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That First Summer

How a quick dinner accidentally turned into a summertime tradition.

By C.Z.Published 2 years ago 3 min read
Top Story - June 2022
12
That First Summer
Photo by Ludovic Avice on Unsplash

One of my biggest personality traits is my love for food. Really, ask anyone. My parents raised me to appreciate food and the process of making it. I grew up watching Food Network classics like Iron Chef and Chopped, Saturday mornings we watched Create or Jacques Pepin. We almost always sat down to eat dinner together and holiday dinners were a culinary masterpiece. Food was everywhere. I knew that when I got married I wanted to carry my love and appreciation for food with me.

My husband is now an absolute foodie, just as much as me, but he was not that way when we started out. He was much more of a "food is for survival" type of person. Personally, I don't understand this thinking. If you're going to eat, why not make it as delightful as possible? Through many dinners at my parents house and me cooking for the two of us, he came around to the foodie lifestyle.

The first summer that we were married was an intensely fun season of learning about each other, figuring out how to balance work and what we wanted to do, and how to grocery shop and cook for ourselves. My mother set me up for success in the kitchen in basically every way imaginable but it was still overwhelming to go straight from having everything provided for me to trying to provide a happy and functioning home for my very busy husband.

I failed in a lot of ways that summer, I'll admit. I was terrible at cleaning and meal prep. Many of my dinners were thrown together at random because I wasn't great at planning. They were still yummy but they were getting a bit repetitive. My husband came to my rescue.

He came home from the store with frozen and breaded chicken patties, Boar's Head hummus, provolone, and burger buns. Cheap, fast, and oh-so-tasty chicken and hummus sandwiches. They were an instant hit. What I love most about our chicken and hummus sandwiches is that they have grown with us through our marriage.

As delicious as chicken patties are, they are not the healthiest. We switched to chicken breasts, playing around with the seasoning until we discovered the perfect Mediterranean blend to compliment the hummus. When my husband got a grill he started grilling the chicken breasts. Then came the day he bought a smoker, the happiest foodie husband day. He now smokes as many dinners as he can get away with.

We tried nearly every hummus that we could get our hands on. Some were great, some were kind of gross, and many landed in the middle of the spectrum. One day my husband came home with tahini and garbanzo beans and announced he was making his own hummus. Just seeing his hummus-making process evolve has been so fun and we have landed on a delicious blend of roasted garlic and red peppers that we use for many things, including our favorite chicken sandwich.

Sometimes we splurge on fancier cheese or artisan bread, depending on what looks good that day. We add avocado, grilled zucchini, or any variety of yummy veggies. We have made dozens of sides to go with our sandwiches through the years, from chips or French fries, to pasta salads, to sautéed veggies.

By Natasha Miller on Unsplash

Every year when summer rolls around we start to crave our summer-time sandwich, one of many dishes that has stuck with us and evolved with our marriage. Nowadays we cook together a lot, try to make something new every week, fall back on old favorites when we're busy, and whenever we want our classic chicken sandwich we make sure to put in the love and attention it deserves.

Another classic that was born around the same time that goes very well with the sandwich is, of course, the Mike's Hard and Twisted Tea Arnold Palmers. Cheap and delicious and perfect for a hot day, sitting outside while grilling, or really any relaxing outdoor activity. We still make those in the summer when we want a cool drink under the Alaskan sun.

We will see where our chicken sandwiches go in the following years. Maybe we'll start making our own buns. Perhaps I'll find new sides to accompany our meal. Whatever it is I know that I'll be eating them sitting next to my husband on warm summer days.

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About the Creator

C.Z.

A slightly inspired, barely motivated, lover of fact and fiction

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  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (10)

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  • Lawrence Edward Hinchee2 years ago

    Great entry and you just made me hungry. Time to do fried balogna sandwiches

  • Cathy holmes2 years ago

    Those sandwiches sound good. Great entry.

  • Dan Gee2 years ago

    I really need to give hummus a go. Making it I mean. Eating it isn't a problem!

  • Lamar Wiggins2 years ago

    I love hummus, so as soon as I read that word, I knew I was in for the long haul. I also make sandwiches with hummus but usually on flatbread as rollups. I will def try your version. Thanks

  • I really love this story CZ!

  • Melissa Armeda2 years ago

    I enjoy the conversational aspect of your writing. I feel like I am sitting down to hear a good story.

  • I immensely enjoyed reading this!

  • Babs Iverson2 years ago

    Wonderful story!!! Lovely read!😊💖💕

  • Sarah G.2 years ago

    Sweet! (Or should I say: Savory!) "Accidental" family traditions are the best kind. I like how you showed a neat little character arc -- your food-for-survival husband now makes his own hummus from scratch. And you, who once did all the cooking for your family, or by yourself, now do it alongside him. Also, that sounds delicious -- I've updated my grocery list to include these items for tonight!

  • I loved this CZ! So lovely and I love how your story is a reflection of your family tradition

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