Here are some of my memories of the 1960s. Standing on a line that curved around the block as I waited to see West Side Story. Watching American Bandstand on T.V. and then looking on as my sister practiced the dance steps using the refrigerator handle as her dance partner. Seeing the Beatles for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show, during which my mother remarked that they would “ruin America.” (I think it had something to do with their long hair) Watching the coverage of the anti-war rallies on the evening news and listening to my father as he ranted against the protesters. It was not surprising that he thought his adopted country could no wrong.
Despite a world that was “rapidly changing,” life in our home moved at a much slower pace. Fads and trends were not supported in the Graf household and certainly our diets did not vary very much over the years. (It was at least 20 years later when my Mom met her very first vegetarian, my husband) With two children and a husband, no car, and few conveniences, my mother was too busy to spend her time worrying whether we needed more vegetables or fewer carbs. Meals were balanced and colorful, dessert was never offered, but fruit was always available. Basically as long as our diet included the two foods that my mother felt were critical to good health, she wasn’t overly concerned. The items were milk and meat, but never served together of course.
Today as I walked through a local Persian market, the summer vegetables were in all their glory. I couldn’t decide what to make so I picked a few vegetables of various colors and made a version of Succotash, a dish I never had growing up but SO American that my father would surely have approved.
Succotash (without the shell beans and adapted from Bobby Flay)
2 pounds Mexican Squash, cut in chunks
3 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 ears of corn
3 Tbs lime or lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbs cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion in olive oil till translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for several minutes and then add diced red pepper, turning heat to high, allowing pepper to caramelize. After about 5 minutes add the Mexican squash and cook for an additional 10 minutes on medium heat. Cut kernels off husks and add to pan along with salt, pepper, and cumin. Allow flavors to combine for several minutes and remove from heat. Add lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Serves 4-6