In July, food radiates possibility.
Mango, blueberry, caramelised buckwheat.

In July, food radiates possibility.

Shikha Kaiwar
After a hiatus to get my mental health in order, I'm back!

Every summer, I remember the Electric Daisy Carnival. It’s a three-day rave that used to take place in Los Angeles but has since moved to Las Vegas, and as the name suggests, it's a fucking party. Roller coasters, costumes, and vibes from end to end.

In college, my friends and I attended every single summer, dressed in full festival regalia. We danced our faces off to electronic dance and house music, stayed up til the sun rises, ate Maggi noodles for breakfast, and did it again for two more days. In college, you are invincible.

We loved this tradition. EDC weekend felt like a declaration that yes, summer is here and it’s time to celebrate. It was impossible to feel unhappy.

My favorite thing about EDC was taking psychedelic mushrooms (sorry to my family in advance reading this). On mushrooms, the world looked so vivid, so alive. I felt like I had superpowers or else very the latest edition of Photoshop that cranked up the saturation on everything around me and sharpened every detail. It was overwhelming and exhilarating; it felt like this is what god—if there is one—wanted us to see. When I took mushrooms, I’d always make a note that if we only put away our phones and laptops and social media long enough in the real, non-EDC world, we could see without the help of psychedelics, at least in the summer. Because summer really is like this.

Everything is better in the summer. Time stretches into long, glorious days filled with joy and possibility. Bodies preen and prance, showing off for others and looking sexy as hell. Normal activities like grabbing coffee or exercising are rejuvenated by sun and ice cream. The fact that you can go for a run and immediately eat ice cream afterwards becomes a universal truth. The earth is alive.

And nowhere is that more clear than in the grocery store aisle in July.

When I grocery shop in July, I feel like I’m back on mushrooms. Everything appears in high definition and it’s so goddamn beautiful. Zucchini is the color of the sun in the late afternoon, golden and radiant. Blueberries burst at the seams, perfectly oval until they're not. Basil and mint infiltrate my nose and provide a cool respite to my overheated brain. Suddenly, my mind relaxes. It’s as if all these fruits and vegetables are giving it a massage and telling me to just be here, in this moment. Nowhere else.

In July, produce radiates possibility. I often catch myself daydreaming of desserts I want to make, from my tried and true clafouti to a mango tart filled with crème pâtissière. Throughout the day, I’m concocting new recipes. By the time I get to the grocery store, my hands move faster than my brain and I’ve scooped up raspberries, nectarines, apricots, cherries, cantaloupe, and duh, mango. In July, a mango a day keeps the anxiety away. I have no idea what I’m gonna do with it all, but I need it.

TBH I may not even make anything.  I may just end up eating everything in its ripe, fruity glory, and I am equally excited about that possibility too. Because July isn't about forcing yourself to do anything you don’t want to do. It’s not about proving that you’re a star chef or that you take the best photos. It’s about feasting with your eyes and then your stomach on this gorgeous technicolor world of food and being grateful that the world lets us experience this. It’s about reaching for the juiciest fruits and reflecting on what we’re doing to make ourselves this juicy too. A mango isn’t ripe all the time. It takes the entire year to get to this point, to be saffron-hued and sweet and summery—to reach its peak. It can’t be like this 24/7, and neither can we. Are we resting, nourishing, growing? Are we prioritising ourselves? Are we absorbing enough sun and drinking enough water?

We are just like the cherries and peaches and melons and strawberries in my shopping basket. We can only ripen when we’re ready too.