How do you celebrate June?

By: 
Patrick Fisher, The New Prague Times

For many people around New Prague, they already know June is National Dairy Month. A time to bring awareness about dairy farmers and celebrate the vast assortment of foods that come from dairy, such as milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, custard, cottage cheese, cream cheese, yogurt and many others.

Like many people when I was a youngster I preferred chocolate milk over plain milk. I can imagine that a lot of us grew up with an exasperated sigh from our parents when we chose chocolate milk, but they let it go since we were at least getting milk, which was somewhat better over the more surgery and caffeinated pop.

Recently I was among a group of people reminiscing about how some of our ice cream shops were only open between the spring and early fall. Where I grew up in Thief River Falls, we had a small Dairy Queen that mainly only served soft serve ice cream, Dilly Bars, dipped cones, sundaes, banana splits, shakes, malts and, my favorite, the Buster Bar. This was a few years before the Peanut Buster Parfait, the Blizzard and their ice cream cakes. The place was small, taking up about the same amount of space of one of today’s food trucks. On warm days it was one of the busiest places in town. Kids or families stopping by while on bike rides or families driving up in cars, parking and then walking up to wait in line to get a treat. It opened in the spring as soon as there was nice warm weather and then shuttered sometime in August. That building was torn down to make way for a much larger Dairy Queen Brazier, which includes meals, and now stays open all year.

Like every month, June also has other national events or campaigns that some want to be recognized. Quite a few center on food as it is also the month for national campaigns on Fresh Fruit and Vegetables, Country Cooking, Iced Tea, Papaya, Soul Food, Turkey Lovers and Candy. The last one brings to mind how there were some candies I had growing up that you can only find in speciality candy stores these days. Among them are candy cigarettes, while some had a mint flavor, most were chalky. I even remember somebody doing a poem or short story about how they would hang out at street corners with a candy cigarette hanging out of their mouth, waiting for an older woman to walk by. When she started scolding them on being too young to smoke, they would start to eat the candy. Other national events this month are Zoo and Aquarium, might be time for a trip to one of the zoos in the Twin Cities area, and two that go hand in hand are Great Outdoors and Camping. It’s also National Accordion Awareness Month, checking the internet there’s apparently no month for the concertina. One website even considered the two instruments interchangeable, although others do point out the difference between them.

While not listed, June is also the time when a lot of people break out their grills and cook old favorites or try new recipes. I have one friend near Northfield who enjoys trying different recipes. One time I was invited over when he and his family had bacon wrapped burgers with cheese in the middle. They were big, juicy and filling! He also likes grilling paella in a monster size skillet. (A 22-inch size Weber grill may be big enough for the skillet.) That’s usually when there is a lot of company coming over. The dish includes shrimp, chicken, rice and lots of vegetables and once done usually requires two people to carry the skillet inside.

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