Sunday, July 6, 2014

Independence Day Traditions

Every morning my grandma used to get up, apply a fresh coat of lipstick, and while still in her pajamas and socks, step out onto the balcony to put out the American flag.

Throughout the day, the sea breeze coming in off the ocean would whip across the flag, casting dramatic shadows through the window until it succumbed to the wind's will and wrapped around the pole.  My grandma would then step back out onto the balcony to unwind it to let it flow free.

By dusk and back in her low cut white socks, she'd shuffle out onto the balcony and take down the flag, ever careful not to let it touch the ground as she wrapped it up and set it just inside the door, ready for the next day.

Homemade burgers with bacon and cheese,
served with tater tots baked in
the same tray as the bacon.  
The Fourth of July is a holiday you celebrate when you come from a patriotic family.  

It turns little things that could be an every day occurrence, into something nostalgic, special.

My grandma loved a good burger.  Piled high with all of the traditional burger toppings, her resulting creations always needed to be cut in half, simply to make it edible.  

She loved all things American, from the traditions, to the food, to the ideals.  She took pride in being an American, so this 4th, I couldn't help but show off a little of that pride that she instilled in me.

After beginning the day by putting out the American flag, our household celebrated the holiday with homemade burgers of my own creation.

Marie Calendar's Apple Pie
with Dryer's Slow Churned
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
Accented with three forms of garlic (fresh, paste and powder), Jack Daniels barbecue sauce, and bound by Panko bread crumbs, these burgers (after earning a healthy char on the grill) were topped with slow oven baked bacon and mozzarella, jack and American cheeses, served with crispy tater tots lightly dusted with seasoned salt.

While I didn't pile my burger anywhere near as high as my grandma would have, I still think she would have been proud.

Beneath the window-shaking, dog-whimpering booms that come with the holiday, the meal ended with a classic apple pie, and slow churned vanilla bean ice cream (a common staple of my grandma's freezer).

It's hard to celebrate a holiday - especially one of her holidays - when she isn't just a phone call away, but I'm thankful for the traditions and the patriotic pride she instilled in me.

Happy 4th everyone, long live your traditions.

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