Our summer feels like an enormous weight has been lifted off the entire state’s shoulders. It’s a special breed of seasonality, born directly from the long, dark winters that force us inside for the better part of four (or five or six) months. Once June hits, we collectively remember the sun exists — that there are glassy lakes, relaxing patios, and friends with whom you can grill, drink, and soak up some much-needed vitamin D.
Yeah, yeah — our summers are notoriously short. Yet, as Neil says, “We’re very fortunate to live where we do. Our growing season isn’t long, but we have some of the best farmland in the world.” And it’s not just the rural areas that embrace this silver lining; walk down any given block in the city, and you just might see someone growing corn in the small strip of soil between their house and the alleyway.
Fresh cucumbers, root vegetables bigger than your forearm, heirloom tomatoes, dill, basil, and mint — we wanted to capture the diversity of the Midwest’s bounty. For that reason, you won’t find garden-grown ingredients hidden under a mask of dry spices or heavy sauces in the recipes to come. Rather, they’re showcased in their purest form (or at the very least brightened with fresh herbs and splashes of citrus). It’s the cooking equivalent of baring your pasty Minnesotan legs in a pair of salmon-colored short shorts because dammit, you’re going to make the most of this warm weather!