Summer offers many food options for seasonal celebrating

Hi everyone! Summers are almost here! So we’ve got to start making some treats for this amazing season and enjoying eating seasonal foods that go best with summer heat! There’s so many ways to enjoy summertime foods. Gathering with friends and having a patio potluck party, or maybe putting together a picnic basket and heading to one of Cedar Falls beautiful parks or conservation areas or even the Friday night movie at Overman Park. Of course, the most fun food activity of the summer is the great American BBQ. Here are some ideas for summertime food extravaganzas!

For a great patio potluck party, you can ask some friends to bring different types of dishes; one person brings dessert, one person brings a salad, maybe you make the main dish. Or the potluck dishes all have to have a common ingredient like maybe, strawberries, chocolate or chilis. There are so many ways to throw a potluck, and it’s a good opportunity to get friends together in the summer as everyone seems to be very busy with jobs or family vacations.

Hartman HIking backpack picnic is a fun idea too. Get some exercise then eat something good for you. For example, there are many types of dehydrated or freeze dried foods that could be fun to try.  According to there are excellent dried foods for hiking. Check out their 2023 guide to pack up a backpack with delicious food.There are many companies that sell no-cook meals like “Packit gourmet”. Try some Curry Mango or Cajun Ranch Chicken Salad. Just add water, and it’s ready to eat! As well, there’s the usual backpack foods like granola bars, dried meat and fresh fruits to give you energy after your hike.

Outdoor Movie night is a great chance to make a movie food picnic based basket of treats. Cedar Falls “Movies Under the Moon” opening June 2 film is Lyle Lyle the Crocodile. The Lyle Lyle The Crocodile movie definitely inspires a New York style deli picnic or even New York pizza. It’s always fun to take a break from healthy foods and sit back and watch a movie with movie treats! Have you ever tried mixing M&M’s into your popcorn? Totally amazing! Bring your kid brothers and sisters, enjoy some fun food and have a laugh as a talking alligator takes on New York City. What a great summertime memory for the family.

Finally, how about  a July 4th “Awesome America” BBQ featuring favorite foods like burgers and BBQ? Did you know that BBQ was originally a Native American method of cooking known as Barbacoa, which was a community experience, as it still is today for many people. BBQ’s are a great way to get everyone together. Although American barbecue would usually be traditional meats like pork, beef and chicken, there are many great alternatives with the plant based movement becoming more popular. There are countless recipes online for alternative plant meats that are truly delicious cooked on the grill. A favorite on the internet is “Jackfruit Steak” by youtuber Sauce Stache.  Challenge your friends to bring alternative plant based foods to grill or eat at a BBQ that maybe are not the usual beef burgers and hot dogs. There are so many fruits that are made for grilling, like watermelon, peaches and plantain. Endless varieties of veggies taste great off the grill, like grilled corn, roasted potatoes and even lettuce! Check out this great grilled Romaine recipe from the New York Times cooking site. Let’s not forget dessert, like American apple pie, and toasty s’mores to wrap up the July 4th party! 

So let’s get friends and family together to have fun summertime meals, enjoy seasonal food and try new recipes. It does not have to be fancy and definitely can be potluck because that actually makes it more fun when everyone gets together and shares recipes and favorite foods. Spending time outside or attending Cedar Fall outdoor events with a picnic basket and eating with your friends makes for great summertime memories. Have a great summer everyone! Bon appetit!

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