As I write this, on the first warm(ish) day of spring, the sidewalk tables have suddenly reappeared in my Brooklyn neighborhood. Sunlight pours onto my kitchen counter, setting aglow a bright-green salad of sugar snap peas, radishes, ricotta, mint and lemon.
From where I sit—with a cardigan layered over my too- hopeful sundress—summer seems to stretch out ahead like some endless sunbaked highway, the same way it looked to us as kids. The singsong of an overeager ice cream truck, echoing down the block, is certainly playing its part. (If you’re like me, that ragtime melody both delights and drives you crazy.)
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The promise of lilac season, the knowledge that ripe nectarines might be on the not-so-far horizon, the prospect of grilled strawberries and juicy tomatoes and beachside barbecues when you wish the sun could stay up all night with you…there are so many scenes to look forward to, so many summer moments to love.
Perhaps that’s why Joshua McFadden’s brand-new book made such an impact on us at F&W. In Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, the Oregon-based chef introduces the notion of "microseasons"—there are actually three distinct stages of summer, he says—and shows us how to shop, cook and eat accordingly. (Much as we crave all of the season’s bounty all the time, you shouldn’t be buying sweet corn in June, any more than you’d seek out snap peas in August.) Check out McFadden’s sunshiny recipes in our June issue for a tantalizing glimpse of what’s in store.
The way I see it, summertime is when we’re at our best. The days are longer, the nights are warmer; we’re unencumbered, activated, fully alive. And summer is ripe for exploration, so we’re taking you to one of the hottest destinations on the planet, with a deep dive into Cuba. Our intrepid reporter Anya von Bremzen settled in for more than a month on the island. She came back with a revealing look at a country in flux, and a food and drink culture that’s unlike any other.
Closer to home, our editors have been on the road, too, visiting the country’s most exciting new openings to bring you our Top 10 Restaurants of the Year awards. From an inspired sandwich spot in NOLA to an unapologetically luxe temple of fine dining in New York, these are the places defining America’s restaurant scene right now.
But summer also invites you to stay put and kick off your shoes—and you don’t even have to leave your backyard to get the party started. In June's Handbook section, you’ll find our indispensable grilling package, including a foolproof recipe for the perfect steak, the ultimate rubs and marinades, must-have grilling tools, and—this is exciting—F&W’s own signature burger blend, which we created with butcher guru Pat LaFrieda. We’ll even show you how to turn your trusty Weber into a DIY pizza oven, courtesy of L.A.’s Neapolitan pizzaiolo-to-the-stars, Daniele Uditi.
Me, I feel as if there are more like 10 stages of summer, given the months of anticipation and the long, wistful aftermath—and I plan to fill each golden day and sultry evening with deliciousness, squeezing out every drop like the last morsels from a lobster knuckle. That’s why we invite you to join us in celebrating #howisummer, and to share with us the many ways you’ll be savoring the season.
The time of open minds, open hearts and open-toed shoes is upon us. Are you ready? We sure are. Let’s dive in.