general information and events

fourth of july weekend 2013.

fourth of july burgers, 2013.

Hiiii! *waves furiously* Did the Fourth of July weekend whisk right past us or what? I would have written sooner, but I’ve been busy.

fourth of july 2013.

fourth of july 2013.

fourth of july 2013.

Sooooooo busy.

fourth of july 2013.

fourth of july 2013.

fourth of july 2013.

Terribly, terribly busy. *ahem*

So the second year of blogging via vacation has come upon us, and if there’s one thing I have learned, it is this: that taking photos in the moments between when the food is uncovered and everyone lines up to eat is just flat-out annoying to everyone but the food bloggers in the room. Actually, it’s become annoying to me too, because I don’t like the hush which falls over the (small) crowd, like somehow I’ve morphed into Ansel Adams and a mere whisper from the crowd could mean the snow falls off the one perfect pine I am focusing on. I am not Ansel Adams. Photos of food during parties is hard, and that difficulty is compounded by difficult evening light.

fourth of july 2013.

It takes me a minute to remember how the lighting works on vacation each year. Also, I use my mom’s camera so I don’t have to travel with mine, which is different from my own. Let’s be honest; those burgers up there look like they’re in a prison lineup, so clearly I’m still getting used to the new environment. Bear with me.

This year, I made sure I saved some of the things we made so I could recreate them for you. We didn’t do anything super-exciting, because when you party with mostly octogenarians, they do not want anything very spicy or thrilling; they want good and familiar. So we did just that.

The Menu

  • Turkey + Caramelized Onion Burgers (with traditional toppings) on Potato Buns
  • Cali Beef Burgers with Sprouts + Guacamole on Wheat Buns
  • Fresh Corn + Tomato Hash
  • Traditional Cole Slaw
  • “Mexican” Beans (which are in no way Mexican, but those are like, easily from the 1950’s, and you know how cookbooks were back then)
  • French Onion Dip + Chips
  • Relish Tray
  • Fresh Fruit + Pastry Cream Tart (remember? we made that last year. It’s become a favorite)
  • Snickers Tart (which is that Candy Bar Tart, only with peanuts in for the walnuts)
  • Ice Cream Micro-Bar with Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Summer Berries, + Fudge Sauce (watch now, while I find an excuse to make the fudge sauce for every event)

corn hash for fourth of july.

And so it went: good food, lots of talking, big laughs, and full stomachs. The usual, which is nice for a few days into the vacation. We watched the fireworks mostly on the television, as it had been pretty rainy here, and all you see when that happens is the smoke that gathers from the fireworks rather than the actual fireworks.

the remains of the fruit tart.

I’m excited to see what all of you did for the holiday! I’ve barely turned on the laptop for a few days now, because, you know, busy. I hope you had a fabulous weekend, celebrations or no.

snickers tart. really, the candy bar tart.

I’ll see you soon with actual recipes: I really got a massive amount done in my home kitchen before I came down here, so I’ll be sharing some of those recipes interspersed with things we make down here. I was on the ground for less than 6 hours before we were cooking up our always-favorite fish tacos (you can find the slaw that makes them special here), so we haven’t gotten too creative yet. That will change soon.



You Might Also Like


  • Reply Amrita July 9, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Happy Belated July 4th! Where’d you go on vacation? It was gorgeous weather in St Louis, only about 79 degrees. We hung out in a friend’s backyard and played lots of of a game called bags, AKA cornhole? I had never ever heard of it before (I guess it’s not in the south or in India) but it’s pretty fun!
    That menu sounds lovely and patriotic 🙂

    • Reply shannon July 10, 2013 at 4:41 am

      thanks, Amrita, you too! i hear it was nice up there; that’s GREAT weather for St. Louis this time of year, so you all were lucky, for sure. that sounds like so much fun! Cornhole goes by a few different names (thankfully, as i can’t typically bring myself to say “cornhole” without laughing hysterically), and i’m not sure where it originated. i may google search that, because i think i always assumed it WAS from the south. it is fun…that’s for sure.

      • Reply Amrita July 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm

        Speaking of, my boyfriend giggled every time he said the ‘cornhole’ and loved talking about how much he enjoyed the game of cornhole 😛

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats July 9, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Looks like you’re having a fabulous and relaxing vacation!!! And what a spread you cooked up. Wish I could have been there 🙂 Also, I so wish they sold the wee one’s bathing suit in adult proportions. She looks so cute!!!

    • Reply shannon July 10, 2013 at 4:38 am

      it’s been pretty relaxing so far, and i’m grateful for that. my sister was only here for a week, so she’s come and gone, and that went by fast, but i still have two weeks here, so i’m going to really enjoy it. I wish you could have been here too! It was lots of food, even though we tried to make it simple.
      little kid bathing suits are the BEST, right? they really should offer adult sizing in them, i agree.

  • Reply Wendy July 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Looks like wonderful food ,in a wonderful location, on a wonderful vacation! Savor your family time. 🙂

    • Reply shannon July 10, 2013 at 4:36 am

      wendy, you rhymed! 🙂 it’s always a nice time for everyone, i think. good break in the action. 🙂

  • Reply Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen July 10, 2013 at 10:20 am

    What a spread for 4th of July!! I am also impressed that you’ve prepared dishes in advance of holidays.. I can barely keep up when I’m home, lol! I love your burger recipes and am off to see if I can whip these up tonight (the Cali burger that is) xx

    • Reply shannon July 13, 2013 at 4:59 am

      Thank you, Barbara! I’m very lucky to have a beautifully equipped kitchen down here where we vacation, so making food isn’t as difficult as it would be if i were staying in a place with a tiny kitchenette; that would be a whole other story. 🙂 AND i have family help down here, who are all willing to pitch in and stir/bake/cook, and that’s always nice.
      Hope you liked the Cali burger as much as we did! I don’t know what it is, but I love sprouts and guac on burgers and sandwiches alike.

  • Reply Ashley July 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Just…awesome. Vacation, food, family, relaxation. Love all of it!…with an extra piece of candy bar tart. And a screened-in patio. Oh man…

    • Reply shannon July 13, 2013 at 4:57 am

      So much fun. People should do this for therapy. As in, everyone should be required to vacation somewhere with a screened in pool and candy bar tarts. It may be essential for living.

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats July 10, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Your fourth looks AMAZING! I wish I could have been there… and SWAM IN THAT POOL! Quite a view from there, too. Good lord, it looks amazing!

    And the palm trees. And the pretty sky picture! And the wee one!

    Do they make that swimsuit in grownup sizes?

    • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats July 10, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      hehehe, i said the same thing about the swimsuit! Maybe we should start a swimsuit company together???

    • Reply shannon July 13, 2013 at 4:53 am

      The pool is lovely, and it’s one of those where it’s solar heated so even if it should be way too chilly, it isn’t. it’s wonderful. We are super-spoiled with the view: Florida is nice because you see the whole “houses overlooking lake” thing quite a bit, and it’s really a nice feature. Until you see an alligator sunning itself on the neighbor’s lawn; and yes, that DID happen last year, but i haven’t seen him this year yet, so…thank god for pool screens.

      you don’t know how many times i’ve asked myself about why they don’t make the cute kid suits in adult sizes. You and Amy may be onto something, for real. Who doesn’t want a ballerina ruffled sailboat suit?

  • Reply movita beaucoup July 11, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Next year I will be vacationing with you.

    (Don’t tell 2.0.)

  • Reply Monica July 11, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Hi! Isn’t it crazy that July 4th almost seems like a long time ago! What a menu that is and while on vacation, no less! I seriously would not be able to pass that table without first snapping up a piece of that tart just in case. I understand about taking pics. I try to avoid situations where I need to take pictures of the food while I have people over but it’s unavoidable sometimes. I just try to get a quick one (or my husband tries) and that’s that. I think you did an admirable job. Glad you had a nice vacation. Your daughter is a cutie! : )

    • Reply shannon July 13, 2013 at 4:49 am

      Thank you, Monica! It does actually seem like ages ago…how funny summer can be; at the beginning, it feels like you have endless amounts of time, then boom: all the sudden it speeds up and it’s gone. We love that tart: it’s so incredibly easy to make, but it’s really delicious, and light. But you’re talking to the girl who would willingly eat an entire bowl of pastry cream with a spoon. 🙂

      I do as well: like if i can sneak everything in before people arrive, great, or if i can set things up the next day (like i did here), wonderful. I’d much rather do that than get in everyone’s way. That’s nice that your husband helps with the photo-snapping! Mr. Table sometimes helps by notifying everyone that I need to take a photo or two – he’s so used to it.

      the Wee One is so adorable in the summer…she’s all swimsuits and ponytails and energy and it’s really fun to watch.

  • Reply Deb July 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    I have given up on photographing food “just” before we eat it. I wasn’t fun for any of us! And holidays and vacations are meant for fun! Enjoy, the summer is flying by!

    • Reply shannon July 13, 2013 at 4:44 am

      that’s so good to hear that others run into the same problems i do trying to photograph everything right before people eat. I feel so nerdy doing it, and there’s never an easy way to go about it. the summer IS flying by; we were just talking about that the other day, so i’m definitely taking time to enjoy what remains of my vacation.

  • Reply Emma July 16, 2013 at 4:38 am

    What’s your favorite thing that you’ve eaten down there so far? What’s your favorite thing that you’ve seen? I am guessing it is the lack-of-gator?

    Happy continued vacation! As I was slogging through the woods yesterday, I was feeling so overheated that I considered jumping into a beaver pond. Poolside/lakeside/oceanside would be so much better!

    • Reply shannon July 16, 2013 at 5:40 am

      Favorite thing eaten: a saffron seafood stew that had mussels, clams, shrimp, other fish i can’t think of which were excellent, and the best scallops i’ve maybe ever had in my life. like little pats of butter, they were. The whole thing was like liquid sea treasure. 🙂
      Favorite thing i’ve seen: emma, darling, this is like, the old people part of sarasota county. which means there’s really no end to the favorite things i’ve seen in terms of comedy, so there’s that. 🙂 let’s see…i love the clouds down here, because they’re so incredibly defined in the sky (from storms constantly coming in from the Gulf) that the look like someone whipped up meringue batter and just whiffed it into the air. they’re that solid-looking and really fantastic against the blue sky. Even better is seeing them maybe a half hour before sunset, when the sky looks like a postcard from the fifties; lots of peaches and yellow and gold and light aqua; very dramatic. We drove through a place called Venice Gardens the other day on our way somewhere, which is a sleepy beach community built in the fifties, and it was like driving on-set to a movie located in the American South circa early 1960’s – i need to go back and snap pics – it’s run down now, but you can absolutely picture how amazing and innocent and perfect a little family town it was back then, right down to the chain-link-fenced in civic center pool (which has, i swear, not been updated since then). i love finding spots like that that are largely untouched; it’s refreshing. What else (since i’m writing a mini-post here)…lots of sailboats one night, which made me think of you and brianne and basically anyone living near water. Stella making sandcastles for the first time. The incredible thrift store finds down here…speaking of, i still can’t get this one guy out of my mind from one of the Goodwill stores we were in, like in a haunting way. Dude was petite, thin, obviously down on his luck and possibly homeless, but polite, and actually very attractive were you to really clean him up. classic good looks buried under lots of hard times, if you will. anyway, no shirt on under an open sweatshirt, cutoff shorts, etc; the norm for down here at thrift stores, sadly. blended in until later, when we heard one of the for-sale pianos being played. after listening for a bit (we couldn’t see the piano from where we were), we realized it was a very complicated piece played in the way that only really trained, really gifted people could play it. Mom went to see who it was. it was the homeless dude. he played like a professional musician but he didn’t have enough money to buy his own shoes and a set of broken down tv trays. it made us all sort of cry a little about it and get teary and talk about what could have happened in this guy’s life. so because i’m the way i am, and grew up listening to The Cure, most likely, i think that was one of the most favorite things i saw too, because he made me think. i may write a post about it (although now i just feel like i did, oy.) 🙂
      no gators this time! happily, since there was one last year who loved to sun himself on the banks of the lake out back. we’ve wondered what’s happened to him, and mom thinks he’s still in there, but i say he’s not, given the amount of squirrels and rabbits in the area this year.
      thank you! happy forest-slogging to you in the North Maine Woods! 🙂 I’ve never seen a beaver pond, but i would love to; i can assume a beach or lake may be better in terms of swimming.

    Leave a Reply