Can you hear that? That's the sound of farmers heading to their fields, tilling the earth in anticipation of another planting season. That's the smell of smoking charcoal, and the sight of a long sunset painting purple and blood-orange swaths across the sky.
This VR technology sure has come a long way since the Virtual Boy! You're too busy sitting on the couch, sucking down high-fructose corn syrup and cricket protein bars, to reflect on the consequences of this silicon-fueled "progress." Fascist! Load up the next program and stay tuned for a lifelike experience of what "foods" used to be in "season" in "May."
God made phallic food for a reason: to ruin that zucchini photo forever.
Zucchini is the quintessential summer vegetable, high in vitamin C, pretty inoffensive, and malleable under almost any cooking technique -- since it's May, you'll be grilling it. BUT THEN. You'll blend it up with some vegetable or chicken stock, maybe a poblano pepper, some fresh thyme and basil, chill, and you'll have a baller-ass zucchini gazpacho or whatever you want to call this thing.
There was a time when lounging on your chaise and lazily eating strawberries was the peak of indulgent pleasure, but then free streaming 3D porn came along. Still, perhaps there are a few of your brain's dopamine receptors that haven't been fried to a crisp; tap into them and eat a pint of raw strawberries when they're slightly overripe, and you'll load up on antioxidants. You might even catch a glimpse of your former innocence, if you're lucky/imaginative!
There will come a day when you may be crouched in the woods, retreating from the now-flooded city you used to inhabit, and you may see a flock of ducks on a tranquil pond, and you may tell yourself, "This is not my beautiful wife!" because you're an insane person who talks to ducks now.
Until then, you can walk into most grocery stores and buy a dead and chilled duck for your consumption. What are the benefits of eating duck? It's not a cow or a pig! Those animals take up too much room/food/water, so get over your childhood attachment to Daffy and sear up some duck breast, maybe with a lovely fig sauce.
Or a lovely apricot sauce! You know it's summer when stone fruits start magically appearing in your fridge, delivered by anonymous underpaid workers while you curate your 1970s ceramic collectibles blog and promise yourself you're going to get some sun and really take advantage of the outdoors this year. What a joke! You have a brand to build.
At least you have fresh apricots -- don't go with that fruit-cup version you remember because you're a hip '90s kid -- to fuel your online presence. Here's a pro tip: apricots, which are good for a lot of things, should NOT be used to treat cancer. You might think this goes without saying, but apparently not.
Try to suppress your flashbacks to the dark days of winter, when only roots could sustain you. It's warm now, and you're not confined to eating bulbs of slightly varying colors and textures. Take a few deep breaths and turn those beet greens into a fun little slaw with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and, hell, strawberries, too. THIS IS FUN, OK?! You're going to eat healthier, dammit, summer's right around the corner and you're a year older and you need to stop complaining about eating your veggies because you're going to be consuming a lot of your calories through day drinking in the months ahead.
James Joyce once wrote an entire story about a guy suffering from general malaise who eats peas for supper, and while you have no time or desire to read more than 300 words in a single sitting, you now have enough information to make a sly reference to "Two Gallants" when you serve a fresh pea salad garnished with dill, parsley, and condescension.
In addition to the general health-promoting qualities of green foods, vegetable consumption may just mean you have strong equality-universalist values! See, that condescension is a necessary ingredient. Since they're usually frozen, canned, or split into a soup, fresh peas often go overlooked -- eat them in the aforementioned salad and find the nearest screen to distract yourself from life's infinite minor disappointments.
If you're one of those people who categorically refuses to eat seafood, take one look at this monster and you'll realize that humans have a duty to hunt and devour the flesh of these beasts of the deep. Cod is one of the few larger fish that's actually sustainable, and it doesn't have a strong flavor -- fry it, bake it, throw it on the grill, it'll taste like whatever spices you put on it.
Let's ignore for a moment how disastrous your cod-duck-strawberry-corn-beet-green poops will be in May, and appreciate once again the fact that we're officially free of winter's dismal roots. The real corn season won't start until later in the summer, but patience is a virtue best left in the dial-up age, so grab the first ears (of corn) you see at the farmers market.
The name of the game this summer is: the Olympics. No! It's: fresh and simple! Keep things fresh and simple, and you'll get to enjoy grilled corn on the cob with butter, salt, and pepper. What more do you need?
Call them brown shrimp if you have no sense of verbal exoticism, but screaming, "Ooooooo, baby, we're fryin' up some scrimps!" will transport you to the bayou, where you can make an in-app jambalaya purchase for $4.99. Totally worth it.
Scrimps, like most smaller seafood, are fairly sustainable and would be a perfect summer choice were it not for the fact that trawlers have a nasty habit of catching sea turtles along with all those tasty scrimps. It would've been nice had that aspect of scrimp-fishing been more accurately represented during Lieutenant Dan's come-to-Jesus moment out on the water. Stew up some jambalaya and remember the good times.
Here's a fun one! Known by a few freaks as the "Prince of Wild Greens," lambsquarters is one of those foods that's popular among foragers, and will be a staple of everyone's diet once there's no more room to grow GMO wheat and corn. Lambsquarters grows so readily that it's considered a weed, but it also happens to be obscenely nutritious, with more protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A than spinach. You can get your hands on lambsquarters at some local markets, or you can be ambitious and forage for it yourself. However you get it, you can use it as a spinach substitute in most dishes; it's perfect lightly steamed.
Memorial Day caps off the end of May and signals the official start of summer, and what better way to honor those who have served than by devouring mystery meat covered with mass-produced tomato paste from the food empire tied to the current Secretary of State? What better way to punish your American digestive system than by grilling up some cod and wieners, and eating until you can't move? U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
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Anthony Schneck is the Health editor at Thrillist, waging war on monsters of the deep all summer long. Follow him: @AnthonySchneck.