The Fourth Of July

The Fourth of July is special to many of my American friends. Sure, it maybe should have been the 2nd of July, sometimes it’s called Independence Day and the declaration of Independence was probably actually signed in August according to Wikipedia, but it’s quite specific when you refer to it as “The Fourth of July”.

In Australia, we’ll be calling it ‘Thursday’. If we listen out to the media, the stock market reports will mention that the NYSE is closed for a holiday and we will probably see Mr Obama on the news on Friday giving it a mention.

Also in Australia, when an immovable public holiday is on a Thursday, the Friday is a free-for-all in terms of the Australian sport known as “chucking a sickie”: that is, phoning work to say you have dysentery, the Black Death or an alien succubus growing in your abdomen, and so you can’t possibly come into work and spread those germs and/or aliens. Instead, you’ll have to suffer at home in bed, or perhaps out in your boat.

Given the events in Boston in 1773 tragically linking tea to American Independence; and the rise of the self styled “Tea Party”, then The Fourth of July is clearly a great opportunity for Americans to drink some tea and forget all that nonsense about not doing so.

Iced, I suppose. The whole country is brimming with iced tea. If your water is cut off at home and you need to visit the drinks fridge at your local Walgreens to get liquid to bathe in, you’d save money buying iced tea over water.

Strangely, there is a tradition of eating hot dogs on that date. Why? To celebrate one’s freedom to wrap the worst possible sausage in cheap white bread?

But celebration is important.

So, America, I’d like to tell you how you should be doing it. Here’s what I suggest you create your feast from:

(1) Berries.

Good Lord, the quality, quantity and low price of berries in the USA is OUTSTANDING. You guys don’t know how lucky you are. Blueberries are twice the quality and 1/8 the price they are here.

Eat them fresh or bake them into something: just not scones, as somewhere along the way, you guys lost any ability to make a scone.

(2) Salad

I hate salad. Wilting lettuce and insipid tomatoes. But not in the US! Every salad I was served in the US was crisp and actually worth eating. Bear in mind I eat mine without any dressing, so I demand perfection.

(3) Peanut Butter

You guys are magicians with this stuff. You’ve correctly called that it’s pretty boring in a jar, and so you’ve taken to stuffing it inside chocolate, into ice cream, in muffins and cookies and in cakes. Keep up the good work

(4) Hospitality

Never have we experienced hospitality like in the USA. Walk into any restaurant, any home, any office, and it’s there. Museum guards. Subway Ticket Office attendants. 95% of Taxi Drivers. Piranha apologists*. Virtually everyone. If you extend this hospitality to each other on this holiday, it will go a long way toward making a special occasion.

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(5) Tea

Have plenty of tea.

Of course our own Star Spangled Chai is virtually made for this occasion, but across the USA there are scores of great tea companies.

Drink it hot. Drink it iced. Just drink plenty of it.

(6) Enthusiasm

All across America, we found unbridled enthusiasm, and self-belief. Apply that to your celebrations and it will be infectious.

(7) Friendship

In amongst the tall buildings and giant statues and open plains and mountain ranges, the most outstanding thing we found in the USA was friendship. Not just the people I’ve ‘known” on line for years, but pretty well everyone we met.

Break that out on the Fourth of July and celebrate it.

It’s very special. Any day.

*Technically we only met one piranha apologist, but he was so spirited in his defence of the little guys that I assumed they are all like that.

6 thoughts on “The Fourth Of July

  1. Always a fresh perspective on things, and on behalf of ye olde U.S. of A. I thank you for all your kind words (except for the scone thing. We’ve really got to work on that.) I see Cup O’Noodles didn’t make your list and who can blame you.
    We all hope to see you and Lady D back here again soon!

  2. Perfect. Nice to be reminded of some things we might take for granted. (Except I’m just back from picking up more lettuce and kale from the farm CSA. I never take good salad for granted.) I should also say that while I’m glad you enjoyed the blueberries I am sorry you likely missed the best of them. The wild blueberries from my home state of Maine are pure heaven, especially when you’re sitting in the midst of a field, eating more than you put in your bucket.

  3. The thing about berries was kinda fascinating to me…I never really think about stuff like this, but yeah, I do feel like there is pretty good access to berries. I made a fruit salad today and it included blueberries I bought for $1 a pint.

    The other day, I was walking in the woods and I found a huge amount of black raspberries…they’re pricey here, $6 a pint typically, but if you are willing to pick them yourself you can find them in the woods pretty easily. They’re native here and grow very vigorously in gardens.

    Strawberries also grow very well here…and I’ve been able to find them for $2.50 a pound.

    I kinda feel similarly to you about hot dogs. “To celebrate one’s freedom to wrap the worst possible sausage in cheap white bread.” haha…yeah. Celebrating what I see as one of the worst aspects of American culture…processed food and a lack of culinary complexity. Ugh…yeah…there are a lot of things I love about America, but that’s not one of them.

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