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Tasty Food to Celebrate American Freedom in the South of France

See Part 1: How I Learned to Bake French Bread in the South of France

And Part II: How to Shop for Wine in the South of France

The Tradition

For as long as Leslie Barr and Richard Perle have vacationed in Southern France they have tried to entertain their friends and neighbors with an authentic, American-style cookout.

At first their house -- built by my old friend Jackie for some of her staff -- featured a kitchen the size of a walk-in closet. With the kitchen in the house much expanded, the cookout became a summer feature in the area. In recent years they stayed for most of the summer, not just August, and scheduled the event for the Fourth of July, transforming it into an Independence Day celebration.

The biggest challenge: the logistics of acquiring the necessary foodstuffs and decorations down there. However the menu changes, the basics remain the same: Hebrew National hot dogs, grilled hamburgers, and — an addition by Leslie’s mother of blessed memory -- chocolate chip cookies.

At first, friends in Frankfurt stopped at the commissary for what was needed. More recently, the necessaries have arrived packed in our suitcases. This year Sheral Schowe (our wine guide from part II) brought red, white, and blue balloons, paper plates, napkins, and tablecloths. Richard supplied the hot dogs and held his breath while his luggage temporarily disappeared at Charles de Gaulle.

As scary: the fact that the suitcase we brought contained the chocolate chips and didn’t arrive until the night of July 3, a day after Leslie — who’d been stuck in Chevy Chase’s power outage with their dog -- arrived to lend a hand.