It’s the middle of summer — the days are hot and humid and stretch on for hours, seemingly endless, until finally they melt into those high summer apricot and lavender skies — and I can’t get enough of it.
I love the feel of the sun, the smell of the air and the water; the coconutty smell of sunscreen. I love ducking into the air-conditioned bus to escape the muggy, oppressive heat of Manhattan and heading home for weekends of beaches and hammocks and local wine. But perhaps more than anything, I cherish this season that brings wave after wave of lush new produce. Each week, it seems, a new crop sweeps into the farmer’s markets; a new jewel-toned addition to the summer palette of bright yellows and reds, deep purples and creamy greens.
Now I don’t like to play favorites with my vegetables, but there is something magical about the arrival of sweet corn, those perfect little rows of velvety pearls that turn buttercup yellow with a little heat and pop in sweet little bursts between your teeth…. Um, wow.
So when last week I received a report from my darling mother that the corn was in early this year — that it was already flooding farmstands by the bushelfull, well in time for Fourth of July festivities — I was thrilled. And I wasn’t the only one. I could tell from the tone in which my mother gave this report that she was pleased as punch with herself for being the bearer of such wonderful news.
In the days leading up to the holiday weekend, visions of sweet corn chowder danced through my head, distracting me from paying attention to things like my job, conversations, crosswalk signs…. I simply could not WAIT to get home and into a big kitchen with a huge armload of corn and some fresh milk.
There was, however, just one problem: it was really, really hot last weekend. Really hot. Like, record-breaking, haven’t-seen-temperatures-like-these-since-nineteen-ninety-nine hot. And despite the fact that my parents are far less stingy with the air conditioning than I am, the thought of simmering a chowder on the stovetop for a few hours sounded like the very last thing I wanted to be doing.
Have I ever told you that I am a firm believer that when life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade? Or lemon bars (and share them with me)? Or that when one door closes, another one opens? Because I am a firm believer in both of those things.
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