Summertime living and food preparation can be summarized in one word: simplicity. It is the time of year when meals can be thrown together in minutes and then eaten outdoors; utensils and shoes are optional.
The end of August is always a bittersweet time for me. I love the Fall but just cannot seem to let go of Summer. It is in these last weeks that I try to live life to the absolute fullest. Day after day is spent at the beach or some other place of outdoor recreation and responsibilities seem to go by the wayside. Laundry piles up for days upon days. Once clothing is cleaned, it rarely makes it to a drawer or a closet. We will spend these last days living out of the laundry baskets as if we were tourists and the baskets were our shared suitcases. During the very last of the final days we will probably end up wearing clothing directly from the clothesline and dryer. Meals will be assembled grill-side, if meals are prepared at all. Some nights a block of cheese with some crusty bread, a bottle of wine and some sliced fresh plums constitute dinner. We will sit on the porch listening to the chattering of mating insects, who are also trying to make the most of every last warm weather moment, while we further avoid the laundry and other obligations of greater importance.
Of course, summer does not officially end for three more weeks or so. But once yellow buses are seen shuttling children back and forth to school, the magic of summer quietly gives way to resumed responsibility and unsympathetically shorter days. Soon, the sounds and smells change. Instead of the clicking of the igniter switch on the grill there will be fluttering of rolling pins, the slicing of knives upon apples, the oven door creaking from lack of use. Where the smell of charcoal and meat, just days before, had filled the air all the way up and down the street, now the somewhat less traveled scents of cinnamon and sage will emerge.
There will still be a splash or two in the pool and perhaps one more visit to the beach. Then, as if the crickets have been signaling for us to do so, we will say, "Mmmm, soup sounds like a good idea for dinner tonight." Which is a good thing, because while it simmers the afternoon away on the stove, I'll have some laundry to attend to. ~
Insalata Caprese with Heirloom Tomatoes