3 Things to Eat This Week: June 6–12

Ice cream, coffee, and brandy—just because they make us happy

I’ve found the key to happiness, and it turns out I’ve been ignoring it in a back closet for close to 16 years.

It’s a hammock. Somewhere around the time that I mistakenly thought I was a hippie (I’m not that nice) and returned to an all-black wardrobe (I’m much better now), I purchased a Guatemalan, blanket-style hammock. I likely picked it up at Global Village or possibly at Horde Fest between Morphine and Beck’s sets. I strung it up on the deck of my Phillips neighborhood apartment, the one across the street from the nicer crack house on the block, and would swing and sip my coffee every sunny morning I could. Eventually, I moved out of that ‘hood for homes with fewer late-night gunshots. (Although, maybe it was fireworks…sometimes.) Anyway, I kept hanging onto that thing and remembering that I loved it, but I never found the right spot for it. This weekend, I was again mumbling about finding a way to string this thing up when my husband called bull spit on the whole plan. “You don’t have a hammock. In all the time I’ve known you, I have never once seen this so-called hammock.”

Apparently, the challenge was all I was waiting for. I pulled that sucker out and went to the hardware store. The bungee chord options at Frattalone’s are staggering. But I figured it out. I jimmy-ed the thing between a tree and my porch. It becomes Mosquito Alley later in the summer, but right now, it’s perfect. The lazy summer sunlight dapples through the trees, and soft breezes skim my nose. If I drape a leg over the side, I can gently push it back and forth with my toes.

And I’m not the only one who loves it. My eight-year-old will snuggle in with me and swing us, rocking me to sleep the way I used to rock him when he was a baby. My two-year-old also loves it, but she’s sassier, more independent. Woe the human who tries to share that soft swing with her. 

Last night, after a day of sun and running and wrapping up the school year and work and bills and worry—so much worry!—I climbed into that space, pulled my big kid in with me, and let it all go. Sometimes I get caught up in the useless worry cycle, churning over life concerns both real and imagined. I’m trying to take these moments and find the quiet place. That’s where happiness lives. Although I’ll never go back to that girl in the tie-dyed broomstick skirts (so unbelievably unflattering), I can remember what it was like to feel free. When summer meant days without confines and long nights surrounded by friends. There are these moments of happiness trying to break through the clouds of modern life. We just need to give them a moment to breathe a little.

3 Things to Eat Just Because They Make Me Happy:

Pumphouse Creamery—Ice Cream: Fresh strawberries that still harbor the sunshine, cream, and sugar

Wee Claddaugh—Cardamom Vanilla Iced LatteBefore a wander through Cathedral Hill, where we take my little one to the Holly Tot Lot

Copper & Kings—Brandy Old Fashioned: Sitting on our deck with a roaring fire and a ton of friends, I like to whip up some modern Wisconsin-style cocktails. It pairs beautifully with late-summer nights, hammock swings, and lingering summer happiness.

If you’re a cocktail fan like me, join me at Minnesota Monthly’s Fine Spirits Classic Thursday July 27th at Minnesota Orchestra Hall.