Summertime Series: A Virtual Four-Course Meal

Summer in Houston is hot.

And in a bad way.

By mid-March, the air feels so close you could touch it. A man’s heavily starched shirt collar wilts faster than a woman’s neatly coiffed hair-do. Muggy at best, unbearable the rest of the time Summer in Houston is the antithesis of its oft romanticized, idyllic portrait.  Streets are bare. Playgrounds are empty. Swimming pools are silent. The sound of A/C units churning echoes eerily throughout suburban neighborhoods.

But wait. Didn’t 2.6 million people show up for Rodeo Houston last month… a primarily outdoor event? That’s just about half the population of Houston. Two reasons for this, really: food & entertainment. But not just any food. World Championship Grillmeisters, armed with their best cuts and secret sauces. And not just any entertainment. Rodeo happens to be the State Sport of Texas (naturally) , and in a place where everything is bigger… what better venue than Reliant Arena for the Nation’s best riders to test their mettle? Add a star-studded list of  music superstars, and you end up with two expectations which must be met and (if possible) exceeded before any self-respecting Houstonian would brave the Summer swelter:

  1. Undeniably great food
  2. World-class entertainment

Miraculously, this blog post sprung from dirt I found myself sitting in, waiting for Tim McGraw to take the stage. If I were writing a noob’s guide to Houston, “things to do in Summertime” would really only have four subheadings. Nothing else is worth it, really.  Like peanut butter and chocolate, these pairings were meant to be and are always met with  unanimous approval when considered for forays into the outdoors:

  • Crawfish & Zydeco
  • Barbecue & Rodeo
  • Bratwursts & Baseball
  • Burgers & Beaches

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Houston happens to sit at the perfect crossroad of American, Creole, and Texas cultures required to sample each pairing. Over the next four days, we’ll go on a virtual tour of Summer festivals and sample a few classic recipes (fried ‘gator, anyone?).  Mostly to satiate my cravings for Summer to get here already (Spring is such a tease), but I hope it also serves as a guidepost if you ever find yourself stranded in Houston during the season affectionately known as “Hell.”


photo by Lisette

First Post: Two things…

… but not the two you’d think.

1) It’s tax season. Which means one of two things: you’re either broke or have just come into some money.

2) We’re well into 2011 and those New Year’s resolutions are looking more and more like my grandpa’s potato fields. I heard a radio ad for a local church last week, actually, that tugged at these very heartstrings. “You wanted to be a better person, to seek God, and be happy. It’s almost March. What happened?”

Given that both my parents work long hours w/ teams in foreign countries and my sister has more extracurriculars than a set of triplets, the role of House Elf lands on me. This includes but is not limited to cooking, cleaning, running errands, and general servitude. I secretly love the domesticity of it all.

Each Sunday night, I perch at my kitchen bar and jot down a rough menu for the week while chatting with my dad about the Sabbath Day’s proceedings. It’s always a lively conversation and reminds me what a beautiful pair (pear?) good food and the Gospel make.

So, tonight, let’s take your two things, add them to my two things (preparing for a mission and being a more consistent blogger), and see what we get.

I promise to blog at least twice a week: once about something from the reading list and once about the week’s latest culinary adventure.

And you promise to set aside some of your tax money to pick up a book or a new ingredient at least once a month.