As previously seen on Wit & Delight
Editor’s Note: Isn’t it wild how food (and drinks) invokes emotions? And memories? A whole swirl of the both of them, all twisty turny like the ice cream tower pictured above? Yeah. The list below, penned by contributor Liz Welle at the end of summer 2017, brought back a whole host of each for me—jalapeño margaritas on a patio in Uptown, s’mores around ALL of the campfires (I don’t campfire without them), freeze pops that were the culprit behind every supremely sticky pair of scissors in my childhood kitchen. You get the point. While you’re reading the list for yourself, I hope you’ll think back on your own food memories from summers past, and then go eat one (or five) of the ideas suggested below. Have a great weekend folks.
Look, usually I reserve the “Man, can you believe how fast the summer’s going?” small talk for waiting-for-the-elevator-with-one-other-person conversations but, “MAN, CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW FAST THE SUMMER’S GOING?” It’s important you notice how I’m not saying “how fast summer WENT.” Y’all are so thirsty to turn the page on summer as soon as Labor Day weekend is behind us and summer’s all like “BITCH MY NAME IS ON THIS LEASE UNTIL THE 21ST OF SEPTEMBER” and you know what? She’s got a point.
It is so crucial for my mental health as someone living in a state with distinct seasons that I milk those brief warm months for all they’re worth. I’m quick to rush into fall like the rest of ’em, ready to make out with anything pumpkin-scented while I’m spending money I don’t have at Target. But I’m hoping by being more intentional with acknowledging the full length of seasons that by result, winter won’t feel like I’m the prisoner in the snow globe from hell come February.
The easiest way for me to really live the appreciation of fall, spring, summer, and (die) winter is to savor the parts of each season that make it so special. For fall, it’s Hocus Pocus and warm-hued leaves! For winter, it’s depression (just kidding it’s like, Netflix marathons and pine trees or something)! But for summer—my sweet, sweet summer—it’s the food I eat.
This is my secret summer food (and drink) bucket list. Oh, I’m being dead serious. Each of these can clearly be eaten or drank any time of year if they really needed to be but through some deep-rooted psychological force, the flavors of each are bolded and in all caps during these precious sun-filled days. Forks and straws at the ready.
1. A malt or shake. I maintain that you should get at least ten brain freezes between the months of June and September.
2. A jalapeño margarita. Preferably while sweltering on one of the hottest days of summer.
3. A good ol’ fashioned triangle-shaped watermelon slice. If you’ve done watermelon “straight-up” enough, go with this fancy mojito watermelon.
4. A grilled burger with corn on the cob. Swipe that ear of corn along a stick of soft butter with no apologies.
5. Peach cobbler.
6. A BBQ pulled pork sandwich.
8. Or one of those brownie cookie ice cream sandwiches that stick to your fingers and the roof of your mouth.
11. Paella. Never done one? Here’s a good recipe to start with.
13. Cold fried chicken.
14. Blueberry pancakes with an iced coffee out on your deck or porch or stoop.
15. Potato salad. You can only eat it on a paper plate with a plastic fork, picnic-style—those are the rules.
16. Tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, basil, salt & pepper. Throw some stone fruit in there if you please. Serve alongside some grilled meat. Eat in your backyard while sitting in a plastic lawn chair.
17. White bread with mayo and fresh tomatoes. A little salt and pepper to wake it up.
18. Sure you can eat pasta in the summer. Just make it light, like this one with mint and Parmesan.
19. Cold pasta works, too. I’ve made this one with rice noodles, shrimp, and coconut lime dressing a few times.
20. A hot dog with ALL. OF. THE. TOPPINGS.
21. A pizza on the beach.
22. A shot-gunned beer on a dock.
23. A wine slushie or rosé sangria.
24. S’MORES. I’m here for the classics but goddamn, Nutella with bananas or white chocolate with blackberries are some good fancy substitutes.
25. A lobster roll.
26. Figs on a thick slice of toast with ricotta and honey.
27. Slather some romaine hearts in light caesar, throw ’em on the grill for a few minutes just to char the ends.
28. A box of Old Dutch potato chips with whatever french onion dip you grew up on.
29. Some sort of berry crisp.
30. Pesto with farmers’ market basil. Freeze the leftover in muffin paper cups, wrap in tinfoil, and freeze for some mid-winter pasta.
31. Those cheap-ass freeze pops.
32. Or some decadent watermelon popsicles.
33. Clam toast: Brown some sliced garlic with red pepper flakes in olive oil, then add some white wine (to stop the cooking). Add in the chopped clams with their juices and simmer that for a bit before adding butter. Finish with parsley and lemon; throw it on some grilled bread; eat and enjoy.
35. An ice cream sundae with fudge and sprinkles.
36. Grilled peaches (with mascarpone, oooooo giiiiiiiiirl).
37. Smoked chicken wings.
38. A perfectly grilled steak.
39. A rhubarb spritzer.
40. Homemade lemonade.
41. Radishes dipped in butter with a touch of flaky sea salt.
42. Strawberry rhubarb pie.
43. A handful of berries while barefoot in your lawn.
44. A fried fish sandwich.
45. Basil whipped ricotta. You bet that shit’s goin’ on some toast.
47. Panzanella salad.
48. Prosciutto-wrapped fig and melon.
50. A classic BLT.
BY Liz Welle - July 3, 2020
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.