Select a lake. The following instructions assume the use of a sun-ripened Lake Michigan; however, an alternate Great Lake or a shade-grown inland lake may be substituted if Lake Michigan is not available.
Preheat beach to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Open a bag of mixed relatives. Relatives are often available locally, but imported varieties may also be used. Bags of mixed relatives can be found in the frozen foods aisle of most grocery stores.
Carefully examine relatives for non-swimmers and set these aside for later use. Wrap swimmers in bathing suits and grease liberally with sunscreen. Use SPF 20 or higher to prevent scorching. Place swimmers on colorful towels and arrange along the edge of the preheated beach. Towels should not overlap.
Place 1,180 cubic miles of fresh water over medium heat (if using a different lake, adjust volume accordingly). When internal water temperature reaches 55 degrees, stir in swimmers under the age of 12. If water gets above 70 degrees, add swimmers over the age of 12; otherwise, leave these on the beach. Avoid boiling.
Bake at 80 degrees for four hours, stirring occasionally to prompt walks or games of bocce ball.
Remove swimmers from beach and place on wooden cooling deck. At this point, add in the non-swimmers. Any relatives that continue cooking while on the deck should be removed to the kitchen. For a low-fat version of this recipe, substitute the pan of brownies on the kitchen counter for a bowl of sweet cherries. Also works well with blueberries, strawberries, or watermelon.
For extra flavor, grill a platter of hamburgers and sprinkle among the cooling relatives.
Top with a glowing sunset, season with fireworks to taste, and serve.
Geneva Langeland (’13) survived graduate school with minimal blood loss, escaping with her ms in environmental policy and communication. She now works in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as the communications editor at Michigan Sea Grant. There, she gets to hang out with educators, researchers, and communicators who love the Great Lakes as much as she does.