Beating the heat, summertime treats

Published 1:27 pm Thursday, June 27, 2024

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Someone posted a funny ‘meme’ on Facebook yesterday that read, ‘The best part about South Carolina summers is that you know when you get in your car there won’t be anybody hiding in the back seat.’

True, dat.

For Paul and me (especially Paul, as he does all the cooking), the best part of summer is not turning on the stove until the end of September. When you work outside most of the day, every day, the last thing anyone wants is a ‘nice hot meal’ when you’ve finally stopped sweating. As July beckons, the heat and humidity rise to the level described by Harper Lee (which I will paraphrase in case you were unable to read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ before it was banned): ‘Men’s stiff collars wilted before nine in the morning, women bathed before noon, after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.’

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I’m nobody’s teacake, and I can’t imagine having the time to nap and take two baths during the day. However, I tend to beat the heat by offering to do the grocery shopping. There’s nothing altruistic about it. I go to escape the mowing so that I can linger in the frozen food section to recover. Paul, however, doesn’t like it when I do the shopping because while he sensibly brings home staples of bulk food, I tend to bring home candy.

“What’s all this?” he’ll say scornfully, turning the shopping bag upside down to pour out its contents over the kitchen island. “I sent you to the store to get tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella for a caprese salad. What are we supposed to have for dinner?”

“Twizzlers.” I’ll reply, then, meeting his thunderous brow, add, “And guacamole.”


“The guacamole has street corn in it.”

The next sound I hear is muttering and the roar of his car, spitting gravel, as he heads to the grocery store. And that’s fine because it means each night we’ll be having sliced veggies dipped in hummus for dinner with wedges of pineapple and some of his precious smoked Gouda and pita chips. Or a modified Greek salad with kalamata olives, slabs of feta cheese and chopped peppers, red onions and cucumbers. Smoked trout or salmon also share the plate with bunches of chilled grapes.

Dinner over, we will take up our respective seats on the couch to watch the new batch of episodes of ‘Escape to the Country’ on Britbox, regardless of the fact that we live in the country already. As I like to point out, our country doesn’t have a 17th-century pub at the end of the street.

“Do you want dessert?”

“I do not.”

“More for me, then.” I say smugly. And so it goes…

The description of our summer evening may not compare with the prose of Harper Lee, but bless her, Harper never had a Twizzler, either.