July 4th Brunch: Culinary Road Trip Across the USA

So, this party was inspired by indecision. I couldn’t pinpoint which region to focus on so decided to cover everything. I had a few cookbooks and subscriptions that made this extra easy: Sheila Lukins’ USA Cookbook, The New Boston Globe Cookbook, and many issues of Southern Living. I came up with an invite, and we were ready to go:

Here was my menu:

California – Valencia Orange Juice, North Carolina – Biltmore Lemonade, Hawaii – Kona coffee

Florida – citrus salad with mint; Oregon – mixed berry granola with whipped vanilla yogurt; Hawaii – tropical fruit platter; Georgia – grilled peaches with blackberry butter; Pennsylvania – Dutch apple baby; Alaska – smoked halibut/salmon with bagels, cream cheese, red onions, and capers; Illinois – grilled sausages; Louisiana – pain perdu; Massachusetts – lobster rolls; Texas – breakfast enchiladas; New York – New York coffee cake; Idaho – hash browns; Maine – blueberry muffins; South Carolina – grits casserole; Mississippi – skillet cornbread

“Dessert” was chocolate cake in honor of my daughter’s high school graduation (and a few of our guests, as well).

And that covered it. It looks extensive, but just about everything was prepped days ahead. I did my set up the night before (including simple flower arrangements), sticky notes as place holders for serving dishes so I wouldn’t forget anything (well, it’s been known to happen!). I also had cute state stickers saved from years ago to “identify” the dishes.

My tables were easy: plain white tablecloths, old maps, the ubiquitous red-white-and-blue sequins, a few candles, and flowers, and that was it.

The morning of, I did the last-minute things I had to do, including directing my sous chefs. Have you ever noticed how everyone wants to be in the kitchen during a party? Especially if everything looks a little, well, ambitious? So, put them to work!

It was a little bit crazy, with lots of friends, but so much fun!