A Taste Of Summer In America

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01Corn on the Cob20130701

01Corn On The Cob2013070120150706 (R3)

Author and journalist Susan Orleans, learned in second grade how the Pilgrims would have starved had Native Americans not taught them how to grow corn. Since then, she developed a lifelong appreciation of a food staple but it is only in the summer that she craves it.

In this week marking the Fourth of July holiday, five American writers describe seminal summer eating experiences. Funny, emotional, poignant and informative, these five talks describe how no matter how much life changes, eating outdoors in summer and rediscovering a favourite food is what makes summer memories.

Later in the series, Nathan Englander discovers that Wisconsin cheeses are as varied and exquisite as anything he's eaten in France. TC Boyle charts his summers according to his memories of cookouts and each grilling adventure changes according to his stage of life but also his location, as he moves across America. Simon Van Booy compares two kinds of food in a bun, which he buys at two very different New York beaches. The humble Coney Island hotdog is perfect for an urban seaside with fairground attractions but in the sophisticated Hamptons, he prefers an elegant, and much more expensive, lobster roll. It is dessert that Audrey Niffenegger most associates with her summers and most of all, her love of rhubarb and ice cream.

01Corn On The Cob20130701

Author and journalist Susan Orlean, learned in second grade how the Pilgrims would have starved had Native Americans not taught them how to grow corn. Since then, she developed a lifelong appreciation of a food staple but it is only in the summer that she craves it.

In this week marking the Fourth of July holiday, five American writers describe seminal summer eating experiences. Funny, emotional, poignant and informative, these five talks describe how no matter how much life changes, eating outdoors in summer and rediscovering a favourite food is what makes summer memories.

Later in the series, Nathan Englander discovers that Wisconsin cheeses are as varied and exquisite as anything he's eaten in France. T.C Boyle charts his summers according to his memories of cookouts and each grilling adventure changes according to his stage of life but also his location, as he moves across America. Simon Van Booy compares two kinds of food in a bun, which he buys at two very different New York beaches. The humble Coney Island hotdog is perfect for an urban seaside with fairground attractions but in the sophisticated Hamptons, he prefers an elegant, and much more expensive, lobster roll. It is dessert that Audrey Niffenegger most associates with her summers and most of all, her love of rhubarb and ice cream.

02Cheeseheads20130702

02Cheeseheads2013070220150707 (R3)

In the second talk about summer eating in the week that Americans celebrate Independence Day, Nathan Englander samples local cheeses in his adopted town of Madison, Wisconsin.

As a child, New Yorker Nathan Englander's only exposure to cheese in a Kosher home, were plastic wrapped slices that his mum used as a topping for her spaghetti with ketchup. Now that he is temporarily living in the university town of Madison Wisconsin, he is discovering a completely different America where he feels very much the curious outsider.

Here, cheese is taken seriously and especially celebrated when the long winter is over. Locals call themselves Cheeseheads and wear yellow foam hats at sports events and summer games. The variety of cheeses sold by farmers in the street markets are as exotic and delicious as any cheese Nathan has tasted in France. However what he adores most is a homely dish called cheese curds, which are battered and fried. Perhaps that is because deep down, he is bonded to bland flavourless food, despite all his attempts to run away from it.

Later in this series: TC Boyle charts his summers according to memories of cookouts at each stage of his life. Simon Van Booy compares two kinds of food in a bun, at two very different New York beaches, Coney Island and the Hamptons on Long Island. Audrey Niffenegger most associates ice cream with summers but now that she can no longer eat it, she is desperately exploring alternatives and substitutes.

02Cheeseheads20130702

In the second talk about summer eating in the week that Americans celebrate Independence Day, Nathan Englander samples local cheeses in his adopted town of Madison, Wisconsin.

As a child, New Yorker Nathan Englander's only exposure to cheese in a Kosher home, were plastic wrapped slices that his mum used as a topping for her spaghetti with ketchup. Now that he is temporarily living in the university town of Madison Wisconsin, he is discovering a completely different America where he feels very much the curious outsider.

Here, cheese is taken seriously and especially celebrated when the long winter is over. Locals call themselves Cheeseheads and wear yellow foam hats at sports events and summer games. The variety of cheeses sold by farmers in the street markets are as exotic and delicious as any cheese Nathan has tasted in France. However what he adores most is a homely dish called cheese curds, which are battered and fried. Perhaps that is because deep down, he is bonded to bland flavourless food, despite all his attempts to run away from it.

Later in this series: T.C Boyle charts his summers according to memories of cookouts at each stage of his life. Simon Van Booy compares two kinds of food in a bun, at two very different New York beaches, Coney Island and the Hamptons on Long Island. Audrey Niffenegger most associates ice cream with summers but now that she can no longer eat it, she is desperately exploring alternatives and substitutes.

03The Cookout20130703

03The Cookout2013070320150708 (R3)

Five essays by writers about the joys of summer eating experiences across America. In this episode, TC Boyle remembers cookouts in suburban New York, Ohio and wooded California.

TC Boyle prefers the word "cookout" to the southern term "BBQ". For him, eating from the grill is the biggest thrill of the summer. It marks the freedom, the outdoors living, the scratch meals, and the camaraderie of the long hot days.

The cookouts of his childhood were opportunities for neighbourhood kids to get together and escape household rules. In his hippy years in Ohio, meals at the grill were very functional because everyone was so adept at eating this way. Later as a family man in California, he has to defend his meals from bears and rats.

Next up in this series, Simon Van Booy compares two kinds of food in a bun, which he buys at two very different New York beaches - Coney Island and the Hamptons on Long Island. And Audrey Niffenegger's essay is her tale of a passion for ice cream, which can no longer be requited.

03The Cookout20130703

Five essays by writers about the joys of summer eating experiences across America. In this episode, T.C Boyle remembers cookouts in surburban New York, Ohio and wooded California.

T.C Boyle prefers the word "cookout" to the southern term "BBQ". For him, eating from the grill is the biggest thrill of the summer. It marks the freedom, the outdoors living, the scratch meals, and the camaraderie of the long hot days.

The cookouts of his childhood were opportunities for neighbourhood kids to get together and escape household rules. In his hippy years in Ohio, meals at the grill were very functional because everyone was so adept at eating this way. Later as a family man in California, he has to defend his meals from bears and rats.

Next up in this series, Simon Van Booy compares two kinds of food in a bun, which he buys at two very different New York beaches - Coney Island and the Hamptons on Long Island. And Audrey Niffenegger's essay is her tale of a passion for ice cream, which can no longer be requited.

04Two Seaside Buns20130704
04Two Seaside Buns20130704
04Two Seaside Buns2013070420150709 (R3)

Simon Van Booy grew up in Wales and loved sausages and the sausage sandwiches his father made to take on fishing trips. So when he moved to New York, he regularly ate hotdogs, and on the boardwalk at Coney Island, he bought the classic frankfurter in a bun and french fries, jostled by the crowds eating fairground food under neon lights.

But he was at a college on Long Island, in the Hamptons, where the rich come to play and eat fabulously expensive lobster rolls. Though the bun is the exactly the same as the hot dog bun, it is filled with lobster and mayonnaise.

The latest in a series of five essays about summer food in America for Independence Day.

04Two Seaside Buns20130704

04Two Seaside Buns2013070420150709 (R3)

Simon Van Booy grew up in Wales and loved sausages and the sausage sandwiches his father made to take on fishing trips. So when he moved to New York, he regularly ate hotdogs, and on the boardwalk at Coney Island, he bought the classic frankfurter in a bun and french fries, jostled by the crowds eating fairground food under neon lights.

But he was at a college on Long Island, in the Hamptons, where the rich come to play and eat fabulously expensive lobster rolls. Though the bun is the exactly the same as the hot dog bun, it is filled with lobster and mayonnaise.

The latest in a series of five essays about summer food in America for Independence Day.

04Two Seaside Buns20130704

Simon Van Booy grew up in Wales and loved sausages and the sausage sandwiches his father made to take on fishing trips. So when he moved to New York, he regularly ate hotdogs, and on the boardwalk at Coney Island, he bought the classic frankfurter in a bun and french fries, jostled by the crowds eating fairground food under neon lights.

But he was at a college on Long Island, in the Hamptons, where the rich come to play and eat fabulously expensive lobster rolls. Though the bun is the exactly the same as the hot dog bun, it is filled with lobster and mayonnaise.

The latest in a series of five essays about summer food in America for Independence Day.

0520130705

052013070520150710 (R3)

Novelist Audrey Niffenegger celebrates the joys of summer ice cream. But now that she can no longer eat it, what could take its place? Last in a series on summer eating in America.

Growing up in Evanston, Illinois, outside Chicago, Audrey Niffenegger enjoyed summers of wonderful ice cream. Evanston was the headquarters of the Christian Temperance Union, so ice cream was one of the few indulgences. In fact in adult life, a simple scoop of vanilla remained her absolute passion. Until, a fateful day when she developed severe bronchitis and became allergic to milk. Now she is on a mission to replace her summer treat. And what really brings back the joys of summer, comes when she revisits a totally different food - rhubarb pie.

05 LASTHomecoming20130705

Novelist Audrey Niffenegger celebrates the joys of summer ice cream. But now that she can no longer eat it, what could take its place? Last in a series on summer eating in America.

Growing up in Evanston, Illinois, outside Chicago, Audrey Niffenegger enjoyed summers of wonderful ice cream. Evanston was the headquarters of the Christian Temperance Union, so ice cream was one of the few indulgences. In fact in adult life, a simple scoop of vanilla remained her absolute passion. Until, a fateful day when she developed severe bronchitis and became allergic to milk. Now she is on a mission to replace her summer treat. And what really brings back the joys of summer, comes when she revisits a totally different food - rhubarb pie.