By Lynda Shadbolt
Published July 17, 2018
One of the many things I love about summer is all the fresh food. It just gives me so much pleasure.
It all starts when we plant our garden and start to eat the fresh produce.
And then the farmers’ market begins and everything just gets more delicious week by week.
Each year at the end of June my husband goes into what I affectionately call “sandwich season.” He takes great pleasure, and a lot of time, in planning and making lunches for the people that are in his group when he is on their annual butterfly and dragonfly counts in Algonquin Park, Haliburton, Sunderland and sometimes beyond.
He takes his sandwich contributions very seriously. He makes scape pesto from our garden, he carefully chooses the best pickles and uses our fresh lettuce. He considers which fillings to use, whether to use a bun or croissant and he is known for taking his special desserts, Mr. Big chocolate bars.
He puts a lot of love into the lunches and I’m sure his fellow bug friends appreciate it after a morning of being out in the hot sun counting and identifying. We have often said that we go on these great adventures to beautiful places so that we can eat really good food.
It’s at this time that my friends and I become “bug widows.” Our husbands are out looking for bugs and we choose to do different things that often involve good music, food and company. We have our own traditions and one of them is that we pride ourselves on creating what we call our annual Canadian Living Dinner. We call them that because we truly believe that our meals have been inspired by the magazine, and could be featured on their cover. We always set a beautiful table, either on the deck or inside (if the bugs are bad) with beautiful flowers. We buy a nice bottle of wine. We have a potluck which this year included a fresh salad made with Ontario berries and lettuce from our garden, tabouli made with fresh mint from the garden, potato salad (a classic always), really good artisan bread and a barbecue chicken from McFadden’s with special spices from Portugal.
We always play good music and this past Saturday we listened to music from Bruce Cockburn’s new CD, Forty Years in the Wilderness. We end our dinners with something delicious for dessert and we are happy bug widows. And our husbands are happy dragonfly and butterfly counters (and yes, the famous moth specialists are coming back this week again). Summer in the Highlands is the perfect place for picnics whether it is in your backyard, on your deck, dock, boat or in the park.
There is something so enjoyable about the simple act of eating delicious food in beautiful places. It feels really special and you don’t have to go far to experience it. It really is the simple things in life that make us happy. We eat three times a day and have snacks on top of that. I hope you are taking advantage of these beautiful long summer days and eating outside as much as you can and enjoying the fresh food as it comes in.