As the nippy weather becomes manageable and the winter coats are taking a sabbatical in the closet, we begin to move away from that period where we are forced to live and cook inside the house to prevent frost bite, at least in the colder locals.
As summer approaches I feel it is appropriate to spend a few moments waxing poetic about the foods that will soon be gracing our throwaway plates and nourishing us as we pick at or gorge on them.
Corn on the cob
What can you say about corn? Well it’s good. Whether cooked on the grill or in a pot of boiling water, how can you not like that buttery smothered goodness? It’s one of those foods that have the whole family coming back for more—even when they are burdened with braces and have to cut the kernels from the cob.
You can grill the sweet corn by wrapping them in tin foil or cooking them in their own skins. The Smokey flavor is a-may-zing. Or you can boil it until its dead. These are of course only the traditional barbecue methods. There are tons of different methods to cook corn.
They’re weird. If you think about it. Why would you even want to eat them? I’ll tell you one thing the French won’t eat hot dogs. Something about not being able to tell what went into those little critters puts them off their food. For all we know we could be eating cat or dog.
That being said I love hot dogs, especially if the hot dog has been cooked so long that they become shriveled and slightly burnt. Just put them on a toasted bun, throw some ketchup on them and there you have it my evening meal for seven nights in row once we get the propane on the barbecue refilled. I’ll do them fried, but never boiled. And I’ll never order them at a restaurant, but in my own yard, surrounded by family, I’ll cook the critters for weeks.
Last summer I almost burned my eyebrows off for these babies when I let the barbecue get too much propane before turning it on. Still have my eyebrows, but even if I lost them it would have been worth it.
Truthfully I never saw the appeal of watermelon. I like watermelon flavored candy or dentist gunk, but when it comes to the actually fruit, I find it a tad salty. Which is weird considering it’s a fruit and not a peanut or potato chip.
Still that doesn’t stop me from buying them for my insatiable kids who eat them like I eat hot dogs. The kids eat them and then spit the seeds all over the grass. It’s their father’s doing. You can’t really stop the kids from doing it when the father goes at it. One day I’m going to wake up they’ll all be smoking on the front porch. Watermelon the gateway drug…in a seriousness the watermelon gorges are a great tradition to bring the family together.
Roasted Marshmallows and S’mores
The last food. I would like to lapse poetic about is the marshmallow. Yes, you can roast marshmallows in the winter, but who wants to huddle around a fire in 20 degrees Fahrenheit? Not me.
As for the summer, we spend a lot of time roasting marshmallows over the fire pit in the backyard—the one we had installed when I found my kids stomping out a burning marshmallow in my kitchen. It was a small price to pay for the kids not burning down the house.
You can of course microwave S’mores, but the marshmallow doesn’t obtain the same taste, nor do they have the potential to become that lovely golden brown color. Not to mention the family time that can be derived from the activity. With the busy schedules, friends, and the teenage unwillingness to hang with the parents, I’m fine with using food to bribe my way into personal interaction.
Summers foods are delicious and they have so much potential to be more than food. They can inspire moments of family solidarity and tradition. They can ignite change that goes beyond personal food taste. I for one can’t wait to get my barbecue propane refilled and the summer foods in my house.
Carrie Stark has grown up eating veges grown in America’s most fertile mid-west soils and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Her favorite recipe right now is sweet corn salsa that keeps the family coming back for more.