Celebrate July 4 with the Country Cook

July 4th celebrations are complete with grilled meats and savory side dishes, like this German potato salad.

July 4th has always been a big celebration in my family as it was my mother’s birthday. This year would have been my mother’s 108th birthday and her influence lives on in her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. The word “mom” does not even touch the many things she was in our family and the many other’s whose lives she touched. With a family of nine sons and two daughters there was always enough food for another plate for a hungry visitor or some outgrown clothes for the needy. Mom, you live on in my life every day.

Fourth of July celebrations date back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. Officially we have celebrated since 1776 to the huge celebrations each year currently. No matter what else you do on the fourth — FLY THOSE FLAGS in honor of our military, fire fighters, and other first responders working this holiday and every day so our life continues on safe and secure. The list is endless — hospitals, care givers and as my grandson said “anybody helping everybody”.

The 4th of July celebration usually includes steak on the grill, hot dogs, burgers and hot sausages. Today I will do the all important side dishes. Lots of chips and dips are brought but let’s do some great sides.

CRUNCHY EGG SALAD

Hard boil 6 extra large eggs, peel when cooled and chop into a bowl. Combine 1/2 cup celery, 1/4 cup diced green peppers, 1 tablespoon chopped pimientos, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix this with the eggs. Mix well and refrigerate before serving.

GERMAN POTATO SALAD

This recipe came from my friend Elsa. Fry 2 slices of bacon, mincing before frying. Add one chopped onion in pan with bacon and bacon fat. Add 1 tablespoon flour, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, dash of pepper and 3 tablespoons mustard. Mix well and remove from heat. Cook enough sliced potatoes to equal 5 cups, until tender but not mushy. Mix the cooked dressing with drained potatoes — mixing lightly but thoroughly. Serve warm.

SPINACH SALAD

Blend together 1/2 cup scour cream with 2 tablespoons horseradish, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup crushed walnuts and one 12 ounce container cottage cheese. Mix well. Just before serving add one 10 ounce package fresh spinach. Toss well and serve immediately.

THREE BEAN SALAD

Drain the juice from one small can green beans and one small can kidney beans. Place the beans in a bowl and add 1 small chopped onion, 1 chopped green pepper, one 2 ounce can pimientos, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup oil and 1 teaspoon celery seed. Mix all ingredients well and refrigerate before serving.

Every gathering calls for fresh sliced tomatoes, corn on the cob, cucumbers and onions, macaroni salad, fresh slices of watermelon and whatever else Mother Nature is offering right now. Have the children make cards for our troops overseas and in military hospitals. Make cards for the nursing homes and shut-ins at home. Happy 4th of July to all.

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