“Hey baby, it’s the 4th of July” goes the chorus line of a song by X, an L.A. punk band from the 1980’s. Indeed it is. Also known as Independence Day, July 4th commemorates America’s liberation from that pesky British rule.
The original Thirteen Colonies legally split from the Empire two days earlier and on July 4th, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was approved. At least that’s how one version goes.
For the most part, 4th of July celebrations in the US are similar to those in other countries. The focus is on food and fireworks as well as being outdoors with family and friends. There are parades and plenty of flag waving accompanied by the singing of patriotic songs. All in all, it’s a festive time, one that brings together a country that so often seems divided. You also might catch a glimpse of people dressed up as Uncle Sam or else wear flag clothing like bikinis, bathing suits, and bandanas, somewhat of an oddity considered the reverent way in which Americans tend to view The Stars and Stripes.
Being a land of immigrants, it is hard to say that there is a classical American food for Independence Day. Hamburgers and hot dogs are the norm, but what I find to be a true classic is grilled corn on the cob with the husk still on. A nod to the Native Americans, it’s tasty and simple with a nice presentation when served in the husk.
That said, no matter what you cook or how you celebrate it, the best way to enjoy the 4th of July is to spend it with some Yanks. It’ll give you a fresh opportunity to “See how we are,” to steal the title song from that 1987 X album.
Corn on the cob, served in the husk
Fresh ears of corn
Salt and pepper
- Soak corn with husk on in a cold pot of water for fifteen minutes
- Take out of the pot, shake off water, and peel back husk and silk (do not remove it). Rub butter and spices on the corn. Close husks and tie with kitchen string or one of the husks.
- Cook on a medium grill for approximately 30 minutes, turning occasionally until the corn is tender.
- Serve with husks still on.
Option: If you do not want to cook the corn with the husk on (or you can’t find any fresh corn), simply remove the husks and wrap the corn in tin foil. The cooking procedure is the same.
By Dan Franch, 4th July 2013