5 Ways for a Foodcentric Phoenician to Stay Busy in the Summer

It's awfully hot to garden. In fact, it's awfully hot to go out to go out to eat. So we thought we'd share a list of "must dos" for food-grower to enjoy indoors, before it's time for fall planting. From books and films to TV shows and classes, there's a lot to do that will help you get excited about the next growing (and eating) season...and keep you cool indoors.

See also: Tired of Buying Soil? Composting Is the Answer

Go to the Movies 
You can settle in and watch movies on Netflix, or you can go to the theater. Chef opened in May, but is still in many Valley theaters. It's the story a Los Angeles chef who embarks on a journey to rediscover his career in food, which involves the restoration of a food truck that serves Cubanos. Funny yet emotion, the film stars and is produced, written by Jon Favreau. With a bevy of other recognizable cast members, even your friends will enjoy this film. One word of advice--don't go hungry!

Coming out in early August is The Hundred Foot Journey, the tale of an Indian restaurant in that opens across Michelin-starred French restaurant in the South of France. Starring Helen Mirren and Manish Dayal, the film is based on the international best-seller by Richard C. Morais and counts Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey as producers.

Watch TV 
Don't have cable? That's okay, check out Food Fighters on NBC beginning July 22. Adam Richman (yes, that guy) hosts a show that concept pits "home-grown" cooks against professional chefs as each creates a version of the amateurs' signature or family dish. Plus, the first "season" is only 8 episodes, perfect summer watching!

Go Shopping Shopping is one of the best things to do indoors. Lucky for you, by mid-August the Southwest Gardener will have re-located to The Newton, which is conveniently also the home of Changing Hands Bookstore's Phoenix location. Stock up for the fall or find inspiration for a new garden project.

Read a Book Best Food Writing 2013: In case you missed it when it came out in February, the latest edition of the Best Food Writing by Holly Hughes, is here. Some of the essays fall flat, but most are worth the read. Chefs, food writers and chef-writers are the authors of this nearly 50 essay compilation seeped in the American food scene.

It's Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It: Misadventures of a Suburban Hunter-Gatherer by Bill Heavey documents his attempt to "eat wild." Tales of his hunting, fishing, growing, and foraging may be inspirational or just entertaining. The Wall Street Journal recommends it saying "Mr. Heavey takes us back to the joys--and occasional pitfalls--of the humble edibles around us, and his conclusions ring true."

Take a Class It might eventually rain, so try taking a water harvesting class through the Valley Permaculture Alliance (VPA) on July 28. It's affordable ($25 total to attend with a friend) and covers the basics of water harvesting, the different strategies for creating an integrated water harvesting system, and what is required to maintain a residential water harvesting system. If you're still only thinking about planting, try the raised bed class on August 3 at the Desert Botanical Garden. The two hour classes covers building material choices, soil and other factors.

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