It's hot. This is not news or a surprise. I do, after all, live in the Deep South and it is July. The last few weeks, I've been pondering something. Why do people feel led to eat outside on the Fourth of July? I've examined this with anyone I can draw into the conversation, which to be honest is only Ms. Classy and Dr. Effervescent. Ms. Classy loves to wear a subject out as well as I do and Dr. Effervescent is an anthropologist. You know how they love to ponder. Everybody else looks at me like I'm crazy when I try to make them speculate about this behavior, which I consider to be unbalanced.
This is what we've come up with: It's not because of making ice cream. I admit making ice cream with the old salt and ice method makes a mess, but try eating it outside. Pretty soon you've got liquid ice cream, which is what you started with in the first place. I pointed out to Ms. Classy that, these days, most people have those ice cream makers with the cylinders that you freeze. No mess. Ms. Classy said that you can buy ice cream. She should know. She's got nineteen-year-old twin boys and they can eat. She buys a lot of ice cream.
Dr. Effervescent thinks it's because somewhere along the way some man wanted to have a party on Independence Day, and his wife said, "Fine! But you're cooking. I cooked Christmas, Thanksgiving and on everybody's birthday. I'm not doing it." So the man cranked up the grill. That explains the cooking outside but not the eating. Grilled food can be taken inside where there is air conditioning, I know. I've done it. Anyway, lots of people eat outside even if they cooked inside or bought barbecue.
I guess people think they are supposed to have a picnic because it's the Fourth of July like they are supposed to have a Christmas tree. This I blame on the media. People on television and in magazines have picnics to celebrate this country's liberation from England--complete with red, white, and blue bunting. Everybody's supposed to fall in line. Well. I can almost promise you those people with that patriotic bunting, live where it's cooler and they are grabbing one of their few opportunities to be in the great out of doors for a holiday.
This is what I think. Here in the Deep South, we need to keep ourselves and our food inside in July. If we are going eat outside on a holiday, it should be Thanksgiving when it's seventy degrees, the trees are turning, and the bugs are dead. Then we should go on television and in magazines and demonstrate to the rest of the world that turkey is to be eaten outside.
Did you have picnic on the Fourth of July? If so, why?