Foodie Underground: 100 Things to Do With Your Summer Vacation

ColumnIt’s the season for eating outside with mason jars.

Even if you’re not on an academic schedule, the longer days of the season mean that you have way more time on your hands than usual. Which indicates that it’s high time to stop drooling over blogs about backyard homesteading and actually do something. Welcome to the official Foodie Underground Guide to Summer, with a list of everything you ever wanted to do when it comes to food, and a few things you never thought of.

  1. Make your own potato chips.
  2. Use a foodie pickup line on someone. Example: “I think we’d grow a great organic garden together.”
  3. Pick your own berries.
  4. Overdose on berries while out picking them.
  5. Come home and realize you actually didn’t have room for 20 pounds of berries in a freezer.
  6. Make up three new recipes for said berry and then go out and buy a chest freezer to house the rest.
  7. Learn to sing a drinking song in a another language. Host a party and require all guests to learn it.
  8. Diversify your mason jar collection.
  9. Find a way to incorporate sea salt into everything you eat for 24 hours.
  10. Learn how to prepare eggs at least ten different ways.
  11. Pair a dinner menu with a playlist.
  12. Go vegan for a week.
  13. Take your lunch to work in a mason jar.
  14. Refuse to go shopping for an entire week and see what recipes you can concoct from what’s in your pantry.
  15. Write a food cart business plan.
  16. Schedule a date to bone luge.
  17. Go a week without taking a photo of a single meal.
  18. Learn how to shuck an oyster.
  19. Master a chocolate cake recipe so that you know it by heart.
  20. Visit a farm.
  21. Infuse. Anything.
  22. Cook breakfast outside, even if you’re not on a camping trip.
  23. Brew your own beer.
  24. Bake something and send it to a far away friend. Priority Mail of course, you don’t want things to go stale.
  25. Master a summer cocktail and bring it to every dinner party you go to.
  26. Consider getting chickens.
  27. When you have been woken up by your neighbor’s chickens three days in a row, opt out of getting chickens.
  28. Get goats instead and start making your own artisan goat cheese.
  29. Follow up every food remark you make with, “trust me, I’m a food blogger” just to see what happens.
  30. Two words: fennel pollen.
  31. Beer margarita? Yes, please.
  32. Plan a meal without the help of a cookbook or the internet.
  33. Rhubarb, raspberries and basil… go.
  34. Join a co-op.
  35. Invest in a red wagon. You will need it when going to the co-op.
  36. Start your own kombucha.
  37. Invite your friends over and gross them out with said kombucha.
  38. Attend an underground supper club.
  39. See how many different liquids you can make ice cubes out of.
  40. Learn how to can.
  41. Learn how to pickle.
  42. Invest in a cookbook without images.
  43. Keep a food journal, and instead of taking pictures of your food, write about it.
  44. Honey, ginger and cardamom… go.
  45. Find something to muddle other than mint.
  46. Stick to a $10 a day food budget and see where it takes you.
  47. Refuse to eat at any restaurant that has a menu in Helvetica for a whole week.
  48. Harvest your own sea salt.
  49. If you’re not into harvesting your own sea salt, at least carry around a travel container with some in it everywhere you go.
  50. Make your own yogurt.
  51. Order a pina colada on a first date, just to see your date’s reaction. Then follow up with a whiskey.
  52. Find a Le Creuset at an estate sale.
  53. Keep simple syrup on hand in your kitchen at all times.
  54. Invest in a good spork.
  55. Figure out a new use for truffle oil.
  56. Get your mother to teach you how to make a pot roast.
  57. Seduce someone with food. And only food.
  58. Buy a cookbook from the 70s.
  59. Laugh at said cookbook from the 70s.
  60. Revamp a few recipes from your 70s cookbook.
  61. Draft the outline to a sketch comedy food show.
  62. Plan a road trip based around regional specialties.
  63. Make your own ice cream.
  64. Lavender, chocolate and lemon… go.
  65. Color coordinate your food and plates and see if your guests notice.
  66. Learn some key food phrases in French.
  67. Find ten different ways to use quinoa.
  68. Brew your own cold brew coffee.
  69. Go foraging.
  70. Eat figs with something other than goat cheese and honey.
  71. Throw a hot sauce tasting party.
  72. Marinate some cucumbers; it’s easier than pickling.
  73. Eat dinner outside… in the rain.
  74. Make cookies with bacon in them.
  75. Learn how to make fresh cheese.
  76. Film the intro to your new food television series.
  77. Cure your own fish.
  78. Build a picnic table. With reclaimed wood of course.
  79. Read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and if you’ve already done that, read Food Politics.
  80. Start a truck farm.
  81. Mix up a few jam drinks.
  82. Draw your most recent meal.
  83. Hand write the menu for a dinner party.
  84. Paint one of your kitchen walls with chalkboard paint so you can write on it and feel like you’re in a restaurant.
  85. Buy cheap wine and make your own labels for it. Your friends will never know the difference.
  86. Perfect your own sangria recipe.
  87. End every meal with espresso.
  88. Drive to a small town just to eat at the local hotspot.
  89. Buy a trashy food magazine. It’s like brain candy.
  90. Stop buying Nutella and make it yourself.
  91. Host a party where all ingredients come from within a 100 miles radius.
  92. Plant an edible flower garden.
  93. Get to know a farmer at farmers market on a first-name basis.
  94. Take a coffee roasting class. Someone has to.
  95. Pickle eggs.
  96. Learn how to make an actual pie crust.
  97. Opt for cobbler instead.
  98. Screen print your own apron with your favorite food quote.
  99. Drink a kir royale.
  100. Sign up to be grape harvest seasonal help. Fall is just around the corner after all.

Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’s weekly column at EcoSalon, Foodie Underground, discovering what’s new and different in the underground food movement, from supper clubs to mini markets to the culinary avant garde.


Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.