My Mom's weathered and splintered picnic table cloaked in a red and white checkerboarded vinyl tablecloth;
Beef steaks ridged with thick white edges of fat, ready to be seared over glowing red charcoals on a sizzling grill grate;
Full ears of corn, fully beaded with plump, butter-colored kernels that burst-to-the-bite with sugary corn juice; and most of all,
Crisp, tangy, and cooling Chinese-style radish pickles.
First, select the firmest, most brightly colored radish bunches possible at a local farmers market stand. Next, remove all the black spots, bruised patches, and tenacious root wrinkles (that have soil deeply embedded within the crevices) with a small and easily-maneuverable paring knife. Then, slice the radishes into coin-sized rounds, and place them in an acidulated pickling solution made of white vinegar, granulated sugar, salt, crushed garlic, and freshly ground pepper.
Place the pickles into the refrigerator with an airtight lid. I'm gonna repeat myself here: you need a container with an "airtight lid." You don't want your entire fridge to smell like a wasteland. You must prevent the sulphurous odor molecules of wretchedness from overwhelming innocent bystanders each time the insulated vacuum seal of the refrigerator door is peeled open. A skimpy and loose-fitting plastic cellophane cover is grossly inadequate to control the tempestuous stench of pickling radishes. Trust me, the smells of some root vegetables are venomously putrid, especially when the smells are provoked by vinegar or boiling water.
Let the pickles sit in the refrigerator for several hours. When the color of the pickling solution turns a vibrant "Hawaiian fruit punch" color, and the pickles are ready to eat!
I hope I've inspired you to try my favorite summer pleasure, Chinese-style radish pickles. Bon appetit!