This excerpt originally appeared here on September 2, 2012. And then I re-did the entire site.
Our annual week at Hampton Beach is off the table this year. The Summer That Wasn’t doesn’t have room for crowds and sharing a cramped beach rental (with a single bathroom!) with several branches of the family. The three of us are making the best of it, and I’m doing my best to recreate some of our favorite vacation treats to ease the pain.
Today, I made Blink’s Fry Doe-inspired fried dough, and thought–as I do every time I have the real thing–of this love song to Blink’s that appears in Buck’s Landing. If you want to try it yourself, there are a few options. One is to grab some refrigerated pizza dough from the grocery store, or you can make any high-hydration yeasted bread dough, and fry slightly stretched out pieces of it until deep golden brown. Brush the finished dough with melted butter, dust with cinnamon sugar, then finish with a dusting of powdered sugar. Trust me, it’s magical.
Sofia couldn’t remember being so happy in Hampton, not since she was a child.
With the panda looped under her arm, she walked in easy time with Silas. At the first cross street, he reached for her hand.
Blink’s was a blaze-orange shrine to fried dough. The porch overhang was crowded with people waiting for orders; the line stretched down the stairs into the sidewalk.
“What do you want?” Silas asked.
She handed him the stuffed panda. “This is on me.”
Silas took the bear. “Cinnamon and sugar.”
She snuck a glance at him while he leaned against the signpost. As if he felt her eyes on him, he turned to her. The street light threw his face into deep shadows but his intent was unmistakable. She shivered, understanding pooling low in her belly.
Rejoining him, she gestured across the street, where several empty benches lined the beach boardwalk. Silas set the panda down to one side to take his fried dough. He looked at hers, brows raised. “Cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar?”
She nodded. “The only way to have it.” The first bite was perfect, crisp from the fryer, soft inside, sugary and sweet. She hummed with pleasure.
“Remind me to buy you fried dough more often,” Silas said, sinking his teeth into his own.
They ate in silence, watching the amateur fireworks displays from the beach followed by the Hampton police on their quads breaking up the lawbreakers. She started to hand Silas a napkin, but he licked the sugar and cinnamon from his fingers with a wink. Sofia swore she could feel his mouth on her own skin.
“Look,” Silas said pointing to the sky above them.
A red Chinese lantern drifted over the beach. It caught a column of air and spiraled gently up before flying out over the Atlantic. They watched it until it burned out over the horizon.
“I’ve never seen one before,” Sofia whispered. “Not like that.”
“Me neither.” Silas stood. “Come on. Let’s walk home on the beach, see if we can find where they’re launching them.”
Buck’s Landing is available in ebook or paperback format from most major vendors.