In this very special patriotic All American Fourth of July edition of the Food Section Digestion, we start in the nation's capital with the all-American obsession with weight loss. The Washington Post's Katherine Tallmadge writes that milk may actually help you lose weight. And not just milk - milk products like cheese! The key is calcium, the mechanism is not understood. While you puzzle it out, prepare some dips for your weekend barbecue from recipes collected by Bonnie Berwick.
Where are you going to hold that barbecue, anyway? The New York Times's Matt and Ted Lee think a public park grill is a fine choice. Hmmm. If you grill on a Saturday, can you still enjoy your sundae? Kate Rentschler thinks you can, especially if you accessorize.
In the Chicago Tribune, Annette Gooch (love the name) is a woman after my own heart as she explains just how the ice cream in that sundae works chemically. Wolfgang Puck recalls his first fourth of July barbecue and the food-coma it induced. Instead of the soporific potato salads one usually sees at a 'cue, Puck suggests succotash without suffering.
In Ben Franklin's hometown, the Philadelphia Inquirer recognizes that standard July 4th fare may not cut it in the Atkins diet world of today and offers tips for a low-carb Independence Day.
Up in the other hotbed of the Revolution, the Boston Globe offers up dessert in the form of Petsi's Blueberry Pie. I have NO idea who Petsi is. Maybe she was the inspiration for the Oven Steamed Salmon with Cucumber Scales, Peas, and Mayonnaise?
If you want to get out of town for the Fourth weekend, you could do worse than to head to New Orleans, American only because the mail in 1815 was slow. The New Orleans Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson tells us the tourist crowds are missing in the summer heat and the dishes at the fantastic restaurants in town are lighter and more adventuresome.
The Denver Post's Ellen Sweets celebrates the Red White and Blue with red, white, and blue potatoes and a mess of potato salads. Wolfgang Puck is snoozing in the corner already. Wake him up for some inventive watermelon treats that Sweets fixed up for the picnic.
What's a picnic without strawberries? Hsao-Ching-Chou in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes up some tips for picking good berries and some good ways to use the little flavor powerhouses at your barbecue.
But are you really barbecuing? Are you sure? Andy King writes in the Portland Phoenix that you don't know what you're talking about; unless you're slowly smoking your meat you're just grilling.
Maybe "just" grilling isn't fair. The L.A. Times interview Ludovic Lefebvre about, among other things, the difference in French and American attittudes towards the grill. All this while he grills a lobster with citrus and tarragon over Chinese binchotan wood. If you're more vegetarian, you could toss some fava beans on the grill. No, really. Just ask Regina Schrambling who likes favas grilled and eats them, pods and all. If you'd like even more wild ideas, Charles Perry rounds up the exotic in this summer's batch of barbecue grill cookbooks.
So for the Americans reading this whether at home or abroad - Grab a brew or a glass of wine, go forth and grill ye this weekend, whether ye grill hot dogs or pulled pork, or lobster, or portobello mushrooms and celebrate the 218th birthday of a country that gave the world the charcoal briquette.