Friends, food, and the Fourth of July

Photo of railroad tracks

I’m back in Boston after the most enjoyable weekend that took me out of the city and away from the heat. I hope everyone else had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend as well, whether it was a few days on the beach, a poolside barbeque, or watching fireworks on the Esplanade. I realized this weekend that it doesn’t even matter what you do, as long as you’re surrounded by the people you love.

If you’re just out of college, holidays are the perfect opportunity to set some precedents for future mini-reunions and meet ups. When I was in college, I already knew that I’d made friends for life. After graduation, when everyone disperses to different cities with different goals and career paths, it can feel like the distance will cause a drift. This weekend only reaffirmed that my friendships are as solid as ever.

Poolside

And nothing brings people together like food. It is important to nourish the relationships you already have, and make a good impression for new introductions. My friends and I definitely indulged in nourishment, and it only helped fuel our epic weekend. I started mine off right with a backyard barbecue.

One of my go-to’s for summertime get-togethers is this Cucumber Mango Salsa, adapted from Simply Scratch. Refreshing, sweet, and a little spicy, this salsa is sure to win you love and affection from friends old and new.

Gather ingredients.

 Salsa ingredients

Slice cucumbers lengthwise.

 Sliced cucumbers

And scoop out their guts (or your salsa will be too watery).

 Cucumber guts

Lay cucumbers out to dry on a paper towel while you chop up mango & red onion.

Dry cucumbers

Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Add lime juice, salt and pepper. 

 Cucumber kaleidoscope

Stir and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 Mango-Cucumber mix

If you can, prepare your salso day ahead of time for a greater intensity of flavor. I recommend serving with Tostito’s multigrain sccops, but this is also a great addition to salads or alongside some grilled seafood.

Cucumber-Mango Salsa

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber
  • Mango
  • Red onion
  • Lime juice
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • Optional: Jalapeño, avocado,  cilantro

Serve with: Chips, pita bread

Pair with: Salads, tacos, quesadillas, seafood

Boston: Where the unimaginable is a guarantee

Last weekend,  Boston celebrated its 43rd annual Gay Pride Parade.  Participants and onlookers of all ages gathered on the beautiful June day to promote equality and celebrate sexual diversity.

Photo of Pride Parade 2013

Half-dressed marchers danced to the beat of Top 40,  “Queers of Yesteryear” rolled by on carriages, and fully robed Wiccans blessed a few lucky bystanders.

Photo Queers of Yesteryear

This was my first time attending Pride. Both the atmosphere and the energy made me think of what the Mummers Parade of Philadelphia must have looked like in its prime.

Photo of Mummers Parade

Courtesy of WeSellFineArt.com

Another highlight of the day includes the participation of NBA player Jason Collins, the first male US athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay. Jason came out just this past April, and walked alongside Congressman Joe Kennedy (his former college roommate) in the parade on Saturday.

Photo of Jason Collins at Pride Parade

Courtesy of CBS News

As I mentioned, there was an electric energy that reverberated throughout the crowd. Despite the mass numbers of attendees, there was an intimate sense of community that united us all amid the festivities. Massachusetts was the first state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage with the Goodridge v. Department of Public Health Supreme Court ruling in 2004. And Boston’s been celebrating ever since.

Photo of Boston Pride Parade

I am proud to be part of a city that is so unquestionably, outwardly, and genuinely accepting. In this, we are truly a unique part of the country; achieving such a level of inclusion is still viewed as unimaginable to much of the country. So while everyone else struggles to catch up, come join our party. Boston Pride is proof that there is room enough for everybody.