Kyuri momi along with abura miso are, hands down, the quintessential summer dishes of any farm family. My husband calls them his soul food. In the middle of summer we can’t even give away the slender cucumbers and eggplants. Everyone grows them, so summer means eating eggplant and cucumbers in a myriad of ways. They’re said in the same breath: nasu/kyuri.

Before my mother-in-law lived under the same roof, I would stop her at our door when she tried to drop off big bags of each. Somehow I thought of the field as my own private vegetable shop. I could saunter over and pluck a bit of this or that for any meal. I didn’t know that you have to pick the whole row every two days, otherwise the plants stop producing. We wait all year long to eat cucumbers and eggplant and revel in them when we have them in abundance, eating them at every meal.