For the past 10,000 years of human existence, life was like one long food ritual. Planting and harvesting informed the seasons, and the slow walk through days was filled with the humble task of cooking, eating and sharing food with family and friends. Still today most of our holidays seem to revolve around food: The Thanksgiving feast, Valentine’s chocolates, Halloween candy and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.
Summer – long a season of play for agrarian communities – was once a time to sit back, relax and ponder the fruits of your labor. Recapture that meaning of the season when you institute these new summer food rituals, which are meant to slow you down and give you a much-needed break to savor the bounty of life.
Ice Cream at Sunset: When the sun begins to sink perilously close to the horizon, grab a bowl and spoon and fill it with your favorite flavor of organic or non-dairy ice cream like strawberry, peaches & cream or pecan praline. Now sit yourself on your front porch stoop, by the window or on your back patio – and savor the cool, creamy ice cream juxtaposed with the blaze of the setting sun. You don’t have to be home to enjoy this ritual. Whenever you see the sun about to drop, pause, and consider how lucky you are to have lived another day. Then enjoy your scoop of rocky-road like it will be the last.
Lobster Bake on the Beach: In Maine, everyone knows there’s only one proper place for a lobster feast – the beach. First, make sure that open fires are permitted on your chosen strip of sand, then get a blaze going for about an hour to produce hot coals. Place a layer of seaweed on the bottom of a #3 galvanized washtub. Add your live lobsters, then several ears of corn, small round potatoes and raw clams aka “steamers,” in that order. Top the whole thing off with another thick layer of seaweed. Pour a bottle of white wine over it all, then place the tub over the hot coals. Cook for about 45 minutes, adding a bit more water every 15 minutes to make sure the seaweed stays moist. Serve with melted butter, salt and pepper and lemon, and remember – plastic bibs are for tourists.
Popsicles by the Pool: Eating by the pool has long been associated with dangerous and life-threatening cramping (proven now to be an urban legend), but popsicles by the pool will pass any worried mother’s test. Either popsicles OR pool time would be a fun summer treat; put them together and you have a party on your hands. You can go for whole fruit bars or, better yet, make a batch of our delicious Veggie Popscicles. For adults, you can add a splash of your favorite alcohol (be sure to keep them clearly labeled and separated from the kids popsicles!).
City S’mores Under the Stars: Even if you don’t have a campfire handy, you can still enjoy one of summer’s greatest pleasures: S’mores. Preheat your oven’s broiler, then place graham cracker halves on a baking sheet about one inch apart (look for organic at your local grocery). Top the crackers with several squares of chocolate such as Dagoba organic; then add two giant marshmallows to each. Broil the whole thing for about 2-5 minutes, watching the entire time. As soon as the marshmallows start to brown, remove the pan from the oven. Assemble the sandwiches, pour a glass of milk and then head outside and look up. It’s city s’mores under the stars.
Homemade Lemonade Break: Fresh-squeezed lemonade is an easy luxury that is quick to make. Squeeze the juice of 8-10 lemons into a gallon jar, straining for seeds. Add 1-2 cups sugar or the equivalent of your preferred alternative sweetener. Add several handfuls of ice and fill with water, tasting to make sure your lemonade’s sweet-sour ratio is just right. Or, you could give our Fizzy Cucumber Lemonade Recipe a try! Here’s the best part. Take the icy jug with some cups to a crew doing work outside – your kids in the garden, the roofers working on your house or the civic team that is busy painting the local theatre. Return later to pick up the cups and bathe in all the smiles.