The fourth of July itself. A celebration of the United States of America. On a bluff in Pacific Palisades, overlooking the Malibu shoreline, I spent the evening with a bunch of people: a Smith, whose father met her Korean mother while stationed in her country as an American soldier (and who, incongruously, contributed homemade rugelach as well as Korean barbecue to the potluck. She perfected the rugelach recipe making it for her boyfriend's bubbe and zayde, who've been living in a bungalow on those bluffs for years). A Gandin, whose family has been in Los Angeles for generations, and has tamales running alongside matzoh ball soup through her veins. A Ziv, whose dad would pay the consequences of being AWOL in the Israeli military just to steal moments with the woman who would be his son's mother. A Har, whose expansive knowledge of American culture rarely belies the fact that she spent her childhood in Korea. A Morakawa, who keeps kosher in her mom's tradition, despite her secular friends' nagging her to stray. A Craig (just met him, don't know his last name!), a Brit living in Australia, walking the earth for 6 months on extended holiday, landing in LA just in time to experience a true American holiday. And many others, each with a unique and incredible history.
We ate cookies (and cornbread stars, and salmon burgers, and German potato salad, and Korean barbecue on skewers, and tomato salad, and Nathan's gourmet franks, and vegan bean dip, and more and more and more cookies), played frisbee, listened to old reggae and Stevie Wonder, and caught something like 10 different fireworks shows, peppering the sky, up and down the coast. Then at the end of the night, we lit our own sparklers, and waved them around, watching the glowing trails, fascinated by the shiny things like so many little kids. It's amazing how the fourth of July can send everyone back to their childhood, and sometimes even further back.
But flash forward to the present. The United States may be celebrating its independence, but Italy just beat Germany in the last two minutes of overtime -- truly something to celebrate! So, I made a caprese salad. I recently was looking at an issue of Cooking Light at my sister's and they had a recipe for caprese. It seems silly -- it's like giving a recipe for fried eggs. So, I won't. Just the ingredients in mine: a wide variety of cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzerella balls, fresh basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, the end.
Stars and Stripes (and bibimbap, and pupusas, and dolma, and tahdig, and onigiri, and tacos, and felafel, and bao, and pho tai, and tom ka khai, and sag paneer) FOREVER!