The 4th of July is a celebration of Independence, with fireworks and weiner roasts and marshmallows and chocolate bars melted into s’mores. Don’t forget the parades and concerts. But the best (okay, so I’m a little prejudiced here) is a 4th of July tea time while enjoying it all.
I start with the teapots – yes, plural. When having guests over I often use several teapots, one for black, one for green, and one for whatever odd item someone may prefer. Rooibos, for example, or chamomile, or even some Tutti Fruiti. My 6-cupper “Betty Blue” joins in with “Whitey” (a 4-cupper) and “Mini-Whitey” (a one-cupper). A red tablecloth makes the perfect setting and adds the right color touch.
Of course, you may want your tea iced and so may your guests. Keep a big bucket of ice handy, steep up the tea hot and extra strong (so that it doesn’t get too diluted by the ice), fill glasses with ice, and pour the tea (sweetened or not as you prefer) into the glass over the ice.
You can also pour the hot tea over ice in a big pitcher and take it to the table outside decorated with flags and bunting and banners and stars and a host of treats fitting that red, white, and blue color scheme.
The fireworks at your 4th of July tea time is through the visuals of the décor and the brightness of the flavors. A brisk tea such as PG Tips for steeping and then pouring over that ice is one such example. Peppermint candies are good but not very substantial, so here is a list of foods full of fireworks (hot spices) that would be great for this special day:
- Salsa – Eaten with nacho chips, great as a snack or appetizer. Jalapeño peppers combine with tomatoes and onions and cilantro to get the fireworks going on your tongue.
- Chili – Beans and ground beef (or other meats of your choice – even buffalo), plus tomatoes and tons of hot peppers and other spices (some so secret that the recipe is kept locked up in a safe by their owners). Check out this one.
- Hot Soups – These can vary but here’s one to try.
- Spicy Fried Chicken – Southern flair adds fireworks to one of the most classic of American “comfort foods.” This recipe shows how. A bit of cayenne pepper, plus paprika and hot pepper sauce are three reasons why you’ll need plenty of iced tea.
- Tilapia Thai Style – Coconut milk does little to quench the fire from the red curry paste in this recipe. As a fan of Thai cuisine, though, I’m willing to risk those flavor fireworks.
After all that spiciness, go for the sweets, featuring dessert with plenty of strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream. I’m thinking this red, white, and blue trifle is the best option!
After all that tea and spicy food and sweet desserts you will enter a state of torpidity where movement will be rather less than desirable, not to mention unachievable. Just sit so you are looking in the direction of the local fireworks show, lean back, and relax.
Have a great 4th of July celebration!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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