Labor Day: what does it conjure up to you? Last barbecue of the summer? New school term? It’s been both of these things for me plus, in my family, we celebrate 2 birthdays the first week of September. I wondered today if anyone thinks about the origin of the holiday anymore. Until that moment, shamefully, not I.
I had to go to wikipedia to be reminded that the first Labor Day was observed on September 5, 1882 by a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,” followed by a festival for the workers and their families.
This year with so many Americans out of work, there’s not much to celebrate. But, I wanted to take a moment to pay homage to all those who are anxious to be part of a productive workforce again. I hope this Labor Day and the first week of September marks a turn in this very trying time and that prosperity for all is reachable in the near term.
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Four generations of us, totaling 17 people plus occasional drop-in friends, makes for one raucous event. Adult conversations get started and never finished. We’re talking food, computers, art, school and everything in between in clipped soundbites as the children run through the house or jump in the pool or otherwise call our attention — and we love every minute of being together. It’s family. There’s nothing better! And we eat.
In un-American fashion (but typical of my foodie family), we bypassed ‘franks + burgers’ in favor of an Asian BBQ. Since the party was at my niece’s house (her husband is one of the birthday people), this was the perfect backdrop for the menu because their home is heavily influenced by Asian art.
My niece, sister (the other birthday person) and I were the chef/preparers and my son manned the grill. I made the edamame dip + wontons; my sister made the seafood skewers and Teri made the chicken, steak and the fried rice. (Other items were sourced.)
The Menu (or what I can remember)
Appetizers: Edamame dip, baked wontons, sugar snap peas; Asian bar snacks; sushi
Dinner: Individual chicken, steak, shrimp and scallop skewers, each of which had been marinated and dressed differently with Asian spices and sauces; fried rice; pot stickers; edamame (the kids love it!); salad.
Dessert: pistachio ice cream, fresh baked almond cookies and a fortune cookie. I was delighted with this dessert which took me immediately back to the Chinese restaurants of my youth. And instead of the usual Carvel ice cream cake, the candles were put in the ice cream containers.