The July/August Issue

As summer quickly unfurls and temperatures soar to new heights, there's something comforting about a lakeside lounge with a good magazine. That's precisely how I enjoyed the new July/August issue of Martha Stewart Living, which is on newsstands now: seated on a chaise-longue at "the point" (as we call the rocky promontory that juts out into the water) down by the lake at my parents' cottage.
I was a bit taken aback by how thin the issue is for a double issue - just over 100 pages - recalling the summer issues of years past that approached the 200-page mark. But such is the state of the magazine industry these days. I'll take what I can and savour it just the same.

The issue feels good - a nice ode to 'summer splendor' as the front cover announces. There is a thorough summer guide to 102 places in the United States worth visiting that I'll file away for my next visit south of the border, which may not be until a year or so from now, given the state of things. The Good Things section has a nice recipe for homemade vanilla ice cream I may have to try and a nice five-ingredient chocolate-chip cookie that is gluten-free. Everyday Food presents four easy summery pasta dishes that look truly delicious and a tart-looking fruit kompot that uses peaches, plums and strawberries to give it an extra zing.
The well of the magazine covers all the bases, from food to gardens to interiors - which is something I always appreciate. It opens with a feature devoted to simple, seasonal meals that make the most of summer produce and fresh ingredients. A garden feature by Johanna Silver and photos by Claire Takacs about the evolution of a Washington state property from a fussy English garden to something decidedly more Zen (and lower-maintenance) was a good read. It proves you can change your mind when it comes to your garden choices and still come out ahead. The star of the issue, however, is the cover story about peaches by Christian Wright and photos by Paola + Murray. Who doesn't love a ripe, juicy peach -  not to mention that cute emoji? This versatile fruit is the very definition of midsummer.
Five desserts are presented that put peaches in the starring role. There's a fluffy meringue, a creamy tart, a tangy fruit salad and refreshing fruit pops. But the centerpiece of the article is definitely the Cardamom-Scented Peach-Apricot Cobblers with its warm, syrup-glazed fruit under a fluffy shortcake topping. It's on my "to-bake" list for August.

The issue quietly fades out, literally, with a feature on using sheer fabrics in interiors to lighten the space. The ideas are great but I found the palette of the feature to be a bit grey and dull. I know they were going for "light as air" but some blue or light green touches would have infused the photos with a little more vibrancy. Still, the little mesh screen on page 94 would look wonderful in my living room.  All in all, a fun issue and a nice poolside or lakeside read on a warm summer afternoon.


Favourite Good Thing: Five-Ingredient Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, page 54

Favourite Recipe: Cardamom-Scented Peach-Apricot Cobblers, page 86

Favourite Find: Colour-blocked pillows by Coterie, page 27

Favourite Feature: A Natural Progression by Johanna Silver with photos by Claire Takacs, page 76

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