As twilight settled on this summer solstice evening, I took a minute to take in the summer flowers starting to open and accessorize my gardens. It’s here: summer with all it’s promise of beach days, long nights, ice cream and lightening bugs. I think Alana Chernila of Eating From The Ground Up nailed it when she referred to the optimism that swells in us at the beginning of summer as “The hopeful balloon of summer.”
I didn’t use to like summer at all. When summer was defined with oppressive heat like it was in Houston, summer was a bummer. Growing up in Texas as a pale girl who did not tan and did not like to sweat, summer was a tough season. Summer in Texas lasts five months in a good year, so it’s probably the main reason I left. It certainly wasn’t the food or the good friends. Those I will always miss.
In New England we all rush to cram a year’s worth of day-dreaming into the long days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Days are spent playing a mental game of summer bingo. We all check off the things we think our summer should include: beach days, ice cream shops, clam shacks, hydrangea bushes so heavy with enormous blue blooms they sag almost to the ground, kids playing baseball, lobster, evenings spent outside entertaining and that magical time at night when the temperature drops and the breeze tickles like silk against the skin.
Yes, summer in New England has a lot to live up to. Yankees get a little cranky when it rains too much, too little, is too cold or too hot. In our minds a New England summer is supposed to be 82 degrees, sunny with low humidity for all but one day from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Welcome summer. I’ve been waiting for you. I’m going to enjoy the heck out of you this year since I was too sleep deprived to remember any of you from last year (thanks to the newborn twins in the house).
This week’s book is just about the most summery cookbook I know. It’s full of recipes that are delicious and ALWAYS turn out. Ina Garten’s recipes are nothing if they aren’t reliable. Her recipe for French Potato Salad is just about as perfect a summer salad as exists anywhere, and every scone recipe in the book is better than any scone you’ll buy at the corner coffee shop. This is not a new book; it was published in 1999, but it’s one of those everyone needs. Have a good weekend, and enjoy your summer!