Cool foods for hot months
June marks the beginning of summer with long days, no school, family vacations and fresh cuisine. It’s the season for colorful vegetables, among which squash emerges as a delicious, locally available option packed with numerous medicinal benefits and rich flavor. Read about how to buy, plant, tend and cook this perennial favorite in Helen Dennis’ “mini” on page 22.
Summer is also a wonderful time to bring more of the tropics into your kitchen. On page 28, explore Susan Slack’s Jamaican recipes for zesty flavors of the Caribbean that will brighten your supper plate this season. And for the perfect setting to enjoy these culinary delights, what better place than outside with crickets chirping as dusk envelops the sky? Find out how locals are taking their cooking en plein air and view some of Columbia’s most beautiful outdoor kitchens on page 54.
One of my favorite childhood summer memories is of making ice cream as a family on the front porch. We would take turns pouring the rock salt over the ice and churning the canister within the bucket, turns which corresponded to reverse birth-order as the ice cream thickened, hardened and became more difficult to churn throughout the 30-minute ordeal!
When the ice cream was finally finished, we pulled out the dasher and raced onto the lawn to keep from dripping ice cream on the porch. My two sisters and I would gather around the ice cream laden dasher, licking it like a bunch of puppies as it dripped into the grass and onto our bare toes. Meanwhile, Mom served our individual portions out of the canister into bowls. We then sat in rocking chairs under the hum of overhead fans and tried to strike the delicate balance of eating the ice cream quickly enough so that it didn’t return to its former liquid state in the sweltering summer heat, but not so hastily as to give ourselves a brain freeze.
Ice cream dates back to 16th century England, so it should come as no surprise that making the refreshing delicacy in the summer was a tradition quickly incorporated in the warmer New World. Records show that during the summer of 1790, President George Washington spent approximately $200 on this favorite treat. On page 48, read Melissa Andrews’ article for recipes and instructions on how you can implement the ritual of churning Southern ice cream into your family afternoons this summer. I highly recommend you experiment and even come up with your personalized, unique flavor variations.
And don’t forget to lick the dasher!