It’s been glorious the past few weeks. The warmth of the sun, long mild days, gorgeous light, clear blue skies and sultry evenings - all the ingredients that make a sweet summer’s day. Summer for me usually chimes in with the ringing of the bell at Soeren’s school. His excitement of having the next 6 weeks off is so contagious that it marks the begin of an entire season for me.
To celebrate his efforts and his normally good report we usually head to our favorite gelato place for big bowls of ice cream complete with fruit, cream, sauce and nuts. Last week as we sat in the shade under the maple tree, waiting for the waitress to bring the oversized bowls of ice cream we had just ordered, Soeren was bubbling over with plans for the summer - a few days with his grandparents, summer camp, camping weekend with the dad, 2 weeks in Thailand, his energetic exuberance spilled over to me. As the bowls were set in front of us, his eyes gleamed and he became contemplative. I looked at him questioningly,
“This is my favorite part!” he said quietly “The ice cream to kick off summer break - the best season of the year.”
I beamed from ear to ear because in his simple words lay all the emotions I too felt with him. Spooning the ice cream I moved closer to him and told him the story of my best season of the year.
Not much older than Soeren, I too was always eager for summer break to begin. Living in Doha one could only leave the heatwave and head towards cooler parts of the world. For us we would either head to Europe for a few weeks, followed by a longer stay in the US with the various aunts, uncles and the grandparents or when my grandparents were spending the summer in India we would fly in the other direction to spend time with them in their Delhi house.
I loved the times we spent in that house. I would often wake up just before dawn just to be able to accompany my nana - grandfather, to the milk depot where we would buy canisters of fresh milk for the day. We delivered the milk to the kitchen, where my nani - grandmother would be preparing breakfast for the house full of family. The best part of the whole summer however was the first day. After we had delivered the milk in the kitchen, nani’s wink would always send waves of excitement through me. I would count the long hours of the morning and the longer hours of the afternoon, impatiently waiting for my nani to make her much awaited appearance. Her footsteps would betray her as she came out on the veranda where my cousins, brother and I would often be playing games, in her hands she balanced a tray with several bowls of creamy, vivid yellow saffron and mango kulfi.
It was not just any kulfi, it was the kulfi that marked the start of our summer break. Scoops of icy kulfi flavored with sublime saffron and sweet mangoes, topped with falooda (vermicelli noodles) perfumed with rose water. That very first bowl of kulfi for me held all the upcoming enthralling experiences that would make a memorable summer.
“That was my favorite part!” I told Soeren “The saffron mango kulfi to kick off summer break - the best season of the year” I winked at him.
That weekend I had an idea. Together with Soeren we created a treat with a twist. Something that captured the essence of my memories and his sentiments of summer break.
I made the kulfi popsicles with almond milk to boost the flavor, cardamom pairs perfectly with the saffron while the ripe mangoes impart their sweetness. I was reminded of that same anticipation I had all those years ago, as I walked out on our terrace holding up two of the popsicles in my hands. Sitting on our stone wall this was a new memory in the making.
Do you have summer rituals that you enjoy?
I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I am. The best part is that we have a long way to go before it ends. Enjoy each moment!
You might like these ideas from WFLH:
|Peach and Lavender Sorbet||Matcha Cherry Swirl Ice Cream||Watermelon Ice Cream Lollies|
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