Summer cookouts may beg for blueberry pie, but summer birthdays scream for ice cream cake.

Large, juicy mangoes are at the height of their season in South Florida. Grilled turkey sausages with a mango relish make a sweet and spicy summer dinner.

Here is the wildest, craziest, most mind-blowing fact about cardamom: Not only is it a spice that is used in both savory and sweet dishes, it is an important ingredient in the cuisines of India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Scandinavia.

This could be the sherry to turn even the most dubious wine drinker into a sherry fancier. Alexander Jules proprietor Alex Russan fell in love with sherry in his college days when that was about all he could afford. It quickly turned into an obsession - and just recently into a business bottling and selling sherries hand-picked from certain casks belonging to the soleras of historic sherry houses in southern Spain.

Speaking of a St. Louis restaurant years ago, baseball guru Yogi Berra famously said: "Nobody goes there any more; it's too crowded."

Dear SOS: My husband and I spent an extended weekend at the La Quinta Resort. We went to their Twenty6 restaurant and tried the pickled purple cauliflower as an appetizer. It was wonderful! Any chance you could get the recipe?

I love Italian cheeses, everything from Gorgonzola, mozzarella and burrata to pecorino and Parmigiano-Reggiano, the King of Cheeses.

Just like her drinks, it was time mixologist Bridget Albert of Shorewood refreshed her cocktail book.

On Father's Day, I picked a fight with my dad.

The metal-on-metal swoosh-swoosh sound of cooks honing their knife blades on steel rods keeps a near-constant rhythm in Tom Azar's kitchen at the Lauderdale Yacht Club in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

If there is one thing that our great nation loves, it is bacon. For proof, look no further than the various bacon festivals held around the country each year or the fact that you can now find bacon as an ingredient in everything from ice cream to cocktails.

Last year, Kim Wilcox and his wife, Tamara, were flipping TV channels when they stumbled on a movie with an attention-grabbing title: "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead."

BITTEN BY BITES

Grilling shrimp is a delicious way to cook them. But don't just toss shrimp on the grill (unless they're huge) because they could fall through the grates. A better way is to skewer them so they cook evenly and they're easier to tend to. When preparing the shrimp, remove all but the tail of the shell which makes a nice presentation.

Donna Marsh of Hanover and Susan Zeiger of Baltimore both were looking for the recipe for the burgers that were sold at the Harley's sandwich shops in and around Baltimore in the '60s and '70s. Marsh said the Harley Burgers, ground beef patties simmered in a red sauce and served with lots of onions, were the best.

They have names like Jolly Elf, Indigo Rose, Orange Fizz, Baby Cakes and Cherry Buzz. They come in stop-sign red, deep ruby, golden yellow, chocolate brown and pale orange. They can look like a big gum ball or a plump olive.

The simple and delicious method behind the picnic coleslaw from Tina Nordstrom, Sweden's celebrity chef and PBS star, is just one of many appealing recipes in her new cookbook, "Scandinavian Cooking: Simple Recipes for Home-Style Scandinavian Cuisine."

Q: My daughter and I bought some tasty pickled okra. We ate it quickly, but there is a lot of liquid left in the jar. Can I add our home-grown okra to the jar to get pickled okra? How long would it take to pickle?

HUNGRY GIRL'S GUIDE TO GUILT-FREE GRILLING

Who needs important facts about food when you can spend your time with the weird stuff? For example:

The cheeserati tell us to never wrap the pricey artisan Kentucky Rose or Humboldt Fog we've just bought in plastic wrap. But what's a cheese lover to do when the wedges come home in that plastic?

The first time I tasted South African chenin blancs I was unimpressed. "A spotty lot," my tasting notes from 1994 called them.

Dear SOS: Any chance of getting the recipe for crab cakes from the Red Fish Grill in New Orleans? They were by far the best ever!

SIMMER THIS SHOT & A BEER

If you want to understand what makes Washington state's wines so delicious - and sometimes so unique - all you need to do is just look at the place.

Zucchini is one of summer's star veggies and a culinary workhorse of the kitchen. You can shred it for breads, muffins or pan-fried zucchini cakes. It can be sliced for gratins, casseroles and pasta dishes. You can thinly slice zucchini and use it raw in place of traditional pasta noodles and top it with a tomato sauce.

Olive tapenade, an earthy, salty paste of olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and other flavorings, is easy to find jarred in specialty shops. But when you whip up a batch yourself at home, the flavors pop in a surprising way that makes you never want to buy it in a jar again.

Lucille Bishop Smith was a chef, educator, entrepreneur and food corporation president who has been called the first African-American businesswoman in Texas. She is credited with inventing the first commercially marketed hot roll mix and establishing one of the nation's first college-level commercial foods and technology departments.

If your zucchini has turned zealous in the garden, here's a wonderfully different way to use the bounty: A zucchini flatbread that surprised me with how easy it was to make.

PEANUTS AND WHAT?

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