Watermelon stars (cut out with cookie cutters)
I met my husband on July 4th. Well technically I did not meet him but we really found each other over the holiday. We each were living in California at the time working in different areas of the same company. I made plans with mutual friends to rent a house in Lake Tahoe over the long holiday, loving being in the mountains and hoping for some relaxing fun. ‘Husband-shopping’ was about as far from my consciousness as you could imagine. But then that’s when these things are most likely to happen, right?!
One of our first group activities planned was a hike at Squaw Valley ski area. Park, ride the chair lift up to the top of the mountain to hike. I owned a relatively new luxury car at the time and as we were driving to the ski area my now betrothed commented gently that my passenger window would not go up fully. We pulled off the side of the road and both the guys on the trip went about reality-TV worthy probing to fix the mysterious issue. Fuses were pulled out and swapped around, switches toggled with engineering prowess, all with no success.
My girl friend was not the most patient nor enthused by the tedium of the investigation and suggested we just go and leave my car in the parking lot, window down. Not ready to hold anyone up further nor bid my car adieu with the open-air invite to any hot wiring aficionados, we returned to our vacation house to let them go on in a different vehicle while I sought dealership help for the window.
My only course of action was to drive over the mountains into Reno Nevada to a dealer for help. Being an independent sort, I was fine with that, to be on my own schedule to sort it all out. After calling around and figuring out where I was going I prepared to depart and my now husband said he’d be going with me. As gallant as the gesture was, I really did not know him that well and did not want to take his vacation time sitting in a dealership on a holiday weekend possibly for the better part of the day. He insisted not wanting me to go solo.
As we ascended up the mountain pass I would periodically toggle the window switch still baffled by the malady. At one point after politely waiting through some long undoubtedly drawn out story of mine, my escort noted the window had gone up. As freakishly as the problem had developed it left, unable to be explained by my home dealer when returning to the Bay Area and leaving us with a full day on our own. Candidly a full, unplanned day felt a tall order when we did not know each other well however we opted to take the day to drive around the whole of Lake Tahoe, about 78 miles (but taking a number of hours with any traffic and the slow winding around), putting us on a gentle footing to what is now a 14 year marriage. July 4th holds a special place now for me. (As well as each July 4th reinvigorates my almost obsessive fascination with how pyrotechnics work!)
White peaches, raspberries and blueberries.
If I were free associating with July 4th food, ‘grilling’ first comes to mind. And though I don’t fully color coordinate my food with my holidays, I do love a bit of the ‘red, white and blue’ for the occasion. I typically make a very simple fruit salad of strawberries, blueberries and bananas annually appreciating a quick-to-prepare fresh salad. Takes only a minute and is very refreshing. Secretly it’s easy to whip up if picnicking or dining al fresco with a group as well.
I wanted to share some simple, festive salads I’ve prepared in the event you are stuck needing a quick idea!
Bananas, strawberries and blackberries.
PATRIOTIC FRUIT SALADS
I blend three fruits equally, planning the total salad volume for individual serving sizes to be between ½ cup to 1 cup per person. Almost any combination is delicious. Bananas and strawberries do very well together. I also have taken to cutting out watermelon stars with a small cookie cutter. As simple as that sounds, it always seems to draw excitement from adults and kids alike, I’m sure due to it being unexpected.
Peeled fruits are categorized by their internal color.
You can also turn the salad into a light dessert with the addition of some whipped cream or Crème Anglaise drizzled over the fruit.