Isn't it interesting how food can evoke such vivid memories? The taste, the color, the smell, the texture; it all brings us back to particular places and specific times in our lives. For me, summertime ushers in especially intense memories as seasonal fruits and vegetables take me back to my childhood growing up in the green, green forests of the East Coast, surrounded by my Mom's gardens and enjoying homegrown fruits and vegetables every day.
It's something as simple as the smell of rosemary that reminds me of the red skinned potato salad we would get from the small grocer down the street from our house, or corn on the cob that remind me of my Mom and Dad, sitting on the steps shucking corn- the silky fibers and rough, snappy green husks going everywhere. It's the snap of the green beans into the colander, the smell of red, ripe tomatoes on the vine, or even Ball Park franks, Heinz ketchup and Gulden's spicy mustard that remind me of nightly barbeques in our backyard.
Summer is a lot of things, but to me it's always that first trip up to Carvel, gelatis from Rita's, or the ice cream truck at the park. It's the way orange and cream anything instantly transports me to the boardwalk, seagulls squawking and swooping in the distance, the ocean sounds mixing with laughing children, the smell of sunscreen and salt hanging in the air, all while enjoying a special treat- an orange and cream ice cream cone from Kohr's. The beach will always remind me of Gouda cheese and crackers, peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread, and how amazing crisp green grapes can taste under a big umbrella, on a brightly-colored towel. Summertime is slurpees from 7-11, sub sandwiches from Wawa, and berries. Always berries, every summer, and the first ripe raspberries of the season will always evoke memories of eating them by the handful out of my parents' refrigerator.
And so I think a lot about what we feed Henry and the experiences we give him through food. I look forward to having our own big garden he can help me plant and maintain. I am excited to shuck corn with him, pick our own berries from the bush in our backyard, and to enjoy experiences from the things we prepare and eat every single day, be it making homemade pizza in the kitchen, barbequing tofu kebabs out back, or taking a family trip up to Dairy Queen when the temperatures start to rise. Being a parent is great for a million reasons, but one of my favorites in the ability to make your child's environment as beautiful and magical as possible, in so many different ways. For me, summertime has always been a time full of adventure and enjoyment, filled with sweet treats and healthy, whole foods. And so I look forward to giving our boy as many of those ice cream-cone and fresh fruit-filled summers as I can, making memories from the simple, everyday things that somehow turn special in the shine of the summer sun.