11 Foods You'd Be Stupid Not to Eat in July
There's never been a better time to be American! Let's just leave that statement unexamined, shall we?
Because unexamining is what Americans do best. The Examiner? That was BRITISH -- this guy's a no-good Tory lobsterback, somebody tar and feather the traitor, pronto! Now that you're safely among patriots, you can ease into your rocking chair and soak up the July sun, which year after year provides a bounty of fresh food that springs up from the land given to the United States fair and square through the mystical/divine process of manifest destiny. The best way to eat local, seasonal foods like these is with a clean conscience.
Or pluots, or apriums, apriclums, or apricums, or apricotandplummixedtogether. America has a grand tradition of bending nature to suit the shortsighted needs of its citizens, and nowhere is that more evident than in the plumcot, an apricot-plum hybrid designed to titillate your easily bored taste buds. These little stone fruits can be eaten by the half-dozen, and apparently research has shown the nutrient level of plumcots to be higher than the "much-touted" blueberry, so FUCK YOU, BLUEBERRIES. Shows you how far a little industry funding can go, but on the other hand, that industry gives zesty names to versions of the plumcot, like "Fall Fiesta," "King Kong," "Flavor Grenade," "Eagle Egg," and "Flavorosa." Who says plant breeders don't have fun?
Now, if you want to tread deeper into the unholy waters of plant breeding, check out the peacotum. Forbidden fruit, indeed.
Consider this: that so-called "screaming" sound a lobster makes when you toss its still-living body into a vat of boiling water is just air escaping from the gap between its exoskeleton and innards, which are quickly being turned into a succulent white meat designed to be dipped in butter and devoured at a national chain for only $19.95. So it's ethically fine to eat them without remorse!!!
Ideally you'll get spiny lobster, because that's the most sustainable -- whatever variety you choose, lobster is a good source of lean protein and the romantic pleasure of pretending you're bound only to the sea, which is your wife, your lover, and your grave.
Corn was one of the Three Sisters of Native American agriculture, so it's about as American as you can get without taming a bald eagle. You should probably have your passport revoked if you don't grill up a few ears, rub hot butter and salt all over them, and wait for the inevitable aftermath in your toilet bowl.
This is actually a fun way to track your bowel transit time, and along the way you'll pick up plenty of insoluble fiber, which feeds good bacteria in your gut and helps you have perfect poops with preserved kernels of corn, every day in July. This is shaping up to be a wild summer!
Don't look now, but dour root-vegetable season is mere months away, so you better get your manservant busy on turning this raspberry harvest into preserves. If you're a member of the sharing economy, though, enjoy the moment, because who knows what misfortunes await just around the corner when your current contracts expire?! Indulge in fresh, raw raspberries while you can, which will give you all sorts of fun antioxidants to stave off inevitable infirmity and death as long as possible.
It's a damn shame that most Americans consume the bulk of their tomatoes in pizza and ketchup form, because fresh tomatoes during the languorous slog of mid-summer are one of the simple joys that make life worth living when it's too hot to move. Tomatoes are also a great example of the heirloom seed movement's potential; go ahead and compare a Black Cherry tomato to the reddish globule you get at the grocery store in December, and try to remember they're technically the same food. There's no comparison.
Soak up that glorious lycopene (undeniably good for you) well into fall by making and freezing some homemade sauce, a simple reduction of butter, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and oregano.
Speaking of oregano, here's basil! All sorts of herbs hit their peak in the summer months, but the king is basil, which you can put on just about anything -- salads, pizza, burgers, distant relatives -- to brighten up the flavor and make things more exciting. The real magic happens when you mix it with olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese to make pesto, which screams "summer" like Morton Downey Jr. screaming at Ron Paul on daytime television.
Some say that basil has all sorts of medicinal properties, including the ability to relieve everything from headaches to lack of menstruation, but since there's no hard "science" to "back up" those "claims," ask yourself if you really need a plant to do all your healing for you. Enjoy your pesto, for crying out loud.
Say it out loud 21 times in a row -- SAY IT. Now that you're loose, mix up your squash routine that you definitely have and try the pattypan, which, truth be told, tastes like a lot of other mild summer squash. Look, not everything can shock and awe -- sometimes a squash is a squash is a squash, and if you grill it with some Dijon and fresh herbs, or even roast it, you're going to be in good shape. Perhaps you're interested in the fact that "squash" derives from the plural Algonquin word asquash, or that in the late '90s young Polish adults didn't even know what pattypans were because they were too busy sucking down "soft fruits of the sweet taste," like grapes and strawberries, but there's no need to bore you here.
There are rumors that some people don't like watermelon, but these subversives should be rounded up and put into cages like the animals they are. Sadly, the Constitution doesn't allow such just and totally reasonable punishment, but this means more watermelon for you! It's hydrating (water's right there in the name!), and can't you marvel at the fact that these things grow right out of the dirt? Where's your sense of wonder, kid? Fine, fine: watermelon also has lycopene, so it's good for you, so eat it! Happy?
Haha, look at these things! That's good, clean fun right there. Cranberry beans have been described as "versatile and velvety," "thin-skinned," and "indulgent," all of which are not good, clean fun and warrant at least a PG-13 rating. If you put these guys into a Texas caviar in place of black-eyed peas, you'll have a lightly erotic summer side that gives all of the well-documented health benefits of bean consumption, potentially with the noxious emissions that are a sign of your vitality.
Thought you were going to escape July without having to eat a salad, did you? Oh no, you will be eating an arugula salad -- at least one! -- because you're a grown-up and your parents are visiting soon so it's a good idea to have a lovely, peppery salad prepared for them to give the impression that you have strong bones, are cancer-free, and aren't filled with anxiety over your identity and future and crippling loneliness and alienation and why don't we just eat the damn salad already, want some cranberry beans with that?
A single beerTo celebrate America's 240th birthday, practice the greatest of our national traits: self-restraint. There's no need to overindulge, because as Ben Franklin cautioned, "Drink not to elation." He clearly saw no value in alcohol consumption. George Washington, the stoic, reasonable, slave-owning first president of the United States and hero of the Revolution, warned against the horrors that alcohol can bring about: "[R]efrain from drink which is the source of all evil." The man knew what he was talking about. We are a nation that practices what we preach, so let's go to bed early this Independence Day, and wake up ready to work on July 5th.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.