‘Stained glass’ cucumber crisp surprises with tasty beauty

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, July 20, 2017

A backlit cucumber crisp (inset) inspired thoughts of what a stained-glass window of such chips might look like. Cucumber crisp by Sylvia Simpson,
photo by Warren Harbeck

I could never have anticipated the moment of beauty that awaited my wife and me the other day over lunch with friends in the Wildcat Hills northwest of Cochrane.

Yes, as Mary Anna and I drove up Grand Valley Rd., there was the usual beauty of cattle grazing in fields nestled among forested foothills. And yes, as we ascended into higher country, the roadside carpet of yellow sweet clover yielded to the deeper yellows of buffalo bean. And yes, as we arrived at the hilltop home of Michael and Sylvia Simpson, its aesthetically satisfying architectural features offered a picture-window encounter with Ghost Lake and the Rockies further west.

But none of those in all their grandeur prepared me for the tiny beauty I was soon to hold in my hand.

As we began lunch, Sylvia passed around a bowl of chips she had made – cucumber crisps. While engaging in the conversation around the table, I passively picked up a toonie-size crisp and happened to glance at it. That’s when it happened.

In the light from the window across from me, the cucumber crisp glowed like a miniature stained-glass window. It was breathtaking.

Sylvia had made a batch of the crisps for our enjoyment, thinking the pleasure would only be in the taste. She had sliced cucumbers thinly with her mandoline, added apple cider vinegar and salt, and, in place of her dehydrator that was loaned out at the time, dried them in her very sunny, hot greenhouse for a full day. And they were indeed tasty.

But it was the stained-glass appearance of this backlit chip that got my imagination going. What could I do to celebrate this moment? I took a quick photo on my smartphone.

Later that evening while processing the shot I noticed the crisp’s six-sided pattern. So I cropped the image tight and placed it within a hexagonal frame. (See inset photo.) That got my imagination going even more: What would this look like if I combined several of these hexagonal images to create a ‘stained-glass window’?

Well, here’s the result. I’ll let you decide if my imagination was running away with me. Meanwhile, thanks, Sylvia, for this moment of very tasty inspiration.


© 2017 Warren Harbeck

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