I’ve never been much of a summer girl (though a certain LFO song is a guilty pleasure of mine), that is, the traditional trappings of summer generally don’t appeal to me. Fair of hair and skin, I burn in the shade, and I don’t swim, so pools and beaches for the most part are out. Mosquitoes love me, though I can’t say the feeling is reciprocated. And don’t get me started on summertime heat and humidity, the mere thought nearly triggers the beading of sweat on my lower back.
I find it funny that everyday, seemingly inconsequential, memories are often those that last. When these moments are peppered with sensory input, especially in the form of aroma, they seem to linger the longest. Perhaps that’s why I distinctly remember making beer bread in the kitchen of my mom’s friend Beth’s home many many years ago (I’d guess I was around 7 or 8). The piquant, yet warm aroma (or as my siblings put it “spicy”) of yeast emanating from the oven as the bread baked was truly intoxicating, and further cemented my burgeoning love for all (OK not ALL) things fermented. To a beige food eating, not quite tween/pre-teen/whatever they’re calling that age group these days, beer bread seemed exotic, mature, and a little bit naughty due to its inclusion of alcohol.
To say that I was a picky eater as a child is a gross understatement. Now, I’m sure that most parents wish their children were more adventurous eaters, but I took this to extremes, not only avoiding typical foods like broccoli and bleu cheese, but claiming a laundry list of foods on the no-chew list, including chocolate, ice cream, red meat, salad dressing, cooked vegetables, onions, seafood, and milk, so on and so forth. My mom somewhat affectionately calls this my “beige food phase” where friends and family kept boxes of Annie’s macaroni and cheese (a proven favorite) on hand in case I would be staying for dinner.
Among my many food quirks, perhaps the one that stands out the most is my unabashed love for oats. I would happily eat oatmeal for breakfast every day, and generally do; I have been known to “pregame” a brunch out with a small bowl of oatmeal, or eat it for dinner, in order to get my daily fix. Hell, I even list oatmeal as one of my interests on Facebook. I realize that most normal individuals do not share my oat fanaticism, and are not compelled to drop everything when a recipe combining oats and almonds (another top 10 favorite food*) pops up, but in this case you should.