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Michele Marchetti: My Summer Food Bucket List

by on July 11, 2012 6:00 AM

Recently, as I was pulling my lunch out of the office fridge, my colleague threw the tinfoil off two hotdogs and blushed.

“I’m so embarrassed,” he remarked with a sheepish grin.

Hoping he wouldn’t notice the large pile of beet green and string bean stir-fry in my Pyrex container, I assured him that that there was no shame in the hot dog, especially in the summer. “I’m sure I’ll be eating one at some point this weekend.”

I’ve had some version of that exchange nearly a dozen times since I started writing this column. People wrongly assume that my support for healthy school lunches or our local growers makes me a member of the food police.

I am not. Meat, sugar and fat are part of my diet. I believe in dessert — after or for breakfast. And I worry about my sugar intake. As much as I love kale, I could cut it out in an instant if I learned it was hurting my body.

Since I tend to eat the unhealthiest in the summer — damn you, barbecue — I’m sharing my summer food bucket list: a gluttonous list of my favorite, local summertime eats.

Enjoy. Especially that hotdog.

Creamery for Dinner: Creamery is an obvious addition to the list. But nothing will win you more points as a parent if the words “Death by Chocolate” follow the question “What’s for dinner?”

Funnel cake at DelGrosso's: The powered sugar will adhere to your sunscreen, making you look like you smeared zinc all over your body. And you’ll feel a full five pounds heavier after you eat it. But you won’t regret this king of carnival food, especially if you wash it down with one of those overpriced lemonades.

Cobbler and Pie for Breakfast: All that delicious local fruit shines in cobbler and pie. Now that Webster’s is open, I’ve started the highly dangerous habit of eating Sweet Indulgence pie for breakfast. And yesterday I brought my left over blueberry cobbler from Otto’s to the office for breakfast. (Of course, nobody saw me eating that.)

Local hot dogs: While I love a good hot dog, I’m a bit of a snob about which ones I’ll eat. I steer clear of those sold at baseball games and amusement parks, and reserve my indulgence for backyard barbecues. Nearly everyone we have over for dinner comments on the hotdogs we buy from Over the Moon. And not about the lack of nitrates; they swoon over the flavor. Trust me, these dogs—not to mention their grass-fed burgers—are worth the money.

Homemade Amish potato chips and dip: Here’s an easy, crowd-pleasing appetizer to bring to your next barbecue. Pick up an extra large bag (make that two) of Amish potato chips and Tait Farm’s chipotle dip, then simply mix the contents of the spice bag with sour cream or Greek yogurt. Add a growler from Otto’s or Elk Creek Café and you’ll be the hit of the party.

Arts Fest Helmut’s Strudel: Last year I took a break from work and walked to Allen Street for a cup of ice coffee and an almond-apricot strudel. (If you haven’t noticed, they always sell out of this flavor, so stock up early.) I remember sitting in the blistering sun, biting into the steaming hot pastry, and wondering whether I should limit my strudel consumption to First Night. I’ll be there on Wednesday, and I don’t expect to be sharing with my kids.

Recent Columns:

Michele Marchetti is a freelance writer and the former managing editor of Prior to moving to State College, she spent more than 10 years writing for national magazines. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Fortune, Fortune Small Business, Glamour, U.S. News & World Report, Runner's World, Good Housekeeping, Working Mother, Yoga Life and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Follow her on Twitter at or contact her at
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