Independence Day

Categories: Reflections and opinions

Borough Market cook and Great British Bake Off finalist Beca Lyne-Pirkis suggests a patriotic feast for homesick Americans this fourth of July

Although I couldn’t be more Welsh if I tried (and I’m very proud of the fact), I have quite a large American family who live in the mid-west—my great aunt Irene married a GI in the Second World War and emigrated to the States.

When I was young, I used to love standing next to her in the kitchen, just watching her cook. She was always on the go, never sitting still until she went to bed each night. Originally from Cardiff, aunty Irene adjusted to the American/mid-west way of life and quickly picked up some classic recipes—although she would still make Welsh cakes and roast dinners for the family.

Food evokes many fond memories for me and I have lots from visits to see my American cousins in St Louis, Missouri. These recipes are very dear to me and I’ll only make them as a treat, as I tend to go all out. They usually make an appearance over Christmas and when we have a barbecue, although I do have requests for aunty Irene’s chocolate chip cookies from my brother—these are uber special, as I only use chocolate chips sent to me from the States. They just don’t taste the same otherwise!

Dance with delight
The most requested meal is breakfast/brunch, which is also my favourite. Even the thought of it is making my taste buds dance with delight. I am talking about biscuits and gravy, people. A true mid-west breakfast staple. Buttery biscuits (savoury scones) served with country gravy (white sauce with sausage meat).

I usually serve these with egg casserole, which is baked eggs and crispy bacon, and of course there are pancakes. But not just any old pancakes—they’re light, fluffy, and if you add blueberries and strawberries, they’re practically healthy!

American Independence Day falls on a Saturday this year and I will be pulling out all the stops on the food front. Pancakes with crispy bacon and syrup, followed by biscuits and gravy—a true taste of America, passed down to me by my American/Welsh great aunt Irene. It’s my way of celebrating the 4th of July in style.