Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fourth of July

FOURTH of JULY TRIFLE (an elaboration of Ina Garten's Raspberry Trifle with Orange Tea Bread)

I know it is now July 12 as I write this but I'm a bit behind on some blogging so please bear with me.

Our friends Rosemary and Jim (their pantries were in THE PANTRY, also) had a July 4th cookout which wasn't at all dampened by the rain due to their lovely porch setting and great hospitality. Their shingle style house was made for summer entertaining and it is so warm and welcoming I could move right in (and their kitchen!). The food was incredible, as always: grilled meats and fish, shish-kabobs, many different salads and vegetables and desserts. Everyone brought something, too.





Earlier in the day we made our neighbor (and faithful blog reader) Dot a plate of salmon, peas and a bit of trifle we'd set aside [Ina Garten's Raspberry Trifle with Orange Tea Bread from one of her BAREFOOT CONTESSA cookbooks--I just added blueberries as well].

I do not remember such a celebratory Fourth of July since we all used to gather together on the 4th at my grandparents' house in Akron, Ohio. Grandpa Sei was born on July 3 and my cousin Mary, his eldest grandchild, was born on July 4, almost 60 years apart. After neighborhood parades, we would play croquet on Grandpa's perfectly manicured lawn (he founded the Portage Path Croquet Club) while waiting for the steaks to cook (my father generally did the honors) and then we'd pile inside--six cousins, four parents, and two grandparents--to enjoy another occasion altogether. It was an elegant Victorian style picnic: semi-casual and served in the dining room. After dinner we had a "P-rade" in the living room, marching to rousing marches and birthday music (Grandpa Sei was a loyal member of the Class of 1921 at Princeton so P-rades were de rigeur).

I used to take those family gatherings for granted and they are long gone now: my grandma died in 1973, Grandpa in 1982, my uncle in 1986, my father in 2002, and my parents divorced in 1974. The house at 425 North Portage Path was sold in 1983 but I remember it, as clearly as if I were still there. My grandpa was patriotic to the core so it was fitting that he was born on the Fourth of July.

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