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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Something 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Hello my name is Michael V. Moore, and I won’t be talking about fitness today.
I’m an American who happens to be Black. I support the Black Lives Matter movement AND I support honest hard-working police officers that make our communities safer.
Does supporting Black Lives Matter mean that I’m a 6’ 3” black terrorist who’s plotting to take over the United States government?
Does supporting cops mean that I think the cops that took the lives of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, & Freddie Gray were just doing their job and deserve no jail time because they have a hard job?
Why do you feel that you have to be on one side or the other?
Due to what’s been going on these past weeks and years in America, I wanted to take the time to talk about what’s been in my mind.
I feel like I’m watching America’s dark ugly history of hatred repeat itself. It sickens me to my core. I know I’m all about traveling fitness, but I feel it would be irresponsible if I didn’t talk about these massive issues in our country.
One of the main reasons for the issues is that people are afraid of addressing it. Several folks, who read the second sentence, got put off as soon as I put the word “Black” in it. It terrifies folks when that world pops up in sentences.
It signifies even more emotions when the phrase Black Lives Matter comes into play. One of the instant responses to the slogan has been “All Lives Matter”. Automatically people who are afraid of having a constructive dialogue found a way to contradict that message.
I think any decent human being understands that All Lives Matter! I don’t think my life is no more privileged then the next. I think in this world no life deserves to be treated unfairly and unjustly. I’m VERY aware of the Syrian Civil War crisis going on.
How come I don’t hear that slogan for those refugees? Aren’t they a part of the “ALL” part?
I could go on and on the Syrian topic (ESPECIALLY people’s ignorance on Muslims) but my point in this post is to allow you to see that there are more than just two choices.
There are some messed up things going on in this world and country. If you don’t fully understand the frustrations, than maybe it’s time you looked through the viewpoint of someone else’s eyes. Let me stroll you through my American experience as a black man who grew up in the suburbs.
Black or White and Something In-Between
I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio but raised in Northern Virginia. In Cincinnati, most of my family lived in predominately black neighborhoods. My cousins who were like brothers to me went to 97% black schools.
Meanwhile in Virginia, I lived in a predominately white neighborhood, with a mixture of minorities. As a child, I had no idea just how diverse the minority population was. It turns out that I had good friends that were Filipino, Korean, Chinese, Turkish, Pakistani, Mexican, Ecuadorean, African (actual from Africa), etc. My innocent eyes never saw color or race as a youngster so I played with everyone.
As the years went on, it became interesting to go visit my cousins in Cincinnati. I started realizing that when they came to Virginia they sometimes were shell shocked because they were not use to seeing black folks as the minority. Additionally, they said my brother and I talked funny when compared to the other Cincinnati kids. Jokingly, our Cincinnati friends and family would say we sounded “white” because we talked very properly.
When at school in Virginia, it became obvious to me over time that I was different. Normally, white students made up 80% of my classes while minority students made up 20%.
If you’ve never been the in the minority at school, you’re probably not aware that you than become a minority within the minority. You would be lucky if you would find two other students with the same racial background as you.
I started feeling disconnected. I made friends with anyone but a lot of the times; my classmates truly didn’t get my struggles. They did not know how the world treated me on a daily basis.
They didn’t understand when I heard something that just didn’t feel right. It became hard to relate to a lot of the white majority classmates issues because I didn’t think they were as significant as the issues I experienced everyday. Nobody really cared about my issues, but I always helped out with their concerns.
Growing up as the minority made it hard to go to Cincinnati and identify with blacks that were use to being the majority. I could not relate to a lot of the issues that my cousins and their black friends were having.
I had a serious identity crisis. I couldn’t fully identify with most of my white classmates in my advanced classes; AND I was not black enough for my black friends & family living in the hood. I became stuck in this no man’s land.
College & Working Years
In 1999, I decided to go to Temple University. Temple was a school in which every race got a good representation. Most outsiders at the time assumed Temple was a historically black college due to the large number of black students you saw on campus. The reality at that time was black students made up 35-40% of the campus. That statistic made me feel good to be at such a diverse campus.
As an electrical engineer undergraduate, I saw the number of minority faces start to dwindle as the years moved on. It’s the nature of pursuing math and science degrees. White males overwhelmingly dominate engineering professions in America.
After graduating, my 9 to 5 hours became just like my childhood school hours. I was always one of a few black males at my company. Socially, it didn’t bother me because I was use to it as a child.
In my life, all I have ever cared about was what was true in your heart. All I ever asked is that you treat others like you want to be treated. No matter what racial background you have, treat others with respect and you were (and are) good with me!
My Daily Reality
I‘ve experienced my fair share of prejudices and racism in the work place. It’s sad because a lot of my work colleagues were in complete denial that it exists. I can see why it’s hard for my white colleagues to not see it when it happens. If you had not grown up being the minority, you don’t know the signs of it because you didn’t have to live it on a daily basis.
Outside of the work place I’ve seen people try to lump me into the negative stereotypical black man. I lost count the hundreds of times car doors locked as soon as I walked by. The clutches of purses as I walk by.
The uneasy feeling of me walking in a mall, parking lot or public area whenever there’s a white woman in front of me. Me always going out of my way to make sure I pass her so she doesn’t feel threatened by the black guy behind her. The times I’ve been pulled over by cops seeking to find just something I could be arrested for.
But I don’t want to keep talking about me, because as a black man living in America, I know it happens. I’m not here to convince my personal case. I want to focus on the larger issues.
Stop Ignoring The Problem
Not seeing and just ignoring systematic police racial profiling is what really hits me hard. It’s sad that there had to be video proof of Philando Castille being murdered for a black woman’s story to be believed. The fact that an American told you what happened was not good enough.
This US citizen had to create a live Facebook stream of her beloved dying to actually get the public to believe.
Really really badly.
If you’re a human with feelings and that didn’t sadden you, I don’t understand why not?
When Paris was under attack by a terrorist act, I saw Americans use their Facebook page with France flag color signs to signify their unity.
When I’ve been seeing these unnecessary black American deaths on the news, I don’t see the same unity. I feel that it’s treated as if it’s a TV advertisement for bird food. A person without a bird ignores the commercial because it’s not something they need in their life. Majority of folks don’t have birds so that commercial will be ignored over and over again.
This is a SERIOUS American problem that can’t be ignored anymore!
When Dallas cops were protecting Americans freedom to peacefully protest, did they deserve to be gunned down by ONE lunatic?
It really angered me when the media was feeding lies that the lunatic was a member of Black Lives Matter. Instead of getting actually facts, it was pinned on a peaceful movement.
That’s why you have to really do your research!
Knowing the facts would make you aware of the reality of these issues. If you don’t live in it, you must do your research.
You can’t let the news dedicate your world! You can’t let Fox News tell you how to feel. You can’t just watch CNN to tell you how to feel.
You can’t just go with whatever a Republican says because you’re a Republican.
You can’t agree with everything a Democrat says just because you’re a Democrat.
I hate that it’s an either/or society!
You don’t have to be Team Edward or Team Jacob.
An Autobot or Decepticon.
This is the real world. If you’re an American you’re fortunate enough to have options. You can actually think for yourself! I really wish people would actually talk to one another.
If I didn’t share my background with you, would you assume I hate all white people just because Black Lives Matter?
Who forced that false impression into your mind?
Would you believe me if I told I’ve been pulled over 10 times due to driving while black?
Would you believe me even though I don’t have a video of each instance?
Does that mean I’m against cops?
Stop making everything in the world based on two decisions. Don’t be scared to self-educate and get to the truth. That’s the only way problems are going to be solved if we start acknowledging the problem to begin with.
I just pray by the time this article is released not another senseless act of violence takes place.
In today’s post, I want to help you overcome that nagging voice inside your head. You know the one……….
NO you don’t….
Get out of here…
It’s my TURN!!!…
I won’t let you…
This is so much better!
There’s been a change in plans people! I’m here to interrupt your normally blah blah positive MicVinny blog to tell you the truth.
You see..I’ve been watching Mike closely every day since 2016 kicked off. I know all his dirty secrets.
He’s not as wise as you think he is. He’s just a little weak man that thinks he can get rid of people like myself!
Every month he has several ups and downs. And when that boy is down, that’s when I come in to steal his positivity!
You see I’m the beast Mike’s been trying to run from for all his life. You can say I’m his out of shape alternate ego.
I’m like Gollum to Mike’s Smeagol.
Call me Bubba The Beast.
Our Early Life Together
You see I first arrived in Mike’s life back in the eighties.
Back then Mike was nothing but a lazy coach potato and life was good. It was easy to gain access to sugary treats, processed nuggets and other fried snack foods! It brings tears to my eyes when thinking about those glory years.
I made sure we stayed our butts glued to the couch. There were no long bike rides in the park or daily interactions with the other neighborhood kids. The lazier we were, the more power I had in Mike’s life.
I was Mike’s best friend. All the kid needed was me plus a supersize bag of chips and a TV. What a perfect partnership. From elementary through middle school, we were BFFs.
Once high school stated, Mike tried to join the high school’s football team. Did that coach potato think he could actually be athletic?
How dare he!
I ended up having the last laugh. Mike got a dose of reality two weeks into practice. My years of sabotaging his body paid off because he injured both his knees. I put that idiot in so much pain that he never attempted another team sport while in high school.
Life got even better once that magically new invention called “the Internet” made it’s way into our house in the form of AOL. That led to late night video game and online chat room sessions. Mike had no need to venture out of the house! All his needs were meet. If only I could take care of that annoying thing called school, then I would have had all the power!
Enter College Years
Eventually Mike decided to be all smart and go to college. I didn’t know how to handle it. He was going to be exposed to stuff outside of his comfort zone, which meant he was going to go away from me.
In less than one semester he started to abandon his dependence on me. He started watching less TV and actually socialized.
Every now and then I got him to binge on some good old-fashioned sweets but it seemed he discovered this awful place called ”the gym”.
He flirted with the gym in his late high school years, but something lit a spark in him. I’m not sure if it was his track star roommate, or his sport loving college friends.
SOMETHING made Mike want to start working out more often.
That’s when I realized my life was in jeopardy!
You Can’t Abandon Me!
19 years together and he wanted to change the game! I was always there for him and now he was abandoning me. All those years of feeling overweight, who was there for him?
Me that’s who! I was always there to help him get over it by making sure he knew about the latest flavor of Doritos.
It was ME who was there when he was heart broken and told him to put that cheese on those fries!
We could have been living the dream while living in Philadelphia for college. Every corner had a sandwich shop. How dare we not binge on cheesesteaks, buffalo wings and pretzels every day!
To stay in greater shape this guy walked everywhere in that city. His two feet helped him burn tons of calories outside of the gym. He even got a job lifting heavy boxes so he could burn extra calories.
What the…Who was this guy??!!
I remember seeing his 185-pound 6’ 3” frame in the mirror and being disgusted. This wasn’t part of the plan. Mike was changing the pain by being so thin and in shape. That’s when I packed my bags, and walked out of his life.
Guess Who’s Back!
Sometime in 2008, Mike got a new job. That job required him to travel often. What Mike didn’t realize was that I was secretly getting him back under my control.
You see the genius thought he knew everything there was about getting into shape. He had been reading the best fitness articles for almost a full decade. He thought he would know how to handle his new environment.
I remember during the first weeks of his new job, he was talking nutrition to some colleagues. They gave him a look like “what do you know?”
He was flabbergasted.
It wasn’t until that night that he did a double take in the mirror. That’s when our eyes made contact again!
That’s when I was back baby!
Those years of hiding were over. I was able to get him from that 185-pound frame back into a 250 lb. behemoth.
I finally figured out what to do. All I had to do was make Mike think he was becoming muscular.
What an idiot! He didn’t notice the love handles I had strategically placed.
Oh it felt good to be back!
I wasn’t going anywhere this time. For years he kept talking all this healthy eating mumbo jumbo. With all that talk, here I was back and bigger than ever.
Release The Beast
But like in the early 2000’s, Mike decided to try to get rid of me again. It took some years, but that goodie two shoes put me back in the closet by the time he got married.