The Pursuit of Happiness, 2017
John Adams predicted that the Fourth of July would be forever celebrated with fireworks, music, pomp, parades, shows, sports, bells, bonfires and speeches. And that’s exactly what happened. It appears we’ve also added feasting to the list. But I’m sure the Founding Fathers—many of whom were foodies—would find no harm in the addition.
In that spirit, I began my extended Independence Day celebration on Sunday with a stroll through the Central West End. The charming neighborhood is awash with sidewalk cafes, galleries, boutiques, shops and pubs.
It’s easy to find a slice of Americana on any street corner. Flags waved from poles and buildings. People with pets in tow gathered around tables strung along the sidewalks. All were happily exercising those “unalienable rights” set forth in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
During the course of our wanderings, Robin, JC and I lunched at Sub Zero, had ice cream at Jeni’s, and a stop at a friends house, where I was gifted with a lovely kalanchoe plant.
Flags Flying in the Central West End
I Pondered: “What Would the Founders Eat?”
The founders would undoubtedly frown upon many of the foods that we “dare” to eat today. During our stop at Sub Zero, Robin and JC got some superb sushi, though it’s unlikely 18th century Englishmen ever ate the ancient Japanese dish.
I had a Lobster BLT. Lobster! Forsooth and for shame! In early America, the crustacean was considered fit only for fish bait, fertilizer, or prison food. And my iced tea would not become a mainstream beverage until after the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
Only my ice cream enjoyed at Jeni’s would have been recognized by our ancestors. During his presidency, Thomas Jefferson popularized the delicacy by serving guests a concoction made by means of an arduous 18-step ordeal.
On the flip side, the founders enjoyed food combinations we no longer favor. For instance, Dolley Madison had a taste for ice cream made with fresh Potomac oysters. You won’t find that at Jeni’s.
Ice Cream Stop at Jeni’s
On Tuesday, the Fourth of July, I’ll gather as usual at Tom and Lisa’s for more food and a view of the fireworks from his porch. We’ll do some of the things John Adams said we would. But we’ll also feast on burgers and brats. We’ll even cook them on an outdoor grill—a technique that would have been quite familiar to the Founding Fathers.
Happy Fourth of July!
Sub Zero Vodka Bar. 308 N. Euclid. Open: Mon-Fri 11a-1:30a; Sat 10a-1:30a; Sun 10a-12a. Extensive sushi menu as well as burgers, sandwiches, salads, and brunch dishes.