Dazzling fireworks displays on a hot summer night. Smoky barbecues laden with delicious steaks and hamburgers. Friends toasting America’s birthday. The Fourth of July is exactly as our second president, John Adams, imagined it when he wrote in 1776 about how future generations would celebrate the day.
He envisioned Independence Day as a massive party “with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Adams was right. Even into our third century as a country, we still get a little giddy and rambunctious as we acknowledge our great country and the priceless freedoms we enjoy. We unashamedly display the colors of our flag in holiday décor, clothing and food.
NICE AND EASY
Make your own celebration as easy as possible so you can enjoy the day, too. A stress-free gathering hinges on do-ahead dishes and simple crafts that splash the scene with patriotic excitement. Concentrate decorations around a deck, porch, gazebo or shelter house that offers protection from sun and stiff breezes. Set the tone with handmade mobiles with patriotic symbols, flowering plants in reds or blues and potted grasses that bring to mind fields of waving grain. Don’t forget Old Glory. Fly her proudly. Stick with foods that aren’t messy to eat, especially when make-shift seating requires guests to balance plates on their laps. You can’t go wrong with a raw vegetable platter, cut-up summer fruits, scoopable salads and fork-tender meats served on buns.
We have plenty of ways to make your celebration a success. Try some of our catering tray options.
Here are a few patriotic recipe ideas to help get you ready for your celebration.
For a grab-and-go snack that intrigues kids and grown-ups alike, offer red and blue popcorn, created with fruit-flavored gelatin and served in cups wrapped with paper and embellished with stars.
Like fireworks on the horizon, pleated paper medallions are dazzling additions to a bountiful serving table. Easily crafted from nontraditional shades of red, white and blue craft papers, medallions can be detailed with glued-on bows and contrasting cutouts. Garlands, composed of cardstock circles, can be assembled quickly with a sewing machine and are sturdy enough for reuse on future holidays. Drape garland along the front of the buffet table, over an entryway or on deck railing. Petite versions of the garland can be used to dress up serving areas on the table, as we did on the soda box and the tiered cake stand holding the parfait desserts. Need some help? Get young people involved in preparations prior to the big celebration.
Keep food uncomplicated. Sporting pastry stars and stripes, pretty mini pies are made with refrigerated pie crusts and canned pie filling. For refreshing parfaits, layer a mixture of yogurt and whipped topping with berries and angel food cake. No baking or whipping required. Red cabbage, red peppers and radishes give the Stars and Stripes Coleslaw, a patriotic presence. Serve coleslaw with a light sesame-flavored vinaigrette that causes less food safety concern on hot days than mayonnaise-based dressings. Have guests wet their whistles with red, white or blue chilled sodas or tinted lemonade.