Saturday, June 23, 2012


On midsummer's eve, June 21st, I decorated my green bin with seasonal fruits, flowers and herbs to welcome the 2012 summer solstice. I realize that's a bit anthropomorphic, but it was great fun, and Green Bin didn't complain. This frivolity brought back memories of camping in Finland one long-ago midsummer's eve. This is one of Finland's most popular holidays and I was lucky to have participated.  The Finns decorated their cars with branches and, since it remained light all night,  they celebrated by lighting bonfires for good luck, grilling sausages, and alternately taking hot saunas and jumping into the frigid nearby lake.

Green bin decorated with lemons, hydrangeas, banana and cage free eggs

Green bin with peach, artichoke flower, lavender  and mint


In my cookbook collection, I found my favorite summer volume, Summer Food by Judith Olney, published in hardcover by Atheneum in 1978.  Mrs. Olney is the sister-in-law of Richard Olney, patron saint of Chez Panisse and author of such classics as The French Menu Cookbook and Simple French Food.  He lived in Provence most of his adult life, and Judith Olney's many Provencal  recipes reflect his influence.  I always liked this book for its lovely use of herbs, flowers and garden-fresh vegetables, and I remember enjoying her recipes for warm potato salad and flower garden soup.