I can't believe July 4th is almost here. Thanks to our strangely cool weather, we haven't really had more than a taste of summer here in the Seattle area. I guess I shouldn't complain: the rest of the country has had to suffer through blistering heat, something I am just not equipped to deal with.As we get ready to celebrate our independence, I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on some of the places I've lived over the years. America is a huge country, and there are so many regional differences that keep things interesting.
Here are some July 4th inspired foods from my personal, regional history with America.
My sister and I grew up in Maryland. Though I lived there for about 18 years of my life, I have no great desire to return to the mid-Atlantic. It's too darn hot (and humid!) in the summer and it's way too flat for my tastes.
But when it comes to the 4th of July in MD, you can't beat a good Maryland-style crab feast! We would devour what seemed like dozens of tasty blue crabs coated in Old Bay, served up with fresh corn, tomatoes, and bread. Not to mention cold beer for the grown ups (as a kid, I opted for Coke while Greta drank milk...blech! Milk and crabs?).
If you want to have a Maryland crab feast but you're not in MD, you're in luck. You can order from Phillip's and have everything you need sent to you. We did this last year. It was a lot of fun!
I moved to Vermont after high school and graduated from Castleton State College. Vermont has a very special place in my heart, and I find myself missing the Green Mountain State more than I care to admit.
When it comes time to fire up the grill, hot dogs are a favorite. But in VT (and other areas in New England), hot dog buns are very different than what the rest of the country is used to. New England hot dog buns look like a folded piece of white bread, and for some reason they make hot dogs (or lobster rolls) taste so much better.
While you can't buy New England hot dog buns easily, you can make them yourself. Check out this blog entry from one of my faves, King Arthur Flour, on how to use their New England Hot Dog Bun Pan.
I've never lived in NC, but my late father-in-law was from there. As a kid, our family made a few trips to the south (to Disney World and to South Carolina) and every time we crossed into North Carolina, we made sure to stop off for some pulled pork sandwiches.
North Carolina style BBQ is by far our family favorite. The sauce is more vinegar based instead of being dominated by tomato sauce. The pulled pork is tender and perfect, and sops up the vinegar-y sauce in porky heaven.
In honor of my father-in-law--and because I really crave a good NC-style pulled pork from time to time, check out this recipe--'ll have to try it sometime soon!
No matter what you eat or how you celebrate, have a fun, safe 4th of July!