The Best Ever July 4

Elliott’s family is here from the west coast and we all (including east coast immediate family) got together in Hope for the weekend.In order to maximize this rare time together I did no cooking or baking. Making pancakes for 9 would have taken me the whole morning—I’m not a quantity type cook/baker. So we had this sad experience at a local diner. Lesson learned—order carefully and simply at diners. We often go to this diner for great angus beef burgers but when I ordered biscuits and sausages I assumed they would be lovely flakey biscuits with little sausage patties, not sweet English muffins with sausage cut into little cubes and sludgy gravy covering it. (Though somehow, my stepson Michael suspected this is what it would be—I can’t imagine why because there was no indication what-so-ever about gravy of any sort.) I pictured the home fries as crisp and golden brown. Not! One of the great things about a large family gathering is that there is always someone else who regrets his or her choice once it arrives and is happy to trade. Granddaughter Elyse was displeased (justifiably) with her cinnamon toast, which I found more edible than my ‘biscuits.’ She managed to work her way through some of it, picking out most of the sausage and leaving this wreckage. View image

Granddaughter Haley was equally unhappy with her biscuit and sausage so her obliging dad Michael traded his sausage and egg sandwich (these were sausage links and looked nicely browned). Grandson Owen made a good choice of fruit cup and a side of bacon (I suggested that he was hedging his dietary bets!). We all left not hungry which is the best I can say. But dinner at the relatively nearby Turkish restaurant in Hackettstown was more of a success, in fact Elliott and I are eating our leftover lamb chops for dinner tonight with a fresh batch of brown rice as the rice was seriously overcooked. The appetizers were excellent however. And I love that I can bring my own wine (I brought an Australian Trevor Jones cabernet/merlot and a Paul Autard Rhône—both of which were most enjoyable.) After dinner we sped off to the nearest fireworks but were quite late and could see from the distance that they had already started. In a flash of inspiration I asked Elliott to pull over to the side of the road and we all got out of the car and had the most spectacular view of fireworks coming from three different sites without getting stuck in the usual departure traffic jam. We also had another treat from nature equal to the man made fireworks. In the darkness with the woods as a backdrop we were treated to a sparkling display of fireflies. It seemed as if each pinged its light at a different time from any others and it was utterly magical. It’s a fourth of July that I will never forget.