Allison Wright/Daily Nexus

Allison Wright/Daily Nexus

Next Monday, we (along with loads of others in the United States) get the day off. That Monday marks the end of the last weekend in May and the federal holiday known as Memorial Day. In my past, this day away from school filled ice chests with innumerable six packs and lit the coal of round, Black & Decker grills. After hot dogs smothered in mustard and relish and hamburgers on soft, too-sweet buns, we turned to bottle rockets and the bottom of that blue or red cooler. Memorial Day was my family’s way of welcoming summer like a preview to a movie.

Yes, next Monday is Memorial Day, but last Monday, our little paradise was rocked by a painful reminder like a once-broken bone aching as a storm approaches, a scar reliving a long gone pain. A simple tweet with a number and the past participle “shot” seemed like a recurring nightmare that hit too close to home, and too close to May 23. As each passing day brings us closer to one year, it also brings us closer to another anniversary. Much of our country will emerge in droves from their normal lives, fresh with flip flops, ready for a carefree day at the beach or just at home with family and friends, but this Memorial Day weekend will be different for many of us.

We will all face our own challenges as we mourn and celebrate in a span of three days, but perhaps we can find solace in the very traditions that seem so contradictory. At its heart, Memorial Day remembers Americans who have died in combat, and while we use the time away from “real life” to eat, drink and be merry, the holiday originates in loss. So this year, whether we venture to DP or to our parents’ back patios, we can take the time off to fondly remember those taken from our community.

We at On The Menu stand by one belief: At the heart of every human unit (be it family, friendship or larger community), there is a place for food. Sharing food and drink, by necessity, brings people together, so we want to help bind our community in the best way we know how: to share some of our recipes with our readers. Let these early summer delights be us raising our red solo cups (in remembrance, in joy) to meet with yours. To Isla Vista, to our community, to staying strong.

IPA Cupcakes:

For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar in the raw
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup IPA beer (I chose a home brew, but any could work)

For the Beer Buttercream:
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons beer (again, choose any)

1. Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. The sugar in the raw will prevent the mixture from being as smooth as granulated sugar. The large granules are okay.
2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then Add the vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Alternately mix in the flour mixture and IPA in three additions, beginning and ending with flour.
4. Evenly fill mini cupcake papers about 3/4 full. Bake at 350°F for about 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. The tops of the cupcakes should be a light golden colour and will not be smooth.
5. To prepare the buttercream, cream the butter until smooth and then add the vanilla. Gradually add in the confectioners sugar. Add the IPA and mix until smooth and fluffy. Add more sugar or beer if needed.

This recipe was originally published on the author’s blog. It is reprinted with her permission.