Nick previously lived in Indiana for 10 months before we moved to Indianapolis together. He grew up outside of Milwaukee, so he knows the Midwest intimately and the frosty months. That’s something everyone from the area talks about, the weather, and ice and snow.
The opposite of winter is summer, which I heard less about. Having grown up on the coasts and never been in the center of the United States, my impression became that the middle of the country needed more warmth. Maybe because I never asked since Al Roker always gave me the lowdown. From January until March, he would say,”… blustery February snowstorms in Chicago with temperatures in the teens moving over to the northeast, dropping temperatures to the single digits.” Or something like that.
Post-holiday seasons and into any new year, the Southern California population from Santa Barbara to San Diego would lounge in shorts, maybe putting on a jacket, venturing out with the dogs or in the evening for a red-carpet event. Indeed, there were dramatic Hollywood seasons when a Mr. Freeze-like El Nino or La Nina laid into the Malibu Ken and Barbie’s lifestyle. Still, it was temperate for 60 percent of the two decades I resided in the Golden State. (Now, the Bay Area in the summer was cold. Talk about a mindf**k.)
For all the wind and chill in Indiana, getting to summer makes skidding on black ice almost worth it. Arguably, it’s the best season anywhere on Earth. I don’t mean that lightly, either. I’ve spent time in parts of Europe during spring and summer. Winter and fall in Asia, South America and Australia. A cool season in Morocco.
When the dandelion seed-like clouds gently brush against a glass cleaner blue tinted sky, I believe in Mother Nature. I feel that there needs to be a balance with natural seasons. I know this will change. The last pandemic winter saw a drop to minus double-digits during the holidays but still managed to be the 17th warmest on record, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Nary, a snowflake, caught an eyelash.
Now, when I’m asked what my favorite thing about living in the middle of the country is, I always say the summer. Best thing ever.
Indiana BBQ Sauce
I know that the fourth of July is over but you always need a good homemade sauce. It can be smeared on to any grilled protein, including fish like salmon, taking it from good to stupendous. In the Hoosier State, everything has a tendency to be a little sweeter. Most likely, that’s been handed down over generations using maple syrup which can be found in abundance with the trees that grow throughout the region. Importantly, King Rib, the first drive through for slabs, serves a mighty tasty version.
According to food historian Robert Moss, in a story he wrote for Serious Eats, pork ribs began in early 20th century in Indianapolis and Ohio with industrial meatpacking.
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1/4 cup of maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon of onion powder
- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 1 or teaspoons black pepper
- Hot sauce (adjust to your desired level of spiciness)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- water (optional, for thinning the sauce)
How to Make:
- Combine all the ingredients in a in a saucepan. Stir well incorporating all the dry ingredients into the wet. Simmer over low heat stirring frequently to prevent burning or sticking. . Allow the sauce to simmer over low heat for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken slightly. Adjust all seasonings according to your preference. You can add more sweetness with additional brown sugar or more tanginess with extra vinegar. If you want it spicier, increase the amount of hot sauce.