01 July 2011

World’s Best July Fourth Picnic Recipes

Did you know that many U.S. Americans observe a national holiday each year on 4 July? That’s right! On that day in 1776, a loose confederation of English colonies broke free from one capitalist, imperialist power and launched on a course to becoming an even bigger capitalist, imperialist power. Some people not only refer to this as “independence,” they also honestly believe it’s cause for celebration!

Like most holidays in the United States, “Independence” Day is an occasion for massive over-eating, in this case frequently out-of-doors, featuring of a number of charmingly typical foods that require very little skill to prepare, because of course Americans don’t really know how to cook.

In the event that you wish to experience the American traditions for yourself, I am pleased to provide you with complete instructions for a typical July Fourth menu.*

Grilled Hot Dogs & Hamburgers
A remnant of the United States’ shameful history of scandalous health standards and abusive industrial–labor practices, hot dogs and hamburgers little resemble their European counterparts. Those Americans who do not purchase pre-cooked hot dogs and hamburgers often like to grill these foods, out of doors, which is especially convenient at certain picnics, called “cookouts.”

1. Purchase a bag of “charcoal briquettes,” pillow-shaped pieces of coal for which countless working-class miners, unprotected by government standards or by effective union representation, died horrible deaths.

2. Don an apron purchased especially for the occasion; it should bear a slogan such as “Kiss the Cook” or “For This I Spent Four Years in College.”

3. Empty the bag of briquettes into the basin of a grill, which is a typical American device most frequently manufactured in the Third World.

4. Douse the “briquettes” with a highly inflammable, toxic pollutant (“lighter fluid”), and ignite, using a match.

5. While waiting for the coals to heat, drink several flavorless, uninteresting American beers. This is done strictly to prevent you from thinking about precisely what the hot dogs and hamburgers are made of.

6. When the coals are ready, place the hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, using a pair of tongs. Turn periodically so that all sides are cooked evenly.

7. Reflect on the irony that the journalists who expose unsanitary conditions in the meat-packing industry are called “muckrakers,” while the corporate bosses who actually rake muck and put it into meat are called “wealthy.”

8. When the smell of burning flesh becomes unbearable, the hot dogs and hamburgers are ready.

9. You may choose to eat your hot dog or hamburger on buns, edible foam-rubber padding in the shape of European bread rolls.

10. Serve with ketchup.

Fried Chicken
Typically associated with the cuisine of the racially oppressive South and America’s longstanding slave-owning culture, fried chicken features meat that is more or less recognizable visually. However, American chickens are carnivorous, and their meat is charged with antibiotics, hormones, and other unnatural products; as a consequence, the flesh is much tenderer than that of European chickens. But you don’t want to think about that.

1. Either dip the chicken parts in batter or dust in flour for fricassé before frying in hot oil until crispy and golden brown.

However, be aware that very few American picnic grounds offer frying equipment, and so fried chicken is frequently prepared at home, far in advance, and eaten cold. For an alternative, try the following recipe:

1. Drive your enormous, fuel-inefficient, high-polluting personal vehicle to the nearest commercial center, several kilometers from your home.

2. Order a bucket of mass-produced, fried chicken prepared days in advance and sold by a pension-less senior citizen or other member of the United States’ permanent underclass.

3. Drive to the picnic.

4. Drink several flavorless American beers in order to forget what’s in the chicken, and also to forget about the epidemic levels of cancer, heart disease, and obesity in the U.S. population today.

5. Serve with ketchup.

Corn on the Cob
Although grown for fuel and fodder throughout civilized nations such as France, corn is eaten by humans in the United States, most often en épi, or “on the cob.” Be advised, however, that to do so requires a human to abandon all pretense to etiquette and to eat like a farm animal. Given the working conditions of the migrant farmers who raise the corn, this is only justice.

1. Prepare a large pot of lightly salted water; set to boil.

2. Meanwhile, shuck the corn; that is, remove the husks.

3. If you are French, force yourself not to think about an ex-lover’s pubic hair as you remove the corn’s silk, or long blond fibers.

4. Finish removing the remaining strands of silk by gripping the cob firmly in one hand and rubbing it briskly up and down with the other; if you are French, remember that this gesture does not resemble anything at all.

5. When the water is boiling, drop the corn into the pot.

6. Boil until tender.

7. Serve with ketchup.

Corn on the cob is also considered an excellent vehicle
for artery-clogging butter or lard (“margarine”).

Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, and Baked Beans
Although vegetable dishes are not commonly associated with July Fourth celebrations in the United States, you may choose to prepare a few traditional standards.

1. Drive to the supermarket, several dozen kilometers from your home.

2. Purchase
1 tub potato salad per guest,
1 tub cole slaw per guest,
and several cans of baked beans.
3. Under no circumstances read the list of ingredients. You really don’t want to know.

4. Potato salad and cole slaw are served cold.

5. Open the cans and heat the baked beans in a saucepan.

6. Serve with ketchup.

Cole Slaw: Like raw sauerkraut with cream and sugar.

Apple Pie
Apples are not in season in North America in July, which means that anything remotely resembling a tarte aux pommes is out of the question. Fortunately, the Americans aren’t accustomed to anything resembling a tarte aux pommes; they prefer a double-crusted dessert that contains apple pie filling, a glutinous, vaguely compote-like mixture of corn starch, corn syrup, chemical preservatives and artificial flavoring, trace elements of pesticide, and occasional pieces of fruit, stewed beyond recognition and sold in cans.

1. Purchase piecrust mix at the supermarket.

2. Follow the instructions on the box.

3. Warning: You may be required to add a natural ingredient, such as an egg or a small amount of milk. However, these are likely to contain chemicals or other artificial ingredients, so it works out the same.

4. When the crust is ready, open the cans and add the “filling.”

5. Bake, using an oven.

Un-American: This charming pie required too much effort.

6. While the pie is baking, drink several flavorless American beers, still trying to force yourself not to think about the numerous fairs across the nation where “pie-eating contests” are contributing to overall levels of obesity, while nearly one-quarter of America’s children go hungry.

7. When the piecrust is golden brown and the “filling” is bubbling hot, remove from the oven and let cool.

8. Americans often serve apple pie “à la mode,” which in this case means “with a scoop of artificially flavored dairy-type product,” sometimes referred to as “vanilla ice cream.” You’d be better off serving it à la mode de Caen.

Like everything else in the U.S., apple pies are sometimes deep-fried.
Here, several perfectly good chaussons aux pommes have been fried and are ready to serve.
(With ketchup.)

*NOTE: Remember to prepare six times as much food as you could possibly need.


TEGaskins said...

That's why I love this country. When we take time to relax, we relax all the way with cheap food, cheap beverages and cheap thrills by way of sparklers and firecrackers. Nice commentary.

William V. Madison said...

Thank you! While there are pleasures to be derived from cheap food and beverages, mercifully, there is very little to prevent us from observing this peculiar holiday with modest portions of aged cheeses, foie gras, and vintage wines. Vive l’Amérique libre!

Girl From Texas said...

Satirical humor aside, making most of these dishes (not hot dogs) from scratch(and you can be as organic or sustainable as you wish) is like the difference bt eating cardboard and tartes aux pommes. Worth the effort. We don't serve apple pie at 4th of July; we eat a home-made cheese cake with real blueberry + whipped cream topping. It's delish!

Rodney Ohebsion said...

Why you trippin, homey? You should be grateful "imperialist" America is allowing france (I ain't capitalizing that) to exist.

I do, however, appreciate the recipes.


William V. Madison said...

Thank you, Rodney! Coming as it does on the eve of France's national holiday, your reminder is especially valuable.