meal complete. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
Speaking of best bets and Ohio favorites, be sure to check out our My Ohio column this month, written by my good friend and legendary columnist, Dick Feagler. Earlier this year, Dick retired from regular column writing after a generation of chronicling life in general and particularly life in his beloved Cleveland. In this guest column, he revisits another legend, Marietta’s historic Lafayette Hotel. Not surprisingly, his column is a gem. Just like the hotel.