Celebrating the all-American way


Gary Stevens, Wikimedia Commons

A platter of old-fashioned fried chicken is sure to be popular at family gatherings this summer.

There are many ways to celebrate our Fourth of July holiday, but being that this is a food column, we will mostly focus on how good food contributes to our traditional celebrations all across the country.

I am not against trying new things (especially food), but must admit I hold a special place in my heart for many of our nation’s tried-and-true recipes. Sometimes I would like to break tradition, just a bit, and present some new dishes to our holiday table, whether indoors or outdoors. But so many people in our family have their favorites they have come to expect, they would not be happy if I left any of those dishes out, like my oldest son’s passion for my macaroni salad.

He has the recipe to make it himself, but of course he claims it’s so much better when Mom makes it. Flattery does have an effect, I suppose.

I am hoping that all of you are looking forward to a summer of good health, good times and good food. We Americans are a resourceful lot and COVID-19 or no, we will manage to figure out a way to make the best of any situation. Take care and stay safe.

All-American potato salad

I often use prepared mustard instead of dry. Also, I prefer potatoes to be peeled after cooking.

About 3 pounds unpeeled red potatoes

1/2 cup diced onion (any kind)

1/2 cup diced celery

1/4 cup sweet or dill pickle relish

3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

3/4 cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dry mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste

Paprika, for garnish

1. Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to boil. Cook until just tender. Be careful not to overcook. Drain and cube, leaving unpeeled if you like. Place in bowl with next 4 ingredients; toss gently.

2. Combine sour cream and next 5 ingredients; stir well. Pour over potato mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle top with paprika. Cover and chill. Makes about 9 1-cup servings.

Cat’s All-American macaroni salad

1 package (16-oz.) salad macaroni

3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1 small can chopped ripe olives

1 jar diced pimentos

3/4 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped sweet pickle (according to taste)

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1 cup mayonnaise (about — I never measured anything… you just need enough to moisten the pasta)

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

Paprika

1. Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain in colander. Run some cold water over pasta; drain well.

2. While pasta is cooking, add eggs, olives, pimentos, celery, onion and pickle to a large serving bowl.

3. Add cooled pasta and mix with ingredients in bowl. Mix vinegar, mustard and mayonnaise in small bowl; add to pasta and blend well, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Smooth the top and sprinkle a small amount of paprika over all. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Note: These measurements are only approximate, as I have never done any measuring when I fix macaroni salad. Sometimes you might need to add more mayo later on, as the pasta soaks some of it up.

All-American fried chicken

Just one of many, many good fried chicken recipes.

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or equivalent in favorite parts, such as drumsticks)

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

2 eggs, whisked

3/4 cup milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil, for frying

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Rub the chicken pieces on both sides with the poultry seasoning. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and the milk together. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt and pepper. Dip the chicken in the egg and milk mixture, and then dredge the chicken in flour mixture.

2. Heat enough oil to generously cover the bottom of a large, deep pan over medium-high heat. Fry the battered chicken until all sides are golden brown and the meat is cooked through. Remove from oil and drain. Serve hot or cold.

All American hamburgers

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup minced onion

1 egg

1/4 cup packaged bread crumbs (seasoned or not)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons ketchup (I use barbecue sauce and everyone really likes it)

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons butter or margarine (if not using grill)

4 hamburger buns

Go-withs such as lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, etc.

1. Mix ground beef lightly with onion, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, ketchup or barbecue sauce, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Shape into 4 patties, 1-inch thick. Cook on barbecue grill or if you wish, saute in butter in large skillet, over medium heat, 5 minutes on each side.

2. Place on hamburger buns and serve with accompaniments.

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