The Waning Days of Summer

It might be hard to believe, but August is upon us.  The high points of summer — Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, St. Ignatius Day, the family reunion where everyone was forced to wear matching t-shirts and pretend to love it — are all behind us.  Labor Day and the official end of summer are lumbering towards us.  In between, all we’ve got are the dog days, a few weeks of hot, muggy weather and nary a festival in sight.  How do we deal with it?

Me?  Well, I’ve decided to start an all-popsicle diet. Ahhh, so cool and refreshing.  However, on the off-chance that it isn’t for everybody, there are lots of ways to stay cool and enjoy the waning days of summer.  (And, once the sugar high wears off, I’ll probably be joining you.)

Here’s a start: follow the advice of “Amateur Gourmet” Adam Roberts and put together a Summer Feast:

It’s August and you have no excuse: tomatoes and peaches are calling. Not the ones with little stickers on them at the supermarket, but the superior, positively bursting-with-summer ones you’ll find at your farmer’s market. “Ugh, but do I really have to go to a farmer’s market?” If that’s you, listen up: yes you do. And I’m going to walk you through it, tell you what to buy, in order to make an incredible Summer Farmer’s Market Feast for six. Are you ready? Let’s do it.

Lisa Simpson gazpacho

“I made enough gazpacho for all!”

One of the best parts of summer has to be the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables.  So take advantage of this and find a good Farmer’s Market. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has a search engine to find one near you. (Your tax dollars at work!) If that doesn’t work, try a search with LocalHarvest. And, once you’ve gone marketing, there’s so much more you can do.  Perhaps try a simple, elegant gazpacho. (A favorite of noted vegetarian Lisa Simpson.)  Accompany your feast with some simple drinks, perhaps a classic gin and tonic with a summery twist, or something without alcohol. Sparkling tamarind tea, anyone?  And with summer sunbathing season practically finished, you can’t forget dessert. (Unless you’re still coming down from those popsicles…) And if you’re really stuck for something to do with the basketful of produce you just brought home from the farmer’s market, just check out this handy-dandy Farmer’s Market Recipe Generator.

Summer, at least in up here in the United States, may be quickly coming to a close, but it isn’t over yet.  And while, even for those not on a school calendar, we ready ourselves a mental shift as we head into the autumnal days of September, fall semester, and beyond, there are still plenty of opportunities–and plenty of ways–to celebrate.

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Cover photo courtesy Flickr user Yamanize

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