Summer’s Down Elevator

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Make the most of the last weeks of summer, whether you’re dreading the end of the season or dancing about it.
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We’re nearing the middle of August, summer at its ripest. Earlier this week, a New York weather Twitter account issued a reminder that, depending on your disposition, could be taken as good tidings or as a bit of a bummer:
I’m in the latter camp, but I’m working through it. A lifelong partisan of summer’s long days, I try not to feel cross at those who come alive when the light gets lower. I try not to feel personally attacked by the candy corn display in the drugstore, by Billy Crystal in his fisherman sweater and sweatpants.
Recently, my colleague Sam Sifton and I were discussing the matter of summer’s passing, and when I began to get rueful, he stopped me. “We’re not in the down elevator just yet,” he said. This was at the end of July, and I agreed. There were still six weeks till Labor Day. We were still in the middle of the ascent.
So rather than pressing every floor’s button trying vainly to make the elevator stop, I’m determined to enjoy the ride.
First off, it’s peak corn on the cob and Caprese season, time to go full tomato mode. It’s also s’mores season, and I’m excited to try replacing graham crackers with saltines, as my colleague Tanya Sichynsky suggested, for a slightly less-sweet treat. There’s still plenty of summer left: time for letting your mind wander, for hitting Coney Island, for tracking the migrations of ships and sharks.
Another way to stave off the sense of things ending: Make plans. This is the time to book a trip, to fill your calendar with meet-ups and movies, to plant seeds that will blossom when the weather turns colder. “Imagining good things ahead of us makes us feel better in the current moment,” the psychologist Simon A. Rego told The Times.
At Sam’s recommendation, I checked out Robert McCloskey’s 1958 Caldecott Medal-winning “Time of Wonder” from the library. It’s a picture book about a summer spent on the islands of Maine. The book captures well that wistfulness of loving summer and leaving it behind: “Take a farewell look at the waves and sky. Take a farewell sniff of the salty sea. A little bit sad about the place you are leaving, a little bit glad about the place you are going.”
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🍿 “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (limited engagement starting this weekend): August is often a terrible month for new movies, but we’re in a particularly dry spell at the moment. I know what I’ll be doing this weekend, though: taking my kid to see the 40th anniversary rerelease of this classic Steven Spielberg film, which is playing at select IMAX screen locations across the country. Everyone, I watched the trailer and the music made me tear up. The music. (I will also be seeing “Jaws” when it gets a rerelease on IMAX screens, starting Sept. 2.)
📚 “Heat 2” (out now): If you know a guy who likes crime dramas, then you might know someone who likes “Heat,” the epic — in length, at least — 1995 film starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer. (There’s an easy test to discern whether or not someone likes “Heat.” Just say the line “For me, the action is the juice” and see whether or not they smile in recognition.) The director Michael Mann has now published a novel with the thriller writer Meg Gardiner that serves as both prequel and sequel to the film. I’m so excited to read this that I looked at my copy the other day and said, “Brother, you are going down.” (Just to be clear, that’s also a line from “Heat.”)

My family just returned from a nearly two-week vacation, and I have to admit, easing back into the nightly ritual of cooking dinner has been a challenge. Happily, Samantha Seneviratne has my back with her delightful one-pot coconut rice with shrimp and corn. Although you can make it in winter with frozen corn, it’s really sensational with the fresh corn that’s available right now. Her tip for cutting the kernels off the cob is my go-to method: Lay the cob flat on the cutting board for slicing, rather than standing it upright; it’s much faster and less messy. The coconut milk adds just the right richness here, balanced with jalapeño, ginger and loads of fresh lime juice and zest. It’s a satisfying combination, all year long.
A selection of New York Times recipes is available to all readers. Please consider a Cooking subscription for full access.
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Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times. — Melissa
Matthew Cullen, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Ashley Wu contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at
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