But this year, for reasons of COVID, there was no trip to the beach. And while I regret that terribly, a little part of me is secretly glad. The cooking part.
The problem is, we are getting old and infirm. Even the younger ones among us are getting infirm. And that makes cooking for the group harder and harder still.
One of us is allergic to fish, which is practically a tragedy when at the beach. She can eat all of the shellfish she wants — which is important when another tradition is buying a half-bushel of ridiculously overpriced steamed crabs for dinner — but she can’t have fish that swims.
No mahi-mahi. No tuna. No black sea bass.
No salmon. It’s not native to the East Coast, but still: No salmon.
Another one of our number, after years of unexplained-but-worsening stomach troubles, has finally found relief with a low-FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols, which I’m sure I don’t have to tell you are short chain sugars that are not easily digested or absorbed in the intestines.
Basically, she experiences tremendous discomfort or pain if she eats a wide variety of foods, many of which are exactly the kinds of thing I like to cook at the beach: sweet corn, onions, garlic, mushrooms, peaches (her husband makes a peach pie at the beach every year), cherries, watermelon, breads, cereals, pastas, crackers, nuts, milk, cream, ice cream, custard and soft cheese.