Nature’s Red ( Rose: Fourth of July )
White and ….
With my beloved mom not getting any younger, I like to spend of as many the holidays as possible with her. This year I thought it would be just the two of us, along with our furry friends. How quickly things change – forward to a cocktail party last weekend where I found a number of ‘4th of July orphans’ without plans. After a couple of rosés, I had the fabulous idea of inviting everyone who did not have a plan over. At last count I had 14 takers! Needless to say this week has been spent putting an impromptu party together. There would have been a time where such a challenge would consume my waking hours, but thankfully my newfound motto that ‘striving for perfection becomes less important as you get older,’ has let me off the hook somewhat. These days I remind myself that good company and good times alway trump immaculate presentation.
In situations like this, my pack rat tendencies really come into their own. I delved into my basement to discover some quirky, paper plates with matching accessories purchased last year featuring little trails of ants – just begging for an outdoor occasion in which to be enjoyed.
Somewhat further from my basement, I popped into my favorite Crate & Barrel on Madison Ave. ( only to find the store is closing soon yet another victim of rent increases, but don’t get me started on that.) So more plates, glasses and other goodies were added and hauled off to the basement – this time perhaps with a rather more eastern bloc feel ( they would work well for a party in the former USSR) but I fell for them immediately and they now too will join in the mix of a rather last minute celebration.
Which brings me to the menu. A demand for Kosher hot dogs by one friend, ribs for the St Louis girls (my mom and godmother, who is making the trip just for the occasion) and growing list of friend’s favorites and traditional fare. So, thus far we have :
Deviled eggs-made with small pheasant eggs, potato salad, corn on the cob, a special salad with kale, red cabbage, toasted almonds and dried cranberries (instead of coleslaw – the only healthy thing on the menu) fried chicken, BBQ ribs (not the sticky sweet kind I grew up with but a 5 hour slowly cooked version that is so tender the meat almost falls off the bones and in my opinion this recipe is a more sophisticated flavor.) Hot dogs ???? From the grill I guess, strawberry shortcake, per another friend’s request, AND sour cherry pie – my favorite with homemade ( maybe, depends on time) vanilla ice cream!
I THINK WE NEED TO EDIT!!!!!
As you know, when it comes to the 4th, decorations are all important, and of course I haven’t skimped there. The puppies will be adorned in stars and stripes bandanas, golden sparklers in lieu of big fireworks, and flags a plenty.
Below are four different approaches of how to celebrate. So, if you are having a big bash, a small dinner party, spending it with just family, or having a restful 4th alone-watching “Yankee Doodle Dandy” a bit of the red, white and blue is nice.
Happy 4th July from my eclectic crew to you! – Carolyne
What happens if the picnic is rained out? Move to the porch – and carry on!
Lucky waiting for the rain to stop so we can carry everything out to the garden – alas as it is pouring this morning we ended up on the porch. So I spread a raffia mat and set up lunch for us.
This year’s ant theme – now I see the ants on real plates and cups, they are multiplying not only paper!
The club sandwiches of pate, baby pickles and a course mustard.
I love stripes, checks and plaids all mixed together – they are doing so many wonderful paper and plastic products today – far removed from the white ‘chinette’ paper plates and Dixie cups from my childhood!
The picnic basket full of extra goodies including sparklers for later.
The paper bags contain lunch. I found these checked bags in which I placed a plant for decoration. Easy to carry to a picnic point – if only the rain stops!
Lastly, what is more American than watermelon and homemade chocolate chip cookies?
Dining on trays alone or a deux – peaceful and calm.
If you are alone or with just one other person and opt for a tray in from of the TV, something as simple as variegated red and white carnations add a touch of celebration to my collection of blue and white.
Simple and inexpensive variegated miniature carnations ( isn’t nature wonderful?!)
I love the look and taste of red cherries – here are the sweet variety, but for my pie I prefer the tart ‘sour cherry.’
I love this Portuguese Vinho Verde – I think more for the label and the pale blue glass bottle then even the taste; it is bright and slightly effervescent, plus it has has a lower alcoholic content, so one can stay awake for the fireworks!
Another sort of picnic ( below), variations and patterns of red, blue and white.
Years ago I bought about two dozen red tins because the red was a great color (I named it Maserati). I have packed individual suppers in them and trimmed in the 4th colors.
I love these little individual champagne bottles, so festive – no Coca Cola for my crowd!
Love the mixing of patterns.
Crate & Barrel’s paper products for this year – no I do not work for them or get paid by them, I just think they have a really a great product design team! For instance, the blue and white traditional ‘ takeout’ containers above – tie a daisy (or similar) to them and it’s an instant party.
Cupcakes only a mother could love – Martha Stewart, where are you and your team when I need you?!
I use the bamboo flatware all summer long.
As mentioned, as my impromptu 4th July party has grown, I have added more Soviet inspired plates, red plastic stemware and little star bowls. Pictured are merely the elements I shall be using – the flowers may change – on Thursday or Friday. I will figure out the final look, could be sunflowers, perhaps red and white carnations, or daisies of some sort….all I know is that while it may not be up to previous party standards, the important thing is to be together with friends and hopefully have some good laughs. The food and wine will be good, that I know. I cannot control the weather, nor will I work my self into a frenzy of perfection with place cards….. and all the ‘stuff’ ….. I just want to share a moment with those I care about!
I am traveling during the week and as a result everything will be rather last minute,….. I shall try to send some ‘realtime’ pictures of the table once completed for you to see the final results.
Daisies (or Daisy like forms, as these are Chrysanthemums) always seem so American and very modern to me.
We are lucky to have delicious local strawberries.
Is there anything more wonderfully graphic than Ole Glory??
The veranda at Weatherstone – those old stone walls were put up in 1765!
Love these little star ramekins filled with strawberry sorbet and local fruit.