Living here we sometimes forget how lucky we are to live in Florida, and especially Volusia County.

We have around 226 sunny days a year, and the average temperature is 72 degrees. Yes, it can get hot, but not for long, and it almost never snows.

Maybe that's why John D. Rockefeller decided to buy his summer home here that we all know as the Casements. Like so many other successful businessmen, such as Henry Flagler, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone, would visit here as well.

Why is that a big deal? Think about it, they could afford to live and visit anywhere in the world they wanted, and they picked our area. That's a pretty strong endorsement for where we live!

I grew up and went to school here and, for some reason, Labor Day was a special time for me and how lucky I was to live here in Florida. I want to thank all the workers of America for giving us the national holiday of Labor Day, which is coming soon. We get to enjoy the long Labor Day weekend of fun, picnics and FOOD.

Growing up in Florida, I can remember hating to see Labor Day weekend come because it meant the end of summer fun and jobs. No more corn dogs, cotton candy, snow cones, going swimming or fishing. It was time to get ready to go back to school — mature, learn and enter the workforce one day.

That was many years ago. Today, like millions of Americans, I look forward to the mini-vacation from work. It always brings back memories of my childhood growing up in Florida near the ocean, seeing it every day and enjoying its pleasures. When I retire, I can go back to my childhood pleasures, eat a corn dog anytime I want, watch the sunset over the ocean and, when Labor Day comes, it will be more enjoyable because every day after it will still be Labor Day. Funny how life goes full circle.

Now let us talk about food. No, I am not giving you a corndog recipe – that would be too easy. Buy a buttermilk pancake mix and follow directions, add a tablespoon of cornmeal. Pat dry dogs and dip in batter and fry until golden brown. On the other hand, just buy them frozen.

Here is a surprisingly tasty recipe.

Grilled Cola Flank Steak

Ingredients

1½-2 pounds flank steak

2 cans cola

2 tablespoons Jamaica Jerk seasoning (or just salt and pepper before grilling)

Directions

Place flank steak, cola and seasoning in a zip bag, and marinate 2 hours. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side on medium heat or cook to the desired temperature. Don't overcook the steak; it should be medium-rare. Slice across the grain in thin slices.

Jerk Seasoning (buy it ready-made if you like or use the recipe below)

Yield: 3 tablespoons

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon onion flakes

1 tablespoon onion powder

2 teaspoons ground thyme

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground pimento (allspice)

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons dried chives or green onions

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Costa Magoulas is dean of the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College. Contact him at (386) 506-3578 or magoulc@daytonastate.edu.

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