Corn on the cob.
Steak on the grill.
This is a meal that I’ve had dozens and dozens of times, probably even hundreds of times, over the years — Quite simply, this is Minnesota in the summer.
The cut of meat may change, but it’s always grilled. Tonight it was choice New York strip steaks from Cub Foods, a regional grocery store chain.
The style of potatoes may change — potato salad, baked potatoes, boiled baby potatoes tossed in fresh herbs and butter are other regular options — but the potatoes are always there. Twice-baked potatoes — potatoes baked in the oven, innards scooped and blended with such goodies as bacon bits, sour cream, green onion and shredded cheese, and then finished off in the oven again — are a personal favorite and a Grandma specialty.
Every Minnesotan will tell you there’s nothing better than sweet corn bought off the back of a farmer’s truck, although methods of buttering the corn do vary. This household uses a corn dipper, a tall, cylinder-typed glass beaker that is filled with hot water to a certain line and topped off with butter, which melts and floats on the top — ensuring a perfectly evenly-coated cob of corn every time.
The salad, too, is always there, although sometimes it can be an afterthought. Not when I make it: chopped romaine lettuce garnished with julienned carrots (from a bag), sliced red bell pepper, a tomato wedge, bacon bits, green onion, sunflower seeds, prepared tableside; add dressing of choice.
The timing of it all — so that dinner begins with the sun still well above the horizon, and isn’t over until the sun sets over the far lake shore — well, that’s intentional every time.