May Obsessions

Hey y'all!  I'm home and it feels good.  The day after I got back, I was in a strawberry patch, getting sunburned and eating literally sun-warmed berries.  This weekend I went to Wilmington and played in the Atlantic, buried my feet in the sand and ate fresh shrimp and raw oysters.  I am in the middle of a honeymoon period with the South.  Our loving is blossoming in a big way, people.  That's why this month's obsessions are based around Southern things, which, hopefully, you can enjoy anywhere in the country.

1) The Potlikker Papers by John T Edge.  This paragraph beautifully and thoughtfully articulates the tension I've always sensed and loved in the South where I grew up.

"Instead of a myth-veiled cultural monolith, I see the South as an album of snapshots.  I hear the region like it's a jukebox of 45s.  The South I sample is a menu of dishes.  Shaped by a four-century-long call-and-response between masters and enslaved peoples, a back-and-forth between Native Americans and immigrants, the region I know, the place that comes to life in The Potlikker Papers, rejects easy encapsulation."

Go buy this book.

2) Tank and the Bangas. I saw Tank and the Bangas play at Artsplosure a few weeks ago in Raleigh.  They're an amazing group from New Orleans who won the Tiny Desk Contest from NPR, which is how I found out about them through a friend.  They make music that is unlike anything I've ever heard - some combination of rap, slam poetry, show tunes and pop.  I recommend giving them a listen if you need something joyful in your life.

3) Summer Crudites with Bagna Cauda.  I'm planning a multi-course, many hour lunch for an early Father's Day celebration that will include a lot of wine, pasta lamb and cheese (recipes and planning guide to come).  I'm super excited about this recipe because it turns out I mostly want to eat exclusively raw vegetables this week and for the rest of the summer.

4) My favorite kind of summer salad.  Just over a year ago I posted this recipe for steak and farro salad and ruminated on whether or not I know how to live in the moment.  The answer (then and now) is:  sometimes.  Currently I'm not living in the moment because I'm thinking about eating this salad.  Yum.

5) Joy the Baker's summer bucket list.  I love a list, and I love summer, so I love a good summer bucket list.  Here's an outtake of mine: 

  • Go to a baseball game and drink a beer and eat a hot dog.
  • Kayak (or maybe stand-up paddle board?) on Jordan Lake
  • Eat pizza at my local pool (a holdover tradition from childhood summers, I guess?)
  • Go to the farmer's market at least once a week, just to watch the produce change.  It makes me feel connected to the world.
  • Make grilled pizza

What's on your summer bucket list?