So many of summer’s best activities are timeless. Swimming, hiking, visiting pick-your-own fruit farms, cooking over a campfire under the stars—these experiences remain much the same today as they were when I went to summer camp decades ago. But one thing has certainly changed a lot: the food. At my all-girls camp in Maine, the highlight of each day was sheet cake served at 11 a.m. on the shaded porch. But cutting through the haze of nostalgia, I know that if I had a slice of that cake today it wouldn’t taste nearly as good: It was just too cloyingly sweet. In this issue, we highlight the fun of the season—but update the recipes.
Trail rides, for example, are a perfect August adventure. Kelly Liken, the star chef at Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail, Colorado, prepares meals outside over an open fire for a dozen lucky men and women on a gorgeous four-day horseback ride through the Rockies. Her grilled lamb with gremolata pesto and flatbread pizza capture the essence of outdoor cooking: smoke, heat, cast iron. In Gloucester, Massachusetts, the chefs at The Market Restaurant on Lobster Cove make the entire restaurant feel like summer camp. Many staff members live together in cabins by the water, swim to or from work and have parties with lobster-corn fritters and smoked-fish chowder. All the ingredients are superfresh, as if Alice Waters herself (godmother to one of the chefs) were on KP duty.
In this issue, we also visit actor Bill Pullman’s extraordinary orchard in Los Angeles, under the Hollywood sign, where he grows 40 different kinds of exotic fruit. He invites two of his favorite chefs to preside over a canning party using height-of-season nectarines, figs and more. That’s a delicious update on the U-pick farms I remember from growing up, and a ritual I’d be thrilled to pass on to the next generation of summer campers.