If your motivation plummets during summer's hot and sweaty days, a sweltering kitchen may be the last place on earth you want to be.
But despite the season, we still need to eat and drink. A good story and recipe can go a long way to raising your spirits and divert attention from how miserable you are.
All Things Considered wants to know which recipes give you that boost in the summer.
The recipe doesn't have to be original — it doesn't matter if you got it out of a magazine, off a box or a blog. But it's got to be good and have an interesting, true story behind it.
Maybe it's your brother-in-law's cousin's killer cole slaw — the one he brings to the Fourth of July party every year. He wouldn't give up the recipe, so you had to arm wrestle him for it. Or maybe your Aunt Shirley never smiled, except when she had your mom's homemade cherry ice cream, and you smile remembering that fact every summer you made the ice cream yourself.
Limeade Spiked With 'Pixie Dust'
Melissa Gray, the curator and producer of the Found Recipes series, says her quintessential taste of summer is a cold and bubbly glass of limeade; it takes her back to her college days:
"Twenty years ago, my best friend Dawn Benedetto and I are suffering through this heat wave in Richmond, Va., and we are getting super cranky; we are harping at each other because we had no air conditioning. But the 3rd Street Diner did, it was open all night and it had limeade.
I think it was made with pixie dust and angel wings because we chilled out there all night long drinking limeade until well past midnight. We were girls gone wild. Wicked and wild, but we never melted."
Recipe: Sparkling Limeade
Makes 4-6 servings
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of 1/2 a lime
Juice of 7-8 limes
3-4 cups seltzer water
Combine water, sugar and lime zest in saucepan; bring to boil then simmer until sugar is melted. Pour mixture through strainer to remove zest. Let lime syrup cool to room temperature. Mix with lime juice and seltzer water, then pour over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge or sprig of mint.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Joining me now is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED producer Melissa Gray. Hello, Melissa.
MELISSA GRAY, BYLINE: Hi, Robert.
SIEGEL: Melissa is, as we say, the curator of our "Found Recipes" series. She's got a glass of what looks like lemonade. And I understand you also have an announcement to make.
GRAY: Yes, we are going to have a contest, Robert.
SIEGEL: A drinking contest?
GRAY: No. That would be irresponsible, Robert. So we're going to have a "Found Recipes" contest instead.
SIEGEL: A found - you have to explain what "Found Recipes" is.
GRAY: I will explain it. So for nearly a year on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, we've had cookbook authors, chefs and bloggers come on and share recipes on the stories behind those recipes. So summer is nigh, hence the "Found Recipes Taste of Summer" contest. We want our listeners to share a recipe for a summer food or drink that they simply cannot do without. But there is a catch.
SIEGEL: It's not valid in Nebraska?
GRAY: It is valid in Nebraska.
SIEGEL: OK, good. What's the catch then?
GRAY: The catch is while the recipe doesn't have to be original, the story behind it has to be true and interesting.
SIEGEL: Interesting as defined here being interesting to you. Why don't you give us an example of what you find interesting?
GRAY: OK, OK. So I'm going to make this one up, but if it were true, I would completely pounce on this story. Your brother-in-law makes one killer coleslaw. He brings it to the family reunion every July. He's really cagey about the recipe though, and you, Robert Siegel, had to arm wrestle him for it in front of Grandma. But now you have the killer coleslaw recipe, and you want to share it because no one should have to arm wrestle in front of Grandma ever again.
SIEGEL: Failing that ideal story being submitted...
SIEGEL: ...what would be some other kinds of stories you might encourage?
GRAY: Well, we're looking for fun stories, just nice, summery, great, diversionary stories. I don't want a tear-jerker. I don't want a heart-warming story because, you know, it's going to be hot enough out there. And there's no crying in "Found Recipes," Robert.
SIEGEL: You didn't think that wrestling with Grandma was a tear-jerker, that story?
SIEGEL: No. Well, let me guess. Listeners should perhaps send their submissions to us at npr.org by clicking on Contact Us at the bottom of the page. Have I got it right?
GRAY: You've done this before, Robert. Yes. Just make sure to include Taste of Summer in the subject line. Now, I will go through the stories and pick out three lucky listeners who'll get the "Found Recipe" treatment, complete with music. Their stories will be recorded and broadcast later this summer. And then we'll also ask folks out there to weigh in on which one they think was best, and we will announce a winner at the end of July.
SIEGEL: And tell us about the colossal prize I'm going to win for winning this contest.
GRAY: Bragging rights.
SIEGEL: Bragging rights, I see.
SIEGEL: What - and as long as we're at it, what's with the lemonade?
GRAY: Well, Robert, it's not lemonade. It's limeade. And, you know, I couldn't come here empty-handed without giving you my taste of summer. Twenty years ago, my best friend Dawn Benedetto and I are suffering through this heat wave in Richmond, Virginia, and we were getting super cranky. We are harping at each other because we had no air conditioning. So the 3rd Street Diner did. It was open all night, and it had limeade. And I think it was made with pixie dust and angel wings because we chilled out there all night long, drinking limeade till well past midnight because, Robert, we were girls gone wild, wicked and wild. But we never melted.
SIEGEL: And that glass of limeade possesses those miraculous medicinal properties.
GRAY: As far as I'm concerned, when the weather's hot, this is what I want. This is my taste of summer, and so I am bringing this to you.
(SOUNDBITE OF ICE CLINKING IN GLASS)
SIEGEL: That was very good.
GRAY: Well, thank you.
SIEGEL: That's Melissa Gray, announcing the "Found Recipe Taste of Summer" contest, which you can enter at npr.org. Thanks a lot, Melissa.
GRAY: Thank you, Robert.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIEGEL: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.