4th of July is one of those holidays where, for whatever reason, I never really have plans until the last minute.
This year I decided that the number one most important thing I needed to accomplish this 4th of July was making & eating a “red, white & blueberry” whipped-topping flag cake. Party or no party.
Luckily my sister Dana had a trifle recipe on hand, with the appropriate name and everything. My family has been big into trifle-making since I had to make a “traditional” one for a third grade Thanksgiving potluck. Ah, the learnings that have stuck with me! (Third grade me: “I do believe I enjoy cake soaked in cream!”)
(I typically feel weird about Weight Watchers and other “diet” stuff, but it’s good so whatever. Since we wanted to make it quickly we ended up buying the only pre-made angel food cake at the store, which was sugar-free. I don’t feel great about that, either. But all the “creamy” and sweet elements covered up the potentially weird flavor.)
We ended up doubling the recipe, sorta, to fit two big Tupperwares. Dana took hers to a party. Even though I ended up having a party to attend, I just took mine home to eat in front of the TV at my leisure. America!
Like I said, my priority was putting a flag made of berries on top.
Today there has been some controversy over a certain celebrity posting a pic of a flag on the ground, but thus far I have not been called out for eating a depiction of the flag. America! (And the joys of being a non-celebrity.)
Not to be sacri-Merican about the meaning of 4th of July, but this year I think it really hit me that 4th of July is a great food holiday, second only to Thanksgiving (and maybe the Super Bowl, although it is not a federal holiday… yet). Actually, caveat — depending on your religion, some of those holidays might rank higher. Like Passover, clearly, is way up there. And Christmas if you make all the cookies.
Anyway, this really hit me at the party we ended up going to on the 3rd, which had a few pasta salads that I really enjoyed. It occurred to me that 4th of July is a chance to really go CRAZY on eating pasta salad. I’ve really been underachieving in this category, as a pasta lover.
Next year I just might have to host a pasta salad potluck, to really increase the number of pasta salads I can put in my face in one sitting. (There can also be chips and grilling and stuff… I’m not a monster.) (In fact, there MUST be chips.)
In general, I think I need to explore pasta salad-making more this year. All you need is cold pasta, an oil-ish topping, and vegetables, as far as I can tell. At least once a week Sam and I eat the spinach and pesto pasta salad from Gelson’s — a true magical revelation of a salad. But I think I can go further this year, making and tasting more pasta salads. For America.
In case you’re worried about how this plan will affect my health (… thanks for your concern?), apparently pasta is good for you now. Like I said, I’m kind of over it because the facts about what foods will kill us change every 3rd Tuesday.
Also, I may end up pooping out on this because I tend to like my meals to be warm. There’s something missing with cold meals, unless global warming gets nuts and it’s always 100 degrees out. Then cold meals will rule the day! (Global warming is all some sort of cold food industry plot. The cold food wars!)
And after a long hiatus, I actually ended up eating a hot dog this 4th of July, too, because — FACT — they serve beef hot dogs at Dodger Stadium. They are known as “super” Dodger Dogs. (This might have something to do with the fact that Jews invented Superman, and Jews prefer beef hot dogs. But probably not.)
Although 4th of July generally rules, one thing I’ve seen firsthand this year is how traumatizing fireworks can be for dogs. Luckily inside our place we can drown them out with music (mostly jazz… Sam’s choice), but Charlie has pretty much been regarding the outdoors as a scary war zone for the past several days.
We’ve also realized via following Charlie’s former shelter that 4th of July weekend is their busiest of the year, because they have to try to foster & adopt out as many dogs as possible to make space for all the dogs who bust out of their houses in fear. (And if they don’t have space, they have to start euthanizing shelter dogs… a thousand sadness emojis.)
And if fireworks can give a dog such a fright, I can only imagine it’s really really bad for veterans/PTSD.
Not to be a downer, but sometimes it’s good to examine all sides. I think that’s what they call “woke” these days. It’s good to be a “woke bae.” (Trademark on that phrase is held by “the kids.”)
Anyway, in conclusion, this MAY be the year of the pasta salad. It will at least continue to be the year of that delicious Gelson’s pasta salad, unless they take a turn. (They are redoing our local store, super fancy-pants style… like, they appear to be adding a tapas & wine bar, or something like that? Calm down Gelson’s, we already love you, you don’t have to overdo it.)
And I think that flag trifle will become a yearly staple, long may it wave. (About 2 days… it went fast.)