Summer Summer Summer time!

With the temperature in the high nineties for 5 straight days, I guess you can say that summer is definitely here! The weather outside is hot! Depending on where you live, there’s most likely a lot of humidity along with the natural heat.

Air conditioners are running at full blast to make people’s days more comfortable. Electric companies are smiling as we use their services at higher rates.

With this new change in seasons, come new cravings. I previously talked about my fall cravings. Now it’s time to dwell in on the opposite of that spectrum. Let’s dive into my personal summer cravings.

Your cravings will differ depending on your childhood experiences and what part of the country you lived at. I grew up in Northern Virginia and spent most childhood summers in Cincinnati. I also spent my college years in the hot muggy streets of Philadelphia as a struggling college student.

Those three locations have pulled me in several different directions when it comes towards my summer cravings.

Here’s what I crave during the summer:

Grilled Food

Hot dogs, chicken, ribs, burgers, corn, steak, ribs, cabbage, squash, potatoes, fish.

Grill plus Food = Happy Mike!

‘Nuff Said!

Baked Beans

Baked beans
You mean to tell me that premade baked beans came in a can? I had no idea because my family always made our own baked beans. It’s blasphemy to see a person just scoop the beans out of a can and heat them up without spicing them up.

If there’s a BBQ going on, I’m bound to get a taste of some non-watery baked beans.

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding

When the weather turns warm, I instantly think of banana pudding. It was a specialty that’s been passed around from both sides of my family. I remember as a child my Grandma Gardner and my Aunt Pam (see How I Finally Understood The Importance Of Leaving A Legacy) making this dessert quite often. My other grandmother and Mom would also make this dessert during summer events.

The secret was always the wafers! As my brother use to tell me “You could never have enough wafers!” as he started perfecting his own version as well!


Bowl of Chili
Being a young kid, I didn’t really put much thought into the fact that Cincinnati was known for it’s chili. That information was lost to me because my family didn’t really go to the famous chili restaurants. We would just make our own.

A nice warm meaty bowl of chili just seems to perfectly blend in with my summer nights. This was one of my dad’s specialties.


Cheese cake
For some reason I associate this food with summer. Maybe it was because my Aunt Pam knew how to make this from scratch. I didn’t’ really eat cheesecake year round; it was more of a summer dish. Since my Aunt Pam made it, and I only saw her in the summers, this brings back summer memories for me.

Peach Pie/Cobbler

Delicious Peach Pie
When peaches are in season, that’s when these pies are the best! Of course you can have this fruit year round, but there’s something magical about this fruit when it’s at its peak.

Out of all the pies, peach pie has crossed my lips the least. That is why I like to eat it whenever it’s being served during the summer.


Watermelon slices
Everyone’s favorite simple summer picnic fruit! A couple of weeks ago, I talked with my wife and realized it had been 2 years since I had watermelon! How could that be?

I think it has to do with the fact that I’m African American and when at the grocery store…. I don’t want to give into stereotypes. I didn’t even think about that, so I was sure to get some yesterday!

No matter what ANYONE had to say!

Cool Whip

Tub of Cool Whip

If it’s a dessert and it’s summer, I have to have my whip cream! I typically go with Cool Whip instead of regular whipped cream just because that’s what I was exposed to as a child. I know the ingredients are awful, but this is about summer cravings right!

Potato Salad

Potato saladSomething so simple to make yet how many times do we go to parties and the potato salad is just awful! Luckily I grew up in a household that knew how to make good potato salad. It wasn’t until my older years that I started understanding why people were worried to eat other’s potato salad.

The worse thing you can do is buy it from the store! 9/10 it’s going to be terrible!

Macaroni Salad

macaroni salad
Due to my family knowing how to make good potato salad, I rarely had macaroni salad. I remember the first time my Aunt Pam created it for me, I was shocked at how simple and tasty the salad is. I like to get my hands on some at least for one meal every summer.

Pasta Salad

Pasta salad from
I had pasta salad more than I had macaroni salad growing up. The difference is salad dressing (mayo) vs. salad dressing (Italian vinaigrette). It’s something about the vinaigrette and pasta that makes this a delightful dish. Once I have one helping, I’m normally back for seconds!


Philly cheesesteak

I spent a good five years of my life in Philadelphia during my college years. Four out of the five years, I actually stayed in Philly for the entire summer. For those unfamiliar with Philly, you can get a cheesesteak on almost every block.

For me, I just remember working and sweating my butt off during those summers. In particular a UPS type delivery job at Temple University Hospital. During my lunch breaks or on the way back to my apartment I remember being exhausted and eating a piping hot Philly cheesesteak.

There’s something about having a cheesesteak in a blue-collar town after coming from YOUR blue-collar job during a HOT muggy day that brings back good memories of how far I’ve come in life.

Ice cream

Of course I saved the best for last. Without a doubt, ice cream is my #1 summer treat. Like the song says:

“I want it all…I WANT IT ALL…AND I WANT IT NOW!!!”

Where did my obsession with ice cream begin? Was it derived from my genetics? You see my mom is an ice cream connoisseur and always had to have two different stashes of ice cream in the freezer. One with nuts and another with opposite flavors. Nothing simple either, the more toppings the better.

Could it be the ice cream trucks? There was a time in which ice cream trucks actually SLOWED DOWN AND STOPPED to let kids get ice cream. I didn’t frequent the trucks, but I’ll admit that that sound makes me want to start sprinting down the street even as an adult.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m more mature in ice cream pursuits. Just give me a gallon and 30 minutes, and I’ll show you an empty container!

Obvious ice cream is one of my trigger foods (see Release The Beast) so I try not to go overboard. But during the summer, it’s always on my mind when it’s time to have my treats.

multiple ice cream flavors

I’m a simple Vanilla man, but let me go to the ice cream aisle and I swear it would take 20 minutes for me to make a decision. Don’t believe me, ask my wife!

So there are my summer cravings, what’s yours? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories: Reflections

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