Summer in the Deep South is no joke. Every day is a jam-packed adventure of drenching sweats, frizzy hair, oppressive humidity, and biting insects. I've been exposed to those elements my entire life. One would think that the longer you live in an environment, the easier it gets to cope with the elements. I swannee to goodness, it's having the opposite effect on me.
Lest you think I've forgotten what a blessing it is to live in my beloved South, I need to stop right here and recall some of my most cherished childhood memories that occurred during Deep South summer months. To this very day, I love to get lost in daydreams of blackberry picking, pea shelling, creek swimming, rope swinging, dollar store flip-flop wearing, screen door slamming, sweet tea brewing, fans oscillating, and manual ice cream churns churning. I'd silently giggle every time Granny pulled a damp handkerchief from her bosom, wiped her face and brow, and exclaimed, "Whew! It's sho' 'nuff hawt weather." Now I find myself doing the same thing, frequently.
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During the harsh summer months, this usually agreeable, happy-go-lucky person, cranks up her grump-o-meter to wide open. I constantly search for magazines, pieces of cardboard, newspaper, or something similar that I can use as a fan anytime I feel like I'm about to become combustible. Of late, I've taken to keeping collapsible cute little fabric fans in my purse. Naturally, I bought every color of the fans I could find so I'd have a color that coordinates with my clothes, for heaven's sake. Some folks don't leave home until they're sure they have their mobile phone with them. I, on the other hand, double check my fan situation long before I give my mobile phone a second thought.
To combat the heat, we look for all the cold food and drinks we can find to shove down our throats. Cold and creamy is just the ticket to help cope with the summer heat and you’re getting both with Frozen Berry Cheesecake Salad with Bourbon Whipped Cream. A cheesecake-type base houses fresh strawberries and blueberries along with bourbon-flavored freshly whipped cream. I folded in crumbled shortbread cookies to play up the cheesecake crust aspect. The portion sizes are small so you can get away with having three or four at a time.
Now, I'm sure the 800-pound question rolling around your head is “Why in the Sam Hill is this called salad?” The answer to that is a whole different conversation. I’ll be happy to entertain that conversation with you at a later date after the weather cools down just a tad. Because, right now, let’s stay focused on trying to keep cool because it’s sho’ ‘nuff hawt weather.
WATCH: This Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a Southern Classic
With a mind toward the upcoming Independence Day holiday, I served this cheesecake salad in stars and stripes baking cups. If you’re sad about missing your local Fourth of July parade because it’s too dadgum hot to stand on the asphalt waiting on the floats and the VFW band to come by, have a patriotic celebration in your backyard. Whether your backyard celebration is large with tons of folks, or small with only Aunt Poo, Uncle Frog, and the twins, you can honor our Founders who had the foresight to seek independence and the patriots who had the courage to fight for it.
Jackie Garvin is an Alabama born and raised, award-winning author and cook. She is the author of the popular Southern food blog, "Syrup and Biscuits", and two Southern-inspired cookbooks: Biscuits and Sweet Potato Love. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and Basset Hound, both of whom are well fed.