When I was a girl, every summer I looked forward to spending a week with my grandparents. They lived less than an hour away, but it was a treat to get to stay overnight at their house and enjoy their undivided attention. Grandma always cooked my favorite foods, we went shopping and played games, and I devoured books about the Bobbsey Twins, the Boxcar Children, and Nancy Drew.
My grandparents had a huge garden in their backyard where they grew an awe-inspiring assortment of vegetables: asparagus, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers, to name a few. I think I even remember cantaloupe growing there. I used to love walking up and down the rows, watching the plants’ progress and trying to remember which was which. The best part was getting to pick something fresh to eat that very night.
My grandma is a fearless cook. She can successfully tackle any culinary challenge, whether it’s an intricate Italian dish learned from her mother-in-law or a recipe from Bon Appétit. But one of my very favorites is Grandma’s cauliflower with browned butter. It’s so simple—just a head of cauliflower cut up and steamed with some just-to-the-point-of-getting-nice-and-brown butter poured over the top (Land o’ Lakes, of course, just like Julia), plus a generous sprinkling of salt.
When I saw the cauliflower tucked into this week’s bounty from our CSA, I could hardly wait to get home and start steaming. Grandpa and Grandma gave up the garden when arthritis and deer became too much to battle. But I’m so glad for the memories of working in the garden with Grandma and the appreciation that experience gave me for such simple, but special, food.