Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day on Lake Michigan

Memorial Day is the best time to take a run down the lakeside parks along Lake Michigan, just south of the Northwestern Campus. This holiday invites celebration. While we honor the men and women we have lost in combat, we also honor America... and what is more American than a BBQ picnic?

Families from all walks of life were out today, enjoying the sun and the company of loved ones around dozens of smoking grills. Of course, my attention was captured by the diversity of the food laying on the picnic tables. The hot dogs, bratwurst and hamburger were ubiquitous, but I couldn't help but notice that each family did "picnic" a little differently. I saw salsa being made fresh, everyone from aging grandmothers to teenage cousins participating in the slicing and dicing of vegetables; I saw a Tupperware filled with homemade noodles and a bottles of Kimchi sitting on top. Everywhere people were grilling corn, some in the husk, some without, one family added lime and chili, and another some butter and salt. There were avocado halves with spoons for easy snacking and fresh-tamales warm in their little pouches. I saw Cheese-its and Oreos, stake fajitas and mushroom kebabs, bags of fresh light-as-air puff pastry and lunch from Panera.

Though it may not seem note worthy to many, I am moved by the great American-ness of this day. There is no such thing as an All-American BBQ. Today, I saw at least 20 different kinds of the most American lunches around, everything from tofu sausages to sauerkraut to soy sauce.

Happy Memorial Day