Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

Small Doses

It’s summer and it’s been hot for a while here in Richmond, VA. It is my considered opinion that things are best attempted in small doses during the dog days. Too much effort makes it difficult to pursue all-around elegance.

For example:

(Or filtered tap… whatever is at hand)

Exercise. The golden rule applies more than ever here. Hydrate and then start your work out. My “15 Minute Hell” is supplemented by some leisurely laps in the pool and a day or two of sprints, a few of day pull ups. Never more than 10 minutes worth of anything extra. It’s just too hot and I am left spent by the exertion.

(Image: Thrifter)

Dining. Since it’s summer, the abundance of fresh produce is a joy to include with each meal. Handfuls of fresh berries (and nuts) in the morning as a snack, avocados (instead of mayonnaise) and (Hanover) tomatoes on a BLT at lunches, more fruit for a mid-afternoon snack, and fresh fish with salad for dinners are fairly typical fare around the manse these days. Smaller portions, fresher ingredients are also the building blocks for tapas. Grazing has to be the most civilised form of eating. Three jumbo shrimp/prawns sautéed in olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic and parsley served with a crust of good bread (or a large forkful of al dente pasta) and a glass of wine, followed by a salad, is not only an easy meal to make, but a more healthful one as well. A two or three egg Tortilla Espagñola is perfect to spilt as a room temperature supper. A single grilled lamb chop alongside some asparagus steamed in the microwave and dressed with vinaigrette makes a delightful luncheon and doesn’t heat up the kitchen. A glass of cold gazpacho at three PM. You get the idea, small dishes, maybe just a few more or just a little more often.

Drinking. Moderation is so much easier for me when it’s truly hot. Unless the beverage in question is icy cold. Which is why I stock up on cases of sparkling (soda) water (usually Mandarine Orange or Lime flavoured, unsweetened). The rest of the time I “Think Pink!” Dry rosé has to be one of the best things about summer. Don’t discount pink champagne and sparkling wines. Just look for those that are dry. In fact, they’ll be drier than their paler siblings. Just make sure you’re hydrated, especially if you plan on exercising the next morning.

(Yes, I love it too. But it was a period piece.)

Dressing. Spectators OR a straw hat. Linen trousers OR shirt. Summer suit (even linen) OR sockless loafers. White bucks OR a seersucker suit. It is very easy to slip into what would be considered costume (by most) when it’s steamy outside. I think adding one natty piece of kit at a time to your warm weather clothing keeps you well within the boundaries and won’t scare the children or horses.

7 thoughts on “Small Doses

  1. Yes, I completely agree with moderation and cutting back. I’m sure my lemon slices in my gin and tonic are a little smaller then normal in the heat of the summer. Baby steps, I say.

    I do find for me, though, that when it is truly hot, I just forego eating during the day altogether. Breakfast. Dinner. Done. My wife follows the grazing approach, and it suits her just fine. Although, I am currently wearing sockless white buck on my left foot, spectator on my right, linen suit, linen shirt, oh forget it, this joke is just taking too long.

  2. Nice post! I’m with you on the simple elegant stuff. I like Caprese salads & wine spritzers for summer lunch & dinners.

  3. From an email subscriber:

    I love your posts, but “steaming asparagus in the microwave” is a no-no. Microwaving destroys the nutritional value as well as changes the composition of the molecules of anything the waves defile. Much better to simply steam or saute.

  4. Throw the asparagus on the grill with the lamb chop. Toss the veg in a little olive oil, salt and fresh ground pepper and some rosemary…. maybe 3-5 minutes a side to char/cook. It’s a whole new world my friend.

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