Here in Boston we’ve had some very gray days with cooler than normal temperatures. As I write this it’s pouring buckets of rain outside (sort of beautiful heavy, warm rain… but still). The weather reminds me that we are already halfway through this magical season. I’m worried that what I intended to be idle, restorative time has really just been wasteful. I haven’t hiked, swam, found enough obscure ice cream stands, kept up with the blog! Ah! My attempts to slow down have, at times, just produced more anxiety. Either I need to be medicated or I need to eat…
"Comfort food" is not something we usually associate with summertime, but there’s certainly an element of that satisfaction with the familiar in cook-out staples like grilled hot dogs and mayo salads. Summer comfort foods assure us that even as things change they also stay the same.
With all this nostalgia in the air, no wonder summer is such a food-centric season. There’s the bounty of farmer’s markets in full swing, yes, but it goes deeper than that. In many ways late summer resembles late winter in that we are restless. We crave connection- to others, our environment, and the past. We travel, spend more time with friends or family, and eat. Seasons are not just tasted, they are felt.
For example, every August since I’ve left home there’ll come a Saturday afternoon when I make my mother’s pasta salad: thinly-sliced celery, canned black olives, the cheapest bottle of Italian dressing around, and lite mayo. It reminds me of the countless summer picnics and lake trips and long afternoons we spent around a bowl of that same pasta salad. “Don’t worry," I can hear my mom say, “Summer will come again."
Do you think summer-time comfort food exists? What is it for you?