Fourth of July = Massive Overeat. How could one possibly resist literally falling off the bone ribs, cedar plank chicken, watermelon laden fruit salad, sausage spotted pasta salad, baconey potato salad, sweet sun-yellow corn, and a smattering of summer berry pies? And why would anyone resist really? Somehow got lucky enough to not work on the fourth, so drove on home then down to family friend Dave’s house on the Clearwater. Good to be home, even better to be home and stuffing my fat little face. Dave is an excellent cook, and in particular the master of the cedar plank. First cedar plank experience was roasted goat for New Years. Real good. And it’s only gotten better. Indubitably the best ribs I’ve ever had. Some secret barbeque sauce + plank + low n’ slow heat = oh heaven and a messy face. (and the olives. Have I already rambled about THE olives? I’m a big olive-eater. I like ’em all, from wrinkly kalamatas to the giant juicy green ones to the sliced black canned variety, but Dave’s homemade olives are something else. Not salty. Nope. Vinegary like crazy. And SO good. Camie and I are obsessed, thankfully no one else is quite as infatuated and we can just huddle over the jar like selfish little creatures. Dave let me take the last jar, it was like Christmas.)

(There’s Tucker, who can’t resist licking the meaty, barbequey plank, even though he’s burning the crap out of this little tongue.)

Everything else in the potluck sorta deal was tasty in its Americana glory as well, but I was sort of very distracted by my plate of ribs. (And second plate, which once empty I quickly hid then denied its existence.) Then, friends, a coconut cake. Which I never would have imagined I would like/love, but it was just gloriously light and sweet and scrumptious. Jess and little far-too-clever-to-be-only-seven Hayden made the praised cake, decorated with American flag fruit, as you do. And then a strawberry pie as well, just in case we weren’t quite stuffed enough. Which went a little like this: buttery pie crust, cream cheesy stuff, sugary strawberries. Mhhm, yep, ok then. 5,000 calories and much joy later, we decided the best thing to do was probably jump into the negative 200 degree river and float around for a bit. And after that we felt we’d earned s’mores, and thus commenced the sitting around the fire, frantically blowing out ignited marshmallows, getting sticky hands and sticky, smiley faces, listening to Dad (also known as PopPop) and Lex playing Steve Earle songs, and feeling very content and I guess pretty American.

Ribity ribs. Very seriously falling off the bone. I feel sad now writing about it because there is no rib meat in my mouth or hands or anywhere near me.

Chicken, baked beans, potato sal, pasta sal, fruit sal, RIBS. Not pictured, the sweetest corn ever. Which became corn and black bean and a bunch of other stuff salad the next day.

Piglet! Happy little piglet.

And though I thought I would never have to eat again, the next morning I managed to wolf down about fifteen pumpkin pancakes. Which I had never encountered before, but have adopted as my new favorite thing in the whole wide world of breakfast.

Is this not the rockin-est spot on the whole earth? I don’t know why exactly, but a good Fourth of July requires close proximity to a body of water. Strangely one of my most fun Fourths was in Bermuda, eating Portuguese doughnuts at an old British port. Not so American, good nonetheless.

Dad and I, post schnib-stealing. (Schnib = tasty little meat morsels scavenged before dinner. Extra rib bits, burnt little pieces of chicken. Mmm.)