For us Americans, July 4th signals Summer is here to stay for a while, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, and we should start acting accordingly. It’s with a Summer spirit that I picked the (5) things for this week – and if you live in the Southern Hemisphere and are taking sweaters out of mothballs, well, a good book doesn’t require a beach, the grill can be taken out on a crisp Autumn day and you don’t have to blame the heat if you wish to duck into a theater for an afternoon.
Beachwear. Unable to resist a 50% off sale banner, I explored the Boden site and came up with a fine one piece swimsuit and 60s inspired flip-flops that remind me of the ones my mother used to wear when I was a child. In the 60s. Both items purchased for the (half-dozen) times I will be making it to the beach this Summer.
Beach reads. What took me so long to read A.S. Byatt’s “Possession”? I bought it second-hand on impulse a while ago, vaguely remembering a movie by the same name with Gwyneth Paltrow that I must have seen. I also remember the book winning the Booker Prize – so if you are not into the endless lists of best-sellers media is forcing down our throats, here is a Victorian romp with a literary bend. Summing it up as two parallel relationships, unfolding in different centuries, is a bit reductive, although that would be the basic core of the book. A word of warning: you must be a fan of Victorian literature or, in this case, faux literature as the narrative often takes a scholarly approach. But so much fun!
Grilling. Putting chicken on a grill often ends up leaving me with something akin to a leather sole but, as chicken is one of the very few animal proteins I still eat, when I get tired of eating grilled vegetables, I do end up with grilled chicken. I recently experimented with a marinade made up of odds and ends I had at home and it turned out delicious: marinate your chicken for an hour or two in olive oil, some Dijon mustard, coriander or thyme, a dash of cayenne, a bit of sugar and salt. Shake off excess marinade when ready to grill and enjoy the results.
Messing with food. Even the high and mighty can fall into ridiculousness. Which is what happened this week to Melissa Clark of the New York Times’ Food section. On the otherwise excellent cooking app the Times unveiled a few months ago, Ms. Clark offered a recipe for guacamole made with the addition of fresh peas. Was she going for similarly hued foods? Was she trying to save a few bucks on otherwise expensive avocados? But why on earth mess with a perfect dish? Nothing screams Summer like fresh guacamole, chips and a Corona. The backlash on social media made me feel a bit sorry for Ms. Clark, whose intentions were good and, after all, she has to come up with interesting recipes every single week. Olga Khazan, a journalist at the Atlantic, took it upon herself to try the recipe and compare it with the original. This short piece on the results is downright funny.
Movies. Today sees the release of the documentary “Amy”, a portrait on the short life and career and very public death of Amy Winehouse. A bit sombre maybe but, as a diehard fan of THAT voice, one I will be seeing this weekend. The reviews are incredibly strong (an excellent documentary by the same director, Asif Kapadia, on Ayrton Senna was also fabulous). No voice over narration and only footage that was handed over by friends and family. Uncomfortable viewing at times, nobody comes away blameless, including the audience who, not so unwittingly, fuels the need for tabloid fodder.