As always, let’s start this post with some topical background information regarding the upcoming summer solstice…I figure it’s not needed for a barbeque.
Many people consider the summer solstice to be the start of summer while some in the northern hemisphere refer to it as midsummer (such as Will Shakespeare and his “Midsummer Night’s Dream”). So what is a “solstice,” (it’s derived from the Latin words sol = sun and sistere = to stand still) exactly, and why does it always occur between June 20th and 22nd?
The existence of the solstices and equinoxes (there’s two of each, every year) is tied to the fact that the Earth does not float vertically in the vast expanse of space. If you draw a line through the Earth, from pole to pole, that line is not straight up and down. It’s tilted 23.4 degrees. In other words, the earth is tilted 23.4 degrees on its axis. And that tilt is why we have four seasons and their related solstices and equinoxes.
In the northern hemisphere, where I assume the vast majority of my readers live, we experience the warm summer months when the Earth is tilted towards the sun and the cooler winter months when it’s tilted away. And while the Earth’s orbit around the sun is not a perfect circle, but rather elliptical (or egg-shaped), which causes our distance from the sun to vary, this distance, or lack-there-of, has nothing to do with our seasons.
Now, back to the summer solstice and what it is. Due to that 23.4-degree tilt, the summer solstice is the exact time (this year it’s 12:24 AM on June 21st) when the sun reaches its most northern position, in this case, the Tropic of Cancer. The winter solstice is when the sun is at its most southern position, or above the Tropic of Capricorn. Thus, the Tropic lines are exactly 23.4 degrees away from the equator. Isn’t math fun?
That is why, in the northern hemisphere, we get the greatest amount of daylight during the summer solstice. In fact, the Arctic Circle will get 24 hours of daylight, Anchorage, Alaska will receive over 19 hours; Seattle, Washington almost 16 hours; Washington D.C. almost 15 hours; Miami, Florida 13 hours and 44 minutes; and Ushuaia, Argentina only gets 7 hours and 12 minutes of daylight.
Many cultures also turn the summer solstice, or midsummer, into a celebration (think Stonehenge) to include music, dance, drink and, of course, food. And the food part is where MagicKitchen.com can offer some assistance. We offer a succulent, hickory-smoked beef brisket that is glazed with a light, Kansas City-style barbeque sauce that only requires a few minutes on the grill to heat up.
If beef isn’t your thing, then how about some apple smoked, boneless pork loin? We also got you covered when it comes to sides. Simply chose from our popular BBQ sides, to include: nine-grain rolls, French green beans with mushrooms and cream sauce, haluski kapusta (say what? A lovely combination of egg noodles, onions, cabbage and kielbasa sausage), magic mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, scalloped potatoes, or stuffed baked potatoes. So this summer solstice, host a BBQ, stay up late and celebrate the “longest day of the year” with the help of MagicKitchen.com.