Terri Taylor, Editor, and Nanci Taylor, Publisher, Edible Dallas & Fort Worth
photo by Melinda Ortley
The unfettered moments captured by photographers Melinda Ortley and Kelly Yandell say volumes about life’s simple pleasures. A young superman runs through the waters at Klyde Warren Park, a small girl anticipates her first bite of a handcrafted popsicle, two siblings embrace while fishing at Bachman Lake.
This issue of Edible Dallas & Fort Worth will guide you to some of our area’s best urban parks, patios and green spaces. Why is it that food tastes better when enjoyed outdoors, asks writer Teresa Gubbins? The answer is one that we all innately know. When we venture outside, our senses become more engaged.
A fresh tomato-goat cheese tart, prepared by artisan baker Gwin Grimes, is even more scrumptious when enjoyed under the stars while listening to a summer concert at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. A picnic basket filled with Mason jars of basil chicken salad, mushroom pâté and lemonade become a veritable feast when chef Robert Lyford shares it on the steps of the old McKinney courthouse with wife Kaci during a stolen moment away from work
“Lean forward a little bit,” peach grower Laura Jo Halverson warns visitors who are about to bite into one of her orchard’s ready-to-burst, ripe peaches. Kelly Yandell visits with Laura Jo and her husband Ken at their Larken Farms Orchard near Waxahachie. Late frosts destroyed much of the state’s early peach crop; a tough fact that makes those precious dribbles of juice taste all the sweeter.
Summer brings discovery. “I never felt so close to the garden,” writes Eve Hill-Agnus after a week of eating raw foods. Along with raw foodies Haylee Otto and Phebe Phillips, she picnics at the Dallas Arboretum on a spread that includes summer corn-squash soup, saucy enoki mushrooms and glasses of Texas viognier. What better time to go raw than when summer gardens are at their peak?
On a hike through an urban greenbelt, FT33’s celebrated chef Matt McCallister teaches me about the edible delights of foraged watercress, spring onions, oyster mushrooms and stinging nettles (which, with the help of rubber gloves, can be tamed into a tasty, nutritious soup). The experience conjures up memories of childhood discoveries, while poking around overgrown lots and woods with my younger sisters long ago.
So much weighty dialogue swirls around food politics these days. Maybe we should take a summer break from the seriousness of it all. Let’s take time to enjoy the sensuousness of nature: the rainbow of summer vegetables at farmers markets, the sticky wedges of watermelon on a picnic table, the slap on the lake’s surface as that fresh catch is being reeled to shore. Let’s celebrate real food, simply for the joy of it. Isn’t it time you shared a picnic basket with someone you love? There’s no better moment than the present.
Our thanks to Kim Pierce, Janice Provost and friends for their moving tribute to beloved chef Randall Copeland, whose generosity and kind, gregarious demeanor will be greatly missed.