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sufferin' succotash
by Adrienne Handler
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"Sufferin' succotash!" Tweety Bird exclaimed in exasperation. But surely there is more to this phrase than just a cheeky remark. So, what was this cartoon character from our youth muttering about? It's succotash -- a mélange of summertime vegetables, bright and sweet, and at times a little bit spicy. Some of you may remember succotash as little bits of vegetables, limp lima beans, and greyish corn, all tumbling out of a can and on to your plate as a child. Admittedly, this type of succotash is none too appetizing, but you should know -- not all succotashes are created equal. Today's succotash can be colorful and crisp, displaying the bounty of the season.

Originally succotash was just a Native American dish of stewed corn and some type of legume (usually lima beans), sometimes including a smoked meat product (often times bear). The dish derives its name from the Narrangset word msickquatash meaning, "boiled kernels of corn." Today, succotash is mainly eaten along the East Coast of the United States, and throughout the South. Each location has its own spin on the ingredients. Along the Eastern shore you may see the ingredients stewed lightly in cream; in the South you may get a kick from succotash seasoned with piquant hot sauce. A little bit of this, a touch of that -- though no matter what the ingredients, it wouldn't be a succotash without the inclusion of corn.

What makes this side dish an emblem of those summer months is corn. When the nights are long, the air is warm, and the only true cooking you feel up to is done outside on the BBQ, succotash is the perfect accompaniment to a lovely piece of grilled meat. Served warm, or at room temperature, these succotashes are sure to charm, whether you stick with the more traditional version, or opt for the spicy Southwest Succotash, or mix up your vegetables into your very own medley.

Following are three recipes for the succotash of your choosing, and hopefully the succotash of your dreams. The first is for a more traditional succotash; the second is for a light, partially cooked succotash, perfect served at room temperature; and lastly, a piquant succotash, that really could be used as a sort of corn relish. Choose away, and then get cooking.

amble on this way for the recipes1

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