This used to be sky above Germany, for about the last six weeks or so. Grey, grey, grey. Lots of rain. People undigging woolly sweaters from their wardrobes and wearing them when it got just too cold for cotton. I’m not kidding!
It’s only since last Sunday that the skies have cleared up and it’s nice and sunny. I can’t tell you how much I’d been missing the sunshine!
It’s probably human nature to long for what we don’t have right now: Some cool winds and rainshowers in a heat wave, and blue skies and warm sunshine during a cold spell. Continue reading
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFvJgjmW1nQ[/youtube]This must be the coldest, wettest, dreariest summer in history in Central Europe. The gardens are lush and green, weeds are sprouting, and the slugs are having a field day. Warm days are a rarity, and most people put on a coat when they leave the house – preferably a raincoat. There was … it must have been May, or early June … a time when it was actually summer. When I was able to wear my nice new summer clothes, and the blue sandals I’d gotten. When there was a point in applying sunscreen.
My husband has requested me not to call this season “early autumn”. He insists on “late summer”. As you can see, he is an optimist. We are planning to have a barbecue tomorrow … at our friends’ house, where there is a roofed patio where the barbecue can be positioned. Wish us the best for at least a few rays of sunshine!
– Rike Horstmann
Do you wear a hat in the summer? Now I’m not talking about one of the glorious fascinators that we saw at the Royal Wedding. I’m referring to a basic summer hat designed to protect you from the sun.
While I dutifully slather on sunscreen several times a day, I never think to put on a hat in the summer. Well, to be honest, I don’t even own any summer hats. An offhand remark by a friend has me thinking that it’s time to rectify that fashion deficit.
Finally, it appears as if summer (or a belated spring) has arrived in much of the northern United States. Seemingly within minutes of the warmup, one of the major rites of summer occurred: all of the local restaurants opened up their outdoor dining areas. A few lucky restaurants actually have rooftop dining or a secluded back area. But for most of the restaurants, outdoor dining means a few tables placed between the sidewalk and the street.
And no, even though I am an avid fan of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mysteries, I’m not talking about whiskey and soda. For me, during this unbelievably hot and humid summer, my refreshing beverage of choice has been iced tea (or do you say ice tea?).
While I still begin my days with a mug or two of hot tea, I quickly switch over to glass after glass of iced tea. Most of the summer, I’ve felt as if I’m fighting off dehydration, it’s been that hot. I do drink some straight water, but the majority of the time, it’s just iced tea.
My iced tea of choice is pure, unadulterated black iced tea. No lemon, and definitely no sweetener of any kind. Continue reading
It’s the time of the year again that shopping malls and boutiques become a danger zone. I avoid them as much as I can. I keep telling myself: Yes, many lovely pieces of clothing are dramatically reduced, but I’ve bought enough clothes this summer, thankyouverymuch. If I buy any more, I won’t be able to do them justice this year, especially since there is only another month or two of warm summer weather left. And for next year I will want to buy some items that are of the latest fashion then. Continue reading
I’m a huge fan of almost every summer fruit, and have been enjoying a great many of them this summer. A few weeks back Lynn posted about her experiences with blackberries. I don’t usually eat blackberries plain, but have mixed them with strawberries and raspberries this summer and found them to be delightful. However, the star of my summer fruit eating this year has been watermelon.
I don’t mean those humongous, rather mealy and tasteless long watermelons I usually find in the grocery stores. I mean the small, almost round watermelons that when cut open, reveal firm, red, and extremely tasteful fruit.
I haven’t been doing anything particularly creative with watermelon. I just cut it into cubes, and eat it straight. No embelishments. No sauces. Just pure watermelon.
The minute the weather turns hot and humid, my food cravings change. I no longer want homemade soups and stews, and the comforting carb-filled foods of winter. I want salads!
Without a doubt, my very favorite, go-to summer salad is a Greek peasant salad, or Horiatiki. Unlike the Greek salad more frequently found in restaurants here in the U.S., the peasant salad has no lettuce. It’s just chunks of feta, tomatoes, and cucumbers (absolutely fresh and crispy are a must for me), and Greek olives. Continue reading
Spring, autumn, winter, all of them have their special joys for me. I love seeing the new growth of flowers, the changing colors, the stark beauty of bare trees and snow. However, I have to confess that summer is a tough one. Maybe it’s the red hair and pale skin with affinity to 10,000 SPF sunblock that does it, but I’ve always had a hard time with summer. I just wilt in the heat. As much as I love going to the beach, the sea and the breeze just aren’t enough to save me.
Summer heat makes me wilt quickly, but even if it is hot as blazes, this time of year is the perfect time to hit the farmers’ market. I’m one of those folks who shows up at the local market early in the season when the first pale mixed greens are coming out, and I’m one of the last to leave in winter (here in VA, we can get fresh produce almost up until Christmas).