Living in the United Kingdom, I don’t do that much to celebrate American independence. I do love fireworks, but not enough to go find some to blow up on the day. No, instead I hang out with another ex-pat friend on the nearest weekend and BBQ; this tradition is only a couple of years old, but we’re both sincere about keeping it going. After all, what is more American than enjoying good food with friends? Very little, I maintain!
Still, I’m going to actually be amongst people tonight, so I figured I’d try my hand at making a most American dessert to take along. As it’s a crafting group, I immediately discarded pie as too messy (as much as I do love a good apple pie). Instead, I opted for something that says summer and July very strongly to me — the Coca-Cola cake. The ingredients look too weird to make anything good, but I hoped the memory of taste from 17 years or so ago held true. It turn out it did — the piece I let myself have last night was indulgently rich and light, and I think it’s a fine example of American ingenuity (and science). It makes me think of my father’s birthday parties, as that was when we would have the cake. My grandmother would make it, and we’d enjoy it outside by their pool, basking in the glorious Texas//July sunshine. It’s hard to not feel free under those circumstances, and grateful too to have such bounty.
But really, on a day like today, one doesn’t need a big external display; one can merely look inward and reflect on the good and bad about the US of A. It’s a scrappy nation full of optimism and opinion. That doesn’t mean that it’s all good opinion, but there is a lot to be said about the bootstraps mentality (and against it too, but yanno… two sides to all coins). I can appreciate the rugged individualism just as much as I admire the British sense of community and all-in-it-togetherness.
But today… I’ll mainly think about the cake.