The 4th of July hails fireworks, barbeques, and lots of eating ice cream and berry pie. The month of July hosts several note-worthy food observance days, Strawberry Ice Cream Day, Barbeque Day, and Gummie Bear Day. July 4th weekend is actually the largest BBQ Party thrown by the United States, with more chicken eaten then on any other day of the year.
Americans are obsessed with food. Beyond that we are also obsessed with decorating food and creating food sculpture. Any excuse to dye something the color of the particular holiday and all the craft people out there are cooking, mixing, and dying eggs, potatoes, and Rice Krispie treats in color-coded synchronicity.
Independence Day brings out the artistic side of American kitchens as professional and home cooks alike play with the colors of our flag: red, white, and blue. Foods made with berries are the most popular; muffins topped with white frosting and strawberries for the stripes, and muffins topped with the same white frosting and blueberries for the stars.
There are jello stacks, cake stacks, and one friend of mine even made a Rice Krispie treat cake out of red white and blue. There are fruit skewers, refrigerator cookie pinwheels, and even dye-colored popcorn. A quick view on Pinterest revealed too many items to list here.
I’ve never been big with making “holiday” food. I cooked for a living in commercial kitchens where the chefs had people who would dye, color, and decorate. I worked in hot food in banquets. I worked on the line where on any particular day I was kicking out salads or sautéing a special in honor of the holiday. Or, slamming burgers on a grill outdoors. But since I wasn’t a pastry cook and didn’t work in garde manger, I did not have to worry about implementing the chef’s idea of the holiday. I did not have to color scheme plates, then add the colored food to the plate. I’ve seen the results though. Some of them were disasters; others were just fabulous. My favorite was always the Derby Hat they created in the Pastry Shop at the hotel where I worked. Impeccable and precise every year, it was made of fondant and belonged on a debutante’s head.
Red, white, and blue brings out some of the most interesting ideas in food decorating. Get out there and look at some and get inspired for your 4th of July holiday.