On Independence Day, most Americans will attend barbecues, guzzle beers, and wave the banner of freedom (Old Glory). This year, I will do the same.
But that wasn't always the case for me. Growing up in London, my Fourth of July celebrations were occasional at best. The United Kingdom, for obvious reasons, has little interest in American Independence Day celebrations.
And that history of absent celebrations got me thinking today. After all, while I can now partake in Bud Lights and burgers, Americans in Britain struggle to do so. For these Americans to effectively celebrate Independence Day, they must either be on a U.S. military base, or at a party hosted by American friends (thank you Laurie Porter)!
If you're an American in Britain but don't have American friends willing to host a party, your only other option is to go out. And the options for going out are, with very few exceptions, pathetic.
While some restaurants and bars hold July Fourth celebrations, these are normally ticketed at expensive prices and defined by very un-American food. Don't take my word for it, consider what's on offer in London for this year's festivities.
First off, Bodeans restaurant. Commonly regarded as one of the finer U.S.-inspired BBQ establishments in London, the Bodeans menu is nevertheless designed for losers. We know this because Bodeans' menu includes a trigger warning: Its wings have "gluten." Bodeans then informs its customers that should they desire to order said wings, they will receive six for $12. That's $2 per wing! We're not in Kansas anymore, folks — or even in Washington, where wings go for 25 cents on Tuesdays at Cap Lounge.
It gets worse.
For $50, Americans in London can get two courses from Christopher's "Independence Week" menu. Christopher's Idependence Day isn't just any dinner. Reminding diners of their liberation from the culinary despotism of the continental United States, Christopher's provides its surf and turf with an "Iberico pork chop." It also offers a Texas toast dish that consists of "Goats Cheese Crumble, Zucchini, Aubergine, Piquillo Peppers, Morels." Any American who consumes a "goats cheese" dish on this sacred day, or who uses fancy words like "aubergine" for the common eggplant, has most certainly forgotten the Alamo.
Also crossing through the looking glass is the Hawksmoor. It offers Americans the chance to consume that familiar July Fourth dish, "bone marrow patties."
To be sure, an array of lower-end restaurants also offer Fourth of July options. The one problem? These institutions do not understand that wings must include chicken, not just undercooked fat, and that burgers are not burgers if they're dried and hardened to the point that you can break windows with them.
Still, two winners rise amidst the tragedy. Choosing portions over pretense, as shown below, the small chain of Absurd Bird restaurants is offering two critical ingredients of a successful Independence Day.
God bless them.
And then there's the U.S. Air Force garrison at RAF Lakenheath. The 48th Fighter Wing's press officer told the Washington Examiner that "multiple events are planned throughout the day including a color run, live music, a carnival, a pie baking competition, and fireworks. Various concessions will be available, including hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken wings."
Regardless, the lesson is clear. Excluding those at private parties, military bases, or the Absurd Bird, take a moment to remember the suffering of Americans in Britain this Independence Day.