Cooking is something I enjoy year-round, but cooking in the summer is something I find especially enjoyable. Living in Northern Minnesota with our short growing season, summer feels like the one time of year in which we have a shot to cook up some really fresh delicious food.
As I think about some of my favorite recipes to prepare during the summer months, my mouth starts to water. And, upon further reflection, I realize a common trend: many of these recipes were gleaned during times of travel, of which I have been fortunate to have quite a few.
There’s poblano chicken which I first enjoyed during a home-stay in Oaxaca, Mexico; a tzatziki and Greek salad, which I could probably eat every day of my life given the opportunity, learned from a cooking class during a semester in Athens; and a homemade peanut sauce recipe I picked up from some expat friends while living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Whenever I prepare any of these meals, nostalgia automatically makes an appearance. Essentially, these recipes have become enduring souvenirs of some incredible travels.
The beauty of recipes is that they can be made again and again and help create new memories, too. Years ago, when I was dating someone who lived in Alabama, I picked up a Cornbread Casserole recipe during a meal we enjoyed with some of his friends. While the relationship ultimately didn’t last, my love of this quintessentially southern side dish has, and I enjoy making it at least once a summer. Each time I do, I make a new memory with it. Unlike purchasing a sweater or taking a photo on vacation, recipes can help us reminisce while also shaping parts of our present and future.
This summer, I have the opportunity to travel overseas for the first time in over ten years. As a traveler at heart, I CAN NOT WAIT. A couple of friends and I are heading to the United Kingdom to enjoy parts of England, Ireland, and Scotland. I can guarantee that at least one of the items in my suitcase upon returning home will be the written ingredients, measurements and cooking instructions of something delicious that I ate along the way.
So, if you’re venturing somewhere fun this summer and you enjoy a lovely meal, whether it’s in Wisconsin, Alaska, Europe, or somewhere in between, I encourage you to do what you can to procure the recipe and try your hand at preparing it yourself. Who knows, ten or twenty years from now the memories you make this summer may still have the opportunity to live on at your kitchen table.
Here is the yummy (and simple) cornbread casserole recipe for you to try for yourself!
1 8oz. container sour cream (could also use plain Greek yogurt)
1 stick butter, softened
1 15oz. can Creamed corn
2 or 3 head of sweet corn. Cut corn off cob and sauté for 2 minutes. (Or, you could use a 15oz can of corn, drained)
1 box of Jiffy Corn Bread mix
2 tsp sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all together and pour into a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or so or until golden brown. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!