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A Weekend Away Does Mika Good (Or Stop Settling and Enjoy Seriously Good Food!)

We’re excited to welcome Mika Sneddon to On Our Plate. Mika writes behind the scenes at Fairway. She also wears many hats as the Digital Community Manager, a Copywriter, a member of the Marketing team, and more. Mika writes here about (re)discovering the magical powers of delicious food.

Over Memorial Day Weekend I went Upstate (NY) with a small group to stay at our friend’s family’s country house. This is where I discovered that home cooking and fresh air perhaps really do heal all ailments. Even grumpiness.

Over the weekend I was inspired by the snacks, treats, and meals I got to eat. Got to experience, really. The taste of a burger made with the care of a loving mother (even when it’s not your own mom), really hits the spot! And thus my curiosity and adventurous spirit were employed to come back to the city and create my own mesmerizing spread for Fourth of July. Here’s how it went…

A few months ago, I felt like I was just about ready to go live out my “golden years” in the warmth of the Florida sunshine. My bones couldn’t handle the cold winters or something. I saw myself clipping coupons, socializing at Bingo night, and talking to my pet bird. Was I old? Was I lazy? Was I vitamin-D deficient? Perhaps the hustle and bustle of NYC was beginning to take its toll.

Yes, the everyday grind and chaos, frequently found in the form of public transportation, had me feeling a bit old. So, as you can imagine, it was a pleasant and almost overwhelming delight to have a mother cook for me for three days straight. My friend’s mother, Nina, instructed us to relax (as if we needed prompting to do nothing), as she buzzed around the house and kitchen. I felt I was being doted on like a warrior returned from the concrete battlefields of two-way sidewalk traffic.

Loving Mom + Great Cook

On one night, Nina served us cheeseburgers – thick and juicy and made from freshly ground organic beef on a brioche bun. On the side we had refreshing homemade coleslaw, which I witnessed her whip up in all but a few minutes – simple just with cabbage, lemon, a little mayo, a dash of spices, and perhaps a secret ingredient or two that I missed. She also created the most delicious homemade potato salad in the world. I am not at liberty to reveal her entire recipe, but perhaps the words “red wine vinegar”, “shallots”, and “mustard seed” will inspire you to create your own recipe. I’m sure she put magic in it, too, so you’re going to want to find some of that as well.

Throughout the course of our stay, I had felt like a kid again. On the next day, I had snuck into the kitchen in between lunch and dinner and put left over potato salad on hardy whole grain bread with cracked pepper turkey and a slice of thick gourmet honey glazed country bacon. As I ate it, I couldn’t help but think, “You are biting into the greatest invention in the world.” Try it; it will change your life.

Later that day, as I snacked on fruit kabobs by the pool, I considered never coming back to the city. I could live off the land and do chores as rent, I mused. Surely the houseplant I was able to keep alive qualified me as a farmer. But as the chunks of fresh pineapple and watermelon disappeared off my skewer, so did the vestiges of my dream to be an agriculturalist. Alas, my inspiration lies within fresh fruit.

I also spent a lot of the weekend roaming around the house and yard; cleaning the pool, chasing rats, and feeding the most enormous goose I’ve ever seen in my life – my first thought was, “yum”. I started to feel different. Was I growing young, I wondered? Was the clear air and homemade food actually refilling me with the youth I left at my alma mater in Massachusetts? Yes, I concluded. It seemed the only logical explanation.

Coming Home Inspired

Needless to say, I walked away from the weekend with a new appetite and youthful curiosity for the food world. I realized that over the past few months, the inundation of tasks at work and one-dimensional dishes offered at the late-night diner had me in a state that I can only describe as malaise.

Here I was, standing in the MIDDLE of the food industry, treating the store I see every day as a personal snack pantry. I had to go into Fairway with fresh eyes now – to really see and discover again what it has to offer. It’s so much and it’s all here for us. It’s delicious food for the sake of being delicious food; no pomp, no prestige; just to taste good.

With this in mind, I look forward to a Fourth of July filled with the most delicious foods I can get my hands on, and I urge you to do the same. I’ll want to include refreshing fruit kabobs – cut fresh for a cooling treat or to put on the grill for the sweet half of the meal. I’ll definitely want to include fresh ground beef – grass-fed because it’s leaner and I’ll be seen in a bathing suit. And most definitely, potato salad – If you don’t have time for homemade, the Lucia potato salad found at the Fairway deli counter is virtually the same. It’s no frills; just straight-forward classic potato salad.

My hope for this Fourth of July is to celebrate for real. Memorial Day Weekend was a good relaxer and eye-opener, but now summer is in full swing and I want to be ready! I hope you’ll do the same. Fairway really gives us all access to the most amazing foods the world has to offer. Don’t just go for the usual or settle for the diner like I was doing a few months ago. Take advantage of what Fairway has housed for your discovery; your exploration; your appetite to be renewed. Be in the middle of it with us!





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