So now that summer has well and truly begun, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite finds for the perfect summer – in and out of the kitchen. These are just some ideas about personal favorites – no one has asked me to promote any products.
Nothing says summer quite like ice cream, so I highly recommend a simple ice cream maker. I have this Cuisinart version and think it’s perfect, and not terribly expensive. It’s a lot of fun to invent your own flavors, especially with kids, but if you need a little help, try David Lebovitz’s Perfect Scoop book. David’s a hoot and he really knows his stuff. Now that you’ve mastered the ice cream, you’ll want to share it with your friends. And we all like pretty packaging, right? Sweet Bliss sells great containers you can decorate yourself – and in quantities that make sense. I love these! But if baking is more your thing, Bake It Pretty has amazing decorative cupcake papers and lots more fun items to jazz up your summer celebrations. And to really add personality to the food gifts you share with friends, check out Felix Doolittle’s beautiful Chef’s Medallions and Baker’s Labels, amazing personalized stickers with foodie themes.
Summer also means picnics and outdoor eating, and as I may be all about easy, but I want to be good to the earth too. These Bambu plates are made from sustainable bamboo, are organic and disposable and look good to boot. They also make serving pieces and cutlery. You can get cups, plates and cutlery from Preserve that are made from recycled material and are recyclable. They come in fun colors as well. I use them all the time. And to tote all those picnic supplies, or cut a dashing figure at the farmer’s market, pick up a snazzy oilcloth bag from Beth’s Market Bags. I carry the large white bag with red graphic apples, and it’s easy to wipe up any spilled milk or leaking berries.
So maybe you are interested in all things food, but don’t want to spend too much time in the hot kitchen. Some cookbooks are great reads, like Martha Foose’s Screen Doors and Sweet Tea. You’ll love reading it, but it’s likely to get you in the kitchen as well. But for just a good read, Julia Stuart’s The Matchmaker of Perigord is full of food and characters and is just delightful. It’s not as light and charming but The Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris intersperses a haunting tale with the importance of food. But if you are looking for summer projects, you’ll learn more from Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cookery than you can imagine. Or gather your epicurean friends around for a game of Foodie Fight trivia. And if you just want escape the heat and have a good laugh, watch the British series Chef with Lenny Henry.
Summer isn’t all about food. I do actually leave the kitchen occasionally. And when I do, I love to wear these jazzy SwitchFlops with interchangeable straps. And since slaving over a hot stove doesn’t give me a tan, a little bit of Stila one-step bronzer helps create a summer fresh look. When I do get outside, I add a little Dermologica Solar Defense Booster to my moisturizer for protection. If travel is on your agenda, this Vera Bradley transparent pouch is TSA approved for your carry-on, and cuter than a Ziploc! And I would love to be spotted by the pool with one of these adorable canvas totes from Iomoi. And keep all your travel notes, memories and keepsakes in one of these practical Moleskine city notebooks.