Summer, Beautiful Summer

Treats from New York
Treats from New York

Summer has done what it always does in Maine. It comes in a rush. One day it is spring, and all the leaves are new and tender and bright green. Then, seemingly overnight, summer arrives, bringing with it full-size leaves that are deep green, nights so warm the windows can be left open, and the start of the summer flowers. Daisies and lupine by the roadside, tall irises in the garden.

Because the nights are warm, we can now eat supper on the patio, and Clif is perfecting his grilled pizza. (Long-time readers will know that his grilled bread is legendary.) The pizza, of course, is just a variation on the grilled bread, with sauce, cheese, and toppings added after the bread is cooked. However, as simple as this sounds, there is technique—stretching the dough—and timing—leaving the pizza on the grill long enough for the cheese to melt but not so long that the bread will burn. A complicating factor is that our grill’s burners need to be replaced. Right now, Clif doesn’t have much control over the heat, and sometimes the bottom of the pizza is a little charred. However, in the next two weeks, we will be ordering new burners, and then Clif should be ready to wow family and friends with his grilled pizza. I know I’m bragging, but in central Maine, nothing beats Clif’s grilled pizza, even if the bottoms are a little charred.

This weekend, Shannon and Mike (and Holly!) came over for grilled pizza. Mike is quite the pizza hound, so Clif made two. The day was sunny and warm, and we spent most of the time on the patio. The dogs sniffed and played and begged for food while Shannon told us the highlights of her New York trip, where she visited Dee.

There were two standouts on this trip—a food tour of Little Italy and China Town and a play, Of Mice and Men, staring James Franco Chris O’Dowd. My mouth watered as Shannon told us about sampling olives, cannoli, dumplings, and egg rolls. The tour lasted 3 hours, and they ate and walked and ate some more. My kind of event, that’s for sure. The guide also pointed out the Tenement Museum, which Shannon and Dee plan to visit on Shannon’s next trip to New York.

Both Shannon and Dee thought Of Mice and Men was excellent, with James Franco being able to do as well on stage as he does on screen. This is no small feat. Stage acting requires a different set of skills than does acting in front of a camera, which can pick up the smallest nuances that would be lost on stage. In turn, the larger gestures required for a play look absurd in front of camera, and to get a sense of this, you only have to watch moves pre-Marlon Brando.

“There’s nothing like a good play,” Shannon said, and we all agreed as we ate pizza. We also had salad made with greens from Farmer Kev’s garden.

Summer time, summer time. This is just the beginning of many more meals on the patio.