The list of topics covered and items curated in this issue is long, and on the spectrum of peculiarity it runs from whimsical to freakin’ strange. A small sampling: Cool sunglasses. Tomatoes. Beach vacations, the efficacy of. The National. A very stylish, very pregnant woman. Holiday Auto Theatre. Prison choirs. A Cleveland novelist and her book about a Cincinnati-based cult leader trying to conquer loneliness. Asa lebleb, lengua tacos, and zonxon noodles. Surrogate gorilla parenting. A store called Awesome Time Shoe and Leather Repair. A daguerreotype of a displeased 19th century clown wearing a polka-dot suit.
That last one, a portrait from one of the Taft Museum’s fascinating exhibits devoted to daguerreotypes, is my favorite, not just because it’s so strange but because it points to the depth of cultural richness on display this summer. The city and suburbs are bubbling over with cool things to eat, see, and do. Some of it is passing through (David Byrne and St. Vincent at the Taft! Philip Glass’s Galileo Galilei at the Cincinnati Opera!) but whether you’re quaffing cans of MadTree Brewing Company’s Gnarly Brown ale, ogling that baby gorilla at the zoo, slurping turtle soup and losing quarters at St. Rita’s Beat the Dealer tables, or sitting in the right field bleachers and cheering on the Reds as they (hopefully) continue their season-long march to total domination, most of the fun to be had is homegrown.
There are certainly more sublime foods to partake in this season (just check out the 42 dishes of global tastiness we painstakingly ate our way through for your benefit this month), but summer is not officially summer in my book until I face off with a grilled hamburger, some corn on the cob, and a heaping plate of my mom’s potato salad. (We also pay homage to five purveyors of particularly awesome potato salad.) Still, if we’re talking serious awesometime—and really, when are we not?—then it’s got to be mom’s homemade.
I know that sounds arrogant, but when it comes to potato salad recipes you have to be careful. This stuff is like gastronomical LSD—you can’t just give it to anybody. Minds have been blown. Consider that the most peculiar warning you’ll receive this summer.