How will you be spending your Memorial Day weekend? Will you be marching in a parade? Or will you be surreptitiously trying to toss some Redcoats off the Sultana and into the Chester River? Will you be observing a more solemn occasion and take some flowers to decorate a family grave? Or will you be stuck in traffic attempting to flee the metropolis to get to a warm sandy beach, with ice cream stands and happy families frolicking in the water? There are so many possibilities for this upcoming weekend, especially now that you are allowed to wear white again.
I love ritual celebrations. I love small town parades. Once, back in our misspent youth, Mr. Friday and his chums had a martini stand at the annual Rowayton (Connecticut) Memorial Day Parade. (Another year they distributed Bloody Marys. They were quite the popular young gentlemen.) And back in those days, when one could still drink with impunity before noon, we sat in lawn chairs with martinis in hand, and cheered as the Scouts, the school marching bands, the firefighters, some antique cars, town officials and proud veterans paraded past us. And then we went to a Memorial Day cookout in a park, under the trees, on the river. It was a warm and sunny day, as most happy hazy memories tend to be remembered.
There are many ways to have a Memorial Day cookout. You can go fancy, or you can take the easy route. Guess which I suggest? There is no need to get elaborate: apple pie, hot dogs and hamburgers are swell ceremonial American foods and are great for any Memorial Day picnic. I usually whip up a batch of potato salad, but a bag of Utz sour cream and onion potato chips is never out of place! Is it too hot to bake a pie? Just bring out some Bergers. You will be a hero. Or slice open a frosty cold and refreshing watermelon. Put beers and glass bottles of Coke in a bucket of ice, but don’t forget the cheap white wine. I would not suggest martinis at this advanced age, though…
One must be mindful of our resident pescatarian. The Pouting One would prefer cool and delicate seasonal fruits, vegetables, and sticks and twigs, please. No meat. No chicken. Alas, she may have outgrown her appreciation of skillful watermelon seed spitting, but she might like this more sophisticated treatment: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/magazine/watermelon-burgers-with-cheese.html?_r=0
Fruit salads are easy to prepare ahead of time, and can be a side dish or a dessert:
Cuke & Watermelon Salad http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1013208-cucumber-watermelon-salad
Bon Appétit fruit salad: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/fruit-salad-fennel-watercress-smoked-salt
Miss Pescatarian still has an appetite for carbs. Doing garlic bread on the grill is a swell alternative to heating up the kitchen with the oven/furnace blasting superheated air into every nook and cranny. I am ready to move the whole cooking shooting match outside anyway, so let’s start with the garlic bread: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014865-grilled-garlic-bread-with-basil-and-parmesan
You want to simplify in the summer, here are some more handy dandy ideas from The New York Times cooking whizzes. If you are going to be cooking on your summer vacation you really need to reduce and minimize your time in the kitchen. There are waves to catch, birds to watch, hikes to undertake, vistas to appreciate, and a glider in a corner of the cool, dark, screened-in porch with a good book are all calling out to you! Get out and enjoy yourself. Vacation cooking: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/dining/a-minimalist-approach-to-cooking-on-vacation.html?_r=0
Next weekend we will still face the bourgeois dining dilemma – what to have for dinner, again? Let’s find some more delicious hamburgers to cook. Hamburgers never grow old. Cook Out Season from Bon Appétit: http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/cooking-tips/article/grilling-best-burgers
When it gets too buggy outside Sunday night, wander into the house and turn on the TV. There is nothing like a concert performed with pomp and circumstance and aplomb to make you feel proud. http://www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert/home/
Here are some small town Memorial Day photos to enjoy: http://www.ryot.org/check-vintage-photos-memorial-day-years/698369
“I’m still passionately interested in what my fellow humans are up to. For me, a day spent monitoring the passing parade is a day well-spent.”
– Garry Trudeau