When I was a kid, 4th of July weekend was definitely the start of summer. We’d pack what seemed like all of our belongings and drive up to the Catskills to the bungalow colony with our cousins – at least 9 of us crammed into our cousin’s light blue station wagon – sitting on laps, with a summer’s worth of stuff for 2 families. Back then seat belts and being able to see out of the rear view mirror just weren’t high on the safety check list.
Those summers were great – lots of fun memories. Recently when we were at a cookout at my mother-in-law’s home, it was reminding me of those days. During the week, the moms and the kids would be up at the bungalow colony while all of the dads would be home in the city working. They’d all come up for the weekends. During the week around 5 o’clock you would hear the echo of mom’s voices screaming out in the distance to their kids “DINNER!!!” We’d be off somewhere playing with our friends but as soon as we heard that call, we’d come running. All of the mom’s voices started to sound the same but if we knew one was calling, they’d all be in a matter of minutes.
You could see the lineup of moms outside their bungalows, standing in front of their simple round charcoal grills cooking dinner. It was way too hot to cook inside the non air conditioned bungalows so grilling outdoors was the method of choice. My sister and I loved when my mom made chicken. “Secret’s in the sauce!” And if you don’t recognize that line go and watch the movie Fried Green Tomatoes – although in our case, the secret sauce is good old Saucy Susan! Peach Apricot flavor of course!
At my MIL’s, we were planning on grilling chicken wings so of course I had to bring the magic sauce.
Start out by cleaning the chicken, pat it dry, drizzle a small bit of canola oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. You want to let the chicken cook about 3/4 of the way through before you start basting with the sauce otherwise the outside will be burnt because of the sugar in the sauce before the inside is cooked. And no one I know wants to be biting into a pink under cooked chicken wing!
Baste and turn a few times as you continue to cook the chicken all the way through. You’ll get some charred areas but that just adds to the flavor. Mmmmm! The chicken becomes sticky and you get a combination of that sweet flavor from the sauce and a bit smoky from the charcoal grill.
What’s a summer cookout without some grilled corn, sliced watermelon and some homemade lemonade?
After dinner before the grill cooled off, we’d go out and about to look for sticks for toasting marshmallows. Lots of sticks up in the country! We still do the same today – even if it’s just in someone’s backyard or pool club.
I’d love to hear some of your food memories. Enjoy this 4th of July weekend!