Sunday, August 08, 2010

What I learned on my summer vacation

Each summer, in an (albeit abbreviated) Italian tradition called Ferragosto, my office closes for one week. I had big plans to go to Turkey. When those plans fell through I tried to create a week full of mini vacations along with some down time. I had a long wish list, and as I sit here typing on the eve of my return to the office, I feel happy and relaxed. And I learned a few things, too.

1. When you go away for a week in summer, you miss one week of peak produce shopping. Doh!

2. I don't see Mara enough. In addition to her other qualities, she is a wonderful cook.

3. Cape May is beautiful, with lovely beaches and charming architecture full of old farmhouses, beach bungalows and Victorian homes. Everyone grows tomatoes, making them the zucchini of the area. Roll up your car windows or people will leave some on your front seat. If you're a visitor from up North, be a good guest and you might get sent home with a small cardboard box full. Score!

4. Go off the beaten path there, to a local bar called Mayer's (Meyer's?). They are known for their scallops but I will remember them for the dude who tried to pick me up by offering me a plate of gravy fries. Also memorable was the weathered fisherman who explained how much less fun fishing is now that the fishing stocks have disappeared. He also told me that I am "beautiful," that I "look like Chelsea Clinton." Hmmm.

5. Leaving a buffer on the back end of vacation is a great idea. It leaves time for farmer's market shopping (corn, eggplant, ground cherries, peaches, nectarines), hanging out with bro/sis -in-law and nephew, painting the livingroom, laundry, yoga, birthday drinks, Brooklyn Flea, La Colombe coffee, etc.

6. There are so many delicious things you can do with tomatoes. BLT was terrific (Grandaisy bread, mayo, Dom's bacon, Cape May garden tomato); roasted tomatoes (with parmesan cheese, spinach ravioli and pesto) are also a great idea; snacking on cherry tomatoes is never a bad idea.

6. I said I would do some work, and I didn't do any work. i think this was probably a very good idea.

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