DSLR, Food

The Great Get-together

Before I arrived in Minnesota for college, I knew only two things about the state: it was cold, and there was hockey. I didn’t really like either the cold or hockey. Now that I’ve been in Minnesota for 3 years, I have attended my share of hockey games (narrowly avoiding a puck to the face), I embrace the cold, I can mimick the oohs and yooo betchas, I am no longer bothered by the mosquito (state bird!), I know my way around the Mall of America, and I’ve come to look forward to Labor Day because that means the State Fair.

The Minnesota State Fair is everything you’d expect it to be–big, loud, contains a highly skewed proportion of the obese population, dazzling, overwhelming. Yes, they have everything on a stick. Yes, they can deep-fry anything. Yes, there are baby animals and rides and silly hats. Long lines, corn dogs, gator, farmers, llamas, rodeos. It’s the great get-together.

DSLR, Food, Recipe

summer arnold palmer

Find a really beautiful jar–it could be a Mason jar, or maybe just a jar that used to contain pasta sauce–and fill it with ice cubes. Add lemon juice and honey to taste (I used four tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons honey), and then a tea bag (I used ginger.) Boil water, pour it into the jar. Stir immediately before the water cools so the tea can steep, but be careful not to break the tea bag. Leave the bag in for five minutes, then add more ice cubes, and perhaps a few mint leaves to garnish. This is a refreshing combination of iced tea and lemonade that isn’t too sweet.

DSLR, Food, Musing

the call of the wild

Nature doesn’t wait.

Berries don’t magically save themselves for when it’s most convenient for you to pick them.

Two weeks ago, after sleepy weather and rain, the temperatures rose. It was Friday, and we had plans to go to a friend’s farm to pick strawberries at the beginning of the following week. However, that morning, Julia came downstairs and told me that if we didn’t get out to the farm that day, the berries would succumb to the heat; the opportunity would be lost. We put aside our plans for the day, jumped in the car, and drove out of Northfield, past endless fields, eventually reaching the farm. It was scorching hot–my t-shirt was soaked, my hands and knees itched with bramble scratches, my neck was sticky. But I ate a strawberry breakfast as I picked, amazed at the abundance of little ripe red fruits. My thoughts wandered to the 5$ I had shelled out for a carton of Dole berries just two days earlier. I wished I could pick them all; seeing the rows of berries we would not be able to get to seemed such a waste.

So we came back the next day. It had rained overnight, and already you could taste the difference in the berries–the burst of red seemed more subdued, yet they were still delicious and sweet in a way that store-bought berries will never be able to achieve, no matter how large they are. I will never underestimate the beauty of labor, and the feeling of a truly earned reward after a hard day’s work.

Jars of jam, berry pies, tarts, smoothies, or just by themselves–a movable berry feast.

DSLR, Musing

my summer home

I’m living in a very special house on my campus–once, an older woman lived here who constantly baked cookies, entertained students and community members, and welcomed a capella groups in to practice with the upright piano. She has since passed away, but her legacy lives on, and my college kept her house and its purpose running. A capella groups can be found practicing at all hours of the day, and there is an open kitchen with tea and a constant supply of cookie ingredients. My friend and I are house residents for the summer, and our job is to keep the house running, clean it, garden, and bake for brunches held every Sunday.

DSLR, Musing

islands brygge hooky, aka the boys and girls of summer

I met a group of young Danes on the waterfront on Monday. They were enjoying the weather, drinking beer, playing music. One of them lingered behind, shy and awkward, as the rest stripped off to their swim trunks and jogged around the dock before taking the plunge into the cold, cold water. “It’s a little like a–how do you say? A test of manhood,” they told me.