How Focaccia Saved Summer

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It has been a very strange summer, and I realize that, by now, we are well into fall, but it takes me some time to get my system up and running at full speed again after the summer season. Because I hate it. It’s sweaty and exhausting, and it makes all the parts of living in a crowded city that are already bad unbearable. My dog agrees with my sentiments about the heat, as well, which means he refuses to go for walks longer than 10 minutes, and long walks with Charlie have become the closest thing I have to therapy.

It has been a very strange summer, and I realize that, by now, we are well into fall, but it takes me some time to get my system up and running at full speed again after the summer season. Because I hate it. It’s sweaty and exhausting, and it makes all the parts of living in a crowded city that are already bad unbearable. My dog agrees with my sentiments about the heat, as well, which means he refuses to go for walks longer than 10 minutes, and long walks with Charlie have become the closest thing I have to therapy.

On top of all of that? Baking and cooking become somewhat nightmarish endeavors once the temperature crosses a certain threshold. And those are two more of my biggest stress relievers. This summer, however, I found a way to minimize my time spent in the (home) kitchen, while making satisfying meals that felt like they were still thoughtful and very much homemade. As a bonus, I got to wring at least one positive out of Korea’s unbearably hot, humid season — the ability to rise bread with very little fussing and no praying.

Focaccia, I think, is most familiar to Americans as a bread eaten on its own as a side or cut down the middle for sandwiches, but it’s also often used in place of a pizza dough base in Italy, piled with sauce, cheese and other toppings. That’s where the effortless part came in this summer, as I almost always have leftover pesto hanging around in the warmer months, and I realized focaccia also made a great receptacle for any leftover veggies I had laying around after most of the week’s grocery shopping was exhausted.

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