A Feast Inspired by the 50 States

Summer is admittedly not my favorite season, but I’m sure everyone who knows me has realized that by now. I’ve complained enough about the heat and humidity, sunburn (thanks a lot, fair skin and a desk job, for making the sun an enemy), allergies, and bees enough in my time to prove that point to anyone.

As with everything, though, there are trade-offs. The end of summer will mean that local, fresh produce will start to trickle away and outdoors farmers markets will close for the season. It’s still possible to eat seasonally in the fall and winter, but to buy outside of a conventional grocery store, options are limited to hearty greens and root vegetables.

And as much as I love kale and rainbow Swiss chard, it’s hard to beat a good Caprese salad. The taste of slightly acidic, fresh heirloom tomatoes nestled together with buratta or mozzarella cheese, drizzled with good olive oil and balsamic, some salt and fresh pepper, and fresh basil… that is pure bliss.

My undying love for Caprese aside, it’s true: I can’t wait for the end of summer so my favorite season, fall, can begin. Before that happens, though, many of us will likely be spending our Labor Day weekend hosting or attending one last party of the season. If you’re looking for ideas for what to serve and are getting tired of hamburgers and hot dogs by now, try a themed menu of favorite foods from across America.

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