It happens every year with that first bite into a vine-ripened tomato, a splash of juice as my teeth pierce the skin, the subsequent slurping as the acidic fruity tang slides over my tastebuds, that I think this just needs some bacon.
Green Zebra is my favorite BLT variety, and I’ve often though it must have been bred to pair specifically with the fatty crispness of pork belly, the smokey maple-syrup sweetened decadence of bacon. Unfortunately, we lost all but one green zebra in a late frost this spring, and amid the ripening red orbs, the green fruit sometimes eludes me on harvest days.
No matter, one can’t stop the pairing of fruit and meat as August turns toward ripeness. I’ve found the joys of German Johnson, a tomato to rival Brandywine; It’s size trumps green zebra, with some slices as big as bread, and we eat BLTs open-faced on a bed of oak-leaf lettuce, crowning them with basil leaves and a dollop of chèvre. Summer on a plate.
And then there is the glass–a tall one with muddled spearmint and blueberries, three ice cubes and a long pour of seltzer, or as I like to say, bubbly water. At another time in my life I got excited about mojitos and gin and tonics, but these days its the clarity of cold water and herbs on a hot day that quenches my thirst. Sometimes I get fancy with a squeeze of lime, or go the lemon-ginger-honey route, or steep strawberries and lemon balm in a quart jar for hours in the fridge. Sometimes, I imagine the most refreshing thing in the world would be to steep in a cold mint bath, though the earthy scent of lake water does just as much to cool and revive.