I love the fourth of July – it’s my favorite holiday. Especially those summer foods.
Growing up in northeastern Indiana, I lived for the warm air, an incredibly exhausting lake weekend, a bright fireworks show, and most of all — county fairs. I still love those things. And I admit, I love to watch a two-day makeshift-team baseball tournament, peruse the vegetable show to find the biggest squash or tomato, and eat my way through the fried food section of each fair.
Personally, my favorite treat was one of the simplest – the Elephant Ear. Much to my father’s chagrin (he loved a pork tenderloin sandwich himself), the delight I felt when I saw that big food truck with the red or blue/pink awning was powerful. And the fried dough doused in a cinnamon and sugar mix – still exhilarates me! How can you not love it?
To me, it’s not just the elephant ears that define summer. A lemon shake up, the all-American apple pie, watermelon, fresh farm-grown blueberries, juicy sweet corn, fried cheese curds, baby back ribs, sweet tea with lemon and mint, rhubarb crisp, and so many more automatically remind me – and many others – of summer.
Looking for some inspiration? We asked consumers what flavors they associated with summer foods and I felt very much the same, although my fried favorites didn’t make the cut here.
Shaking Things Up
But what’s great about summer today is we’re in a bit of a mash-up culture. We’re twisting the old favorites and making them new again: an orange creamsicle funnel cake, ube throwing a purple theme in to my ice cream, a bourbon chicken mac and cheese, mango in colas, bourbon whiskey potato chips, and hibiscus sweet tea with mint.
In today’s world, so many things pull on our time and takeover our brainpower. There are times when I just need a favorite food: my mother’s rhubarb cobbler or my dad’s bean and bacon soup. But with my millennial palate, I’m twisting those favorites now to suit my desire for a next-level foodie experience and moment of escape from my time-crunched schedule.
Okay, let’s take a moment to dream about these deliciously decadent foods… What’s that? Yeah, my mouth is watering too…