Monday, June 17, 2013

4th of July

For American's the 4th of July holiday is filled with fun in the sun, games, kids, kites, beach, bbq's, slip n slides and family fun.  We gather and watch fireworks on the beach in the evening and spend the day in celebration with our families and friends.  It is truly the American holiday.

Be safe have fun. Below are some interesting facts and fictions about this holiday.

Here are some basic tips for the next time you grill, barbecue or go over to the know-it-all neighbor's house for a cook-out:

  1. Make sure to clean the grill properly. Some people use a wire brush to clean away any food remnants. It's best to first heat the grill, cook off any remnants, and then brush off. This helps sterilize the surface before placing the food on the grill.

  2. Once the grill is hot (if using coals let them burn a minimum of 30 minutes to cook off most of the chemicals), brush cooking oil onto the grill so the food won't stick and possibly tear.

  3. Try using some wood or wood chips on top of the coals in order to give the food extra flavor. Nice cooking woods include oak, maple, and mesquite. Stay away from soft woods like pine. To produce more smoke, and therefore more flavor, soak the wood in water for a little while before cooking.

  4. In order to avoid uneven cooking, don't overload the grill with food. For best possible results cook fewer pieces in order to preserve the presentation and quality of the food. Remember, when it comes to any kind of food, everyone wants quality over quantity.

  5. Monitor the grill at all times. It's too easy to overcook food over an open flame. Turn meat and marinate often. Remember, too, that it is always better to slow cook the meat. Just be careful you don't keep the guests waiting too long, or they might send out for pizza.

  6. Serve the food right away. Meat will continue to cook even after it's removed from the flame, if left to sit it will dry out and become less appetizing.

Early fireworks were enjoyed more for the sound than the show—in its simplest forms gunpowder explodes quickly, leaving a terrific bang but not much to see other than a rather brief golden glow. Over time people discovered that using chemical compounds with greater amounts of oxygen made the explosives burn brighter and longer.

The multi-hued displays we know now began in the 1830s, when Italians added trace amounts of metals that burn at high temperatures, creating beautiful colors. Other additives also produced interesting effects. For example, calcium deepens colors, titanium makes sparks, and zinc creates smoke clouds.

Gold Aluminum, magnesium
White Aluminum, magnesium
Yellow Sodium salts

The Star-Spangled Banner

—Francis Scott Key, 1814
O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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