Preparation for independence

Henri has a special dish or two for your Fourth of July potluck

Mon père, Etienne Bourride, who never did obtain United States citizenship, had decidedly mixed emotions about the Fourth of July. On the one hand, he loved celebrating the birth of his temporary homeland, especially watching the fireworks out over the lake as night fell. But he was a pacifist by nature and, this being the late 1960s and early ’70s, was rigidly opposed to the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War, a position with which very few of our neighbors—and even his colleagues at the little college where he taught film—were aligned.

Additionally, as a gourmet and celebrant of all things epicurean, he fully embraced the idea of the potluck Americain but was always dismayed not only with the neighbors’ contributions but also at how poorly his own offerings—of which he was very proud—were received. It was not unusual for us to bring home his clafouti, coquilles St. Jacques, or fig tarts unsampled, while the plates of macaroni and potato salads dressed with mayonnaise, and Jello molds with banana slices and mandarin-orange segments were always scraped clean. He persevered, though, year after year holding out hope that one of his dishes might win over some of our change-is-good-just-not-around-here neighbors.

And I’ve tried to honor him in that, treating a potluck as an opportunity both to learn about new dishes and share my own, in hopes that others will enjoy them, try preparing them themselves and then pass them on.

In his name, then, I offer a couple of recipes you might want to consider should you find yourself invited to a Fourth of July potluck of your own this year—or to any summer gathering.

Glazed strawberry pie

Though the following recipe (modified slightly from Irma Rombauer’s classic, Joy of Cooking) is for a strawberry pie—one of Henri’s favorites and perfect with yummy, local, fresh strawberries—you can also use blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or peaches, or combine the fruits into one pie.


1 pie shell, pre-cooked (you can make your own, but the store-bought ones work fine)

1 quart strawberries

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tbsp. corn starch

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup water

1 quart quality vanilla ice cream (ideally, Shubert’s)

In a mixer, blend one cup of strawberries. Combine the sugar, corn starch, salt and water, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the blended strawberries. Pour the whole, unblended berries into the pie shell and distribute evenly. Pour the berry mixture over the whole berries, coating them thoroughly but not displacing them. Chill for at least four hours. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Shrimp-and-greens salad with herbs

This light summer salad is remarkably easy to prepare and takes less than 20 minutes. You might also consider adding julienned carrots, marinated artichoke hearts and/or sliced beets.


1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. blood-orange olive oil (or other quality oil)

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

4-5 cups fresh mixed greens

1/2 cup summer squash, shaved

1/2 cup fresh pineapple, diced

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

2 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shaved

salt and pepper

Whisk oil, lemon juice, dash of salt, and freshly ground pepper in small bowl. In large bowl, combine greens and herbs. Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium-high, and add the shrimp. Cook, stirring and turning frequently, for about two minutes, or until meat is pink, then spoon over the greens. Add the squash slices and pineapple, then dress with oil and lemon juice. Add more freshly ground pepper to taste.