We are so excited to include this new feature on Beyond the Flavor. After having several of our readers contact us with their favorite recipes, we decided that a 'Reader-Submitted' category was a necessity. While the stories of a meal go beyond the ingredients used to prepare a recipe, the food culture of a town reaches further than the chefs, farmers, bakers, and enthusiasts that are often highlighted. If it weren't for passionate home cooks, there may not be a local food movement to support.
Beth Johnson walked into our office early one morning with her sweet pup, Pickle, carrying jars of fresh gazpacho and a loaf of crusty bread. Sharing food with friends at home is important to her, and soup is one of her favorite things to make. We love the memories that she has of gazpacho with her mom as a child, and how the tradition of making it multiple times every summer has continued into adulthood. Thanks for sharing with us, Beth! We're so happy to have met you!
"It's what I look forward to every summer: fresh vegetables, gazpacho."
"I grew up on a small farm in Bethania, NC, with a mom who was always in the garden. Using fresh, seasonal vegetables was simply the way we lived; it didn't seem out of the ordinary, or special. When summer came, that meant one thing: produce and pesto. I think we ate pesto 5 nights a week, to every variation possible, and it's taken me some years to begin eating it again. I love my mom, but her rotation of recipes was always quite slim, even with a bountiful vegetable garden.
"That said, her other staple was gazpacho. Cold, chunky, gazpacho. When I'd watch her toss in some tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and whatever else she had on hand, I remember feeling impatient while it sat in the fridge to cool. The first spoonful we'd enjoy together, commenting on what it needed - basically setting me up for a lifetime of pretending I'm a food critic. The soup never lasted long, as I'd sneak slurps of it when she was outside. When summer ended, it meant a lot of things: pool closing, school starting, end of gazpacho. Really serious matters for a kid.
"Living in Charlottesville has afforded me the pleasure of access to quality local produce. Each farmer and farm has a different story, yet they all take me back to my childhood and those feelings of summertime anticipation: the first juicy tomato, the ripe peaches, endless supplies of squash, etc. When I came across the recipe for "Gazpacho on Fire" in Food & Wine magazine, I knew this would be on heavy rotation. Each week I pick up supplies at the City Market, maybe adding more spice one week, heavy on garlic the next. And yes, I still wait impatiently for it to cool, which takes even longer since the vegetables are grilled."