Growing up, the 4th of July was my favorite holiday. School was out for the summer and the date always meant a large family get together with tons of food, lots of laughs and fireworks. Now that I’m an adult and don’t live near my family, Independence Day is somewhat different in that it’s usually spent with my husband and kids and I’m usually the one cooking. I don’t mind, in fact, I have a lot of fun with it. I try to plan a menu that is as American as it gets. And while I enjoy good food and wine, sorry, but the upcoming holiday is no time for truffle-this and caviar-that. Hot dogs, potato salad, cheeseburgers and watermelon are totally welcome and more than appropriate. Plus, they’re easy, leaving me more time to enjoy my family and my day off, not hours spent in the kitchen. Here are some inherently American dishes perfect for the 4th of July holiday, with wine pairings, of course:
What will you drink with your 4th of July cheeseburger?
Hot Dogs: The toppings will make all the difference! My choice is a classic Chicago dog – mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes and peppers. Vermentino is crisp, refreshing, fruity and a spot on winner for the sausage everyone loves.
Fried Chicken: Served hot, room temp, or cold, fried chicken hails from the south and is right next to apple pie as far as Americana goes. Sparkling wine, like Moscato will cut through the glorious greasiness of this dish and leave your palate ready for the next round of food.
Crab Boil: I’m not sure if this big, messy feast got its start in New England, Louisiana or the Carolina’s but I have fond memories of enjoying a few of these in southern California on the 4th growing up. The mix of potatoes, corn on the cob, shellfish and spices tastes best dumped onto piles of newspaper and eaten with your hands. Glasses and glasses of cool Pinot Grigo are necessary as well.
BBQ Ribs: You can go a few different ways here. For sweet, smoky sauces, Zinfandel is a nice choice. For dry rubs which tend to have some heat, try Beverino. And, when in doubt, a dry rose like Pas Doux goes well with just about everything.
I could go on and on about corn on the cob, deviled eggs, baked beans, flag cakes, strawberry shortcakes and s’mores, but in the end, you should drink what you like with the food you like with the people you love. Yes, your 4th of July menu is important because it’s a day of celebration, but let those around you and this great country of ours be the real celebration.
Happy Independence Day, friends!