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The Taste of Summer

September 25, 2019

On a sunny day in July, I slipped on my flip-flops and opened my back door, startling the finches who had been feasting on the seed in the bird feeder. The little birds flitted away to the highest branches of the giant maple tree that towers over everything in my backyard. I smiled at a squirrel who watched me curiously, then walked to my brother's garden. 

This garden was special, because my brother had started it by himself. He planted, watered, weeded, and harvested every day, and his work had paid off. The garden was crowded with thriving vegetables of all kinds, and tall sunflowers circled it cheerfully. I walked between the rows until I found an overflowing pot of basil. I picked the aromatic green leaves until I had filled the bowl I carried, then went to the tomato plants with their little red jewels. The tomatoes were not big like the ones you can buy in stores, but were medium sized and perfectly rounded. I chose the ripest ones with the brightest color and gathered them in my hands. I buried my nose in the leaves of the tomato plants, taking in the beautiful smell of summer. I think that if sunshine had a smell, it would be the smell of warm tomato plants in the middle of summer. 

Finally, I left the garden and returned to the house, where I set my armful of produce on the kitchen counter. Then I began to make my pasta, mixing durum wheat semolina flour with eggs, olive oil, and water until I had a stiff yellow dough. Next, I clamped my family's pasta maker to the counter and cranked the handle, pushing a clump of dough through the rollers over and over again until I had a long, narrow, and thin sheet of dough. Then I fed the sheet through a different set of rollers in the pasta maker, and this time it cut the sheet of dough into thin strands of soft pasta. I laid the pasta on a drying rack and repeated the process until I had used every lump of dough. 

Then I boiled a big pot of water with salt and carefully lowered my pasta into the steaming water, stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon. The pasta cooked in about two minutes, much faster than dried pasta. I drained it in the sink, then put it back in the pot with some olive oil to keep it from sticking together. 

Next, I found a big bowl in the cupboard and began to make my sauce. I grated a couple cloves of garlic, chopped the basil and tomatoes, added a third of a cup of olive oil, and measured out half a cup of grated parmesan cheese. I shook in a little pinch of salt and ground a bit of pepper, then poured in my pasta and stirred it all together. 

At last, I set the bowl of perfect pasta on the table and called my family to eat it with me. This pasta is a summer tradition in my family, and my mom has been making it for as long as I can remember. To me, it is the taste of summer, because we only make it when the tomatoes and basil are in season. The sweetness of the tomatoes, the tang of the garlic, the subtle flavor of the basil, and the soft homemade pasta all bring me the memories of happy summers long ago. But it will also be the taste of summer for many years to come.

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  • Donnie Montano

    I love the description of your family's preparation of pasta, it sounds extremely delicious especially by the details you provide. I can just taste/smell the pasta you described. Great job!

    11 months ago
  • Brooke A.

    Your story definitely portrays a warm summer evening, and made me think of my summers as well. Your description of the food and plants is well thought out, not going overboard but adding enough to paint a picture of exactly what it was like! Great writing!

    11 months ago
  • dyn4m1cacid911

    You're descriptions were really nice! Especially your descriptions about the tomato plants! :)

    11 months ago
  • aa5781

    You did a great job of setting the scene! Describing the sounds and actions of the birds, the garden, and the other animals there really helps the reader picture exactly what you're describing. I do wish the recipe and cooking part had a similar amount of imagery and appeal to the senses, rather than a simple step by step. Other than that great job and keep up the great work!

    11 months ago