This past weekend we observed the holiday by doing one Memorial Day-related activity (listening to an interview on NPR with a father about his son who was killed in action in Iraq; it’s a great and touching interview, you can check it out HERE); and then attending several other events and participating in activities that for our little family represented the unofficial start of the summer season. Here is a sampling:
1. Untangling the slip ‘n slide sprinkler system and then dragging it to the center of the lawn in 90 degree heat before realizing (remembering in a geyser of high pressure water) that the spout connecting the slide to the hose actually burst last summer (“so that’s why it was buried under a bag of leaves in the garage…”). Because the little people in their bathing suits had their hearts now set on slipping ‘n sliding, I then jerry rig a mending job by duct taping the spout to the hose. Water fun ensues.
2. Remembering how to use the charcoal grill again without charring everything that comes into contact with it or producing a fireball that can be seen two towns away. Also having first summer-related marital spat of the season when my husband refuses to follow any of my very useful instructions in regards to grilling: oiling grill, cleaning grill, heat management, etc.
3. Going to the town pool for the first time and managing to avoid the snack bar and its many temptations, including all of the fried items on the menu (actually I think everything on the menu is fried) that are prepared by a coterie of untrustworthy looking adolescent boys. Although I was craving a Toasted Almond popsicle…next time.
4. Attending a beautiful wedding in Brooklyn and getting served a pink bubbly cocktail while the bride and groom took their post-ceremony photos (great idea); and then at the intimate dinner reception, a delicious pistachio wedding cake…like a carrot cake but better.
5. Making the first homemade pesto of the season!
6. Go to a neighborhood picnic in a local nature park and bring a pan bagnat (sandwich with tuna, basil, tomatoes, capers, olives, and hard boiled egg) that I let sit under a cast iron skillet holding an enormous watermelon so that it could become pressed while we were at the pool. Serve the sandwich on a blanket and chase away the ants.
7. And lastly: Go to a summer movie! Specifically Kung Fu Panda 2, which was so fun and sweet and amazing to look at (I’m a complete sucker for a quality animated movie). Popcorn and Milk Duds were consumed, and even better, food was a major theme of the movie (besides the themes of: firearms are bad, we all need to find inner peace, and peacocks can be nasty). I will not spoil the plot but from the beginning of the movie—when Po is stuffing dumplings into his furry maw—to the end—when his adopted goose father wraps it all up with a discussion over who will make dinner—the movie has many wonderful food touches, which leads me to believe that someone involved with its creation is a freak for the culinary.
Although it has arrived like a 90 degree locomotive, I’m so glad summer is here. And I’d love to know: what were some of your summer seasonal food firsts this weekend?