Try to get small, slender, crisp cucumbers when they're in season; they have fewer seeds and more flavor. Off-season, use the long European cucumbers. Leaving some of the skin on adds color, texture and flavor to the soup.
When Fanny Singer makes this salad, she remembers her mom, Alice Waters, taking her to spend the Japanese New Year with the Chinos, a San Diego farm family that has been growing heirloom tomatoes for Berkeley's Chez Panisse forever. Fanny's twist on the restaurant recipe is to add shallots treated two ways: marinated in vinegar and fried to make a rich, salty garnish.
Richard Ampudia travels to Mexico City every few months to visit his family and look for ingredients. He then imports the flavors of his childhood to Manhattan, such as grilled corn rolled in mayonnaise, chile powder and a pungent Romano-like cheese called cotija.
F&W's Kate Krader has been making these fudgy, sweet-salty brownies since she was 10 years old. As a kid she used regular table salt; now she recommends a flaky sea salt like Maldon, because the flavor is less harsh and it melts so nicely into the batter, accentuating the chocolaty sweetness.