Friday, July 1, 2011

Life, Liberty, Food, Music, & the Pursuit of Happiness

Icky June gloom is over and the 4th of July long sunny holiday weekend has arrived.  YAY!!!!

The 4th means celebrations all over the US of A with friends, family, food, and fireworks. 

Amidst all the festivities though, I can at times lose sight of what we are actually celebrating - which is freedom from oppression and tyranny achieved in the United States in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. (Note: Go see it in the National Archives if you haven't - Coolest historical thing in DC in my opinion).

I wasn't born in the US and my family is not originally from the US, but I am grateful to be here now, to be accepted, and to live my life the way I please without fear of retaliation or censorship.  I think it's a particularly poignant 4th of July celebration this year as people around the world strive to be free from oppressive governmental regimes.  I am inspired and humbled by the brave struggles of the men and women in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Syria as they have fought this year, and continue to fight, to have the unalienable rights we have enjoyed for 236 years - Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

And to celebrate Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, below are three really great videos that I think depict each one these unalienable rights.


The Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Mr. James Brown (RIP) shows us his interpretation of "Living in America".  This 1985 gem is flashy, dancey, and inter splices scenes from Rocky movies - an American pop culture cornerstone.  This video is awesome - lots of sequence and classic shots of 1985 US work force.  Enjoy. Woot!


I know what some of you are thinking: "Really Z?  Kid Rock?  What's next Nickelback?"  Alright - admittedly sort of outside my general genre, but this is a good song and the lyrics depicts Liberty - the idea of being born free "like a river raging . . . and Wild like an untamed stallion".  I like the expansive beachy and open road shots... You keep on Kid Rock - there ain't no chains on you sir!!! Now go drink a handle of Jack for breakfast.   


The Pursuit of Happinss means many things to different people, but without getting philosophical... A good party makes most people happy - and the Beastie Boys do it well.  America's ancestors fought hard for our right to party, and I believe we all should make them proud this weekend :)  

Partying and food go hand in hand, and as such it just wouldn't be a true 4th of July celebration without copious amounts of desserts (we Americans like excess - it's OK we can cop to it).

Here's a no-brainer, 4th of July desserts generally incorporate the ol' Red, White, and Blue elements - and that's easy.

Red: Strawberries, blueberries, red hots, fruit roll ups (red stripes), red sprinkles, red food coloring 

 White: White frosting, white chocolate chips (white stars)

Blue: Blueberries, blackberries, blue food coloring, blue m&ms

And there you have it - Flag waving desserts! 

Although I would love to bake from scratch this weekend, I am alas a little pinched for time.  So, I am going "Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade" Style with Flag Cupcakes made from the items you see below.  And because I am party hopping on the 4th, cupcakes are perfect for me to bring along to share at each celebration (hopefully they don't melt along the way!)

If you do have a little more time this weekend, I recommend trying out the most famous of Flag Cakes - Ina Garten's tried and true recipe - Over 600 home cooks can't be wrong - this recipe is fab and not hard!  Check out Ina making her patriotic cake below, and for the recipe - click here.

 I say unto all of you this weekend - Rejoice in your freedoms, Be safe, Enjoy your loved ones, Eat well, and finally...

As Katy says - Be a firework, and don't forget to let your colors burst :)

Happy 4th!!! 

Hugs and Kisses


  1. Love this blog post. It is so easy to forgot why we are celebrating among the fireworks, food, and day events. Thank you for reminding me in a fun way why we are celebrating. It brings gratitude to my heart.

  2. Many thanks El! Look forward to celebrating with you this weekend :)

  3. I love your patriotic spirit! Was just thinking of what to bring to a 4th-of-July party and now I want to make one of those fabulous cakes!

    (Hmmm...I wonder how I can make it lower-calorie, mwah-hah-ah-ha...)

  4. Happy 4th Z. Hopefully someday soon the people of the Middle East will be able to protest without being murdered. Always think about you when I read about that stuff. -Ian