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?