Embassy of the USA 4th July CelebrationsShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
I unintentionally lied to Ambassador John Berry. I promised the fog would lift sooner rather than later and it didn’t. Not even a ray or two to shine on his and Curtis Yee’s first Australian 4th July party occurred but I can assure him that despite the disparaging remarks of our Minister of Defence Senator David Johnston that Canberra’s weather is always bad – to the collective rumbling boo of the Canberra guests – a cold 4th July in Canberra is positively balmy compared to Australia Day in Washington DC in January.
But the warmth of the reception and the gumbo, whiskey, hot dogs, hamburgers and hot chocolate and cupcakes made up for that with the opportunity to play (American) games and enjoy interactive activities- perhaps cuddling in groups would’ve helped - that has become the hallmark of this event and kept the circulation just above freezing.
It is an event that brings an interesting mix of locals, some interstate guests, plenty of the top brass, diplomats and politicians to mix and mingle. And chomping on a burger or hot dog under the magnolias, clutching a hot peach turnover to warm the hands then the belly and tossing back a nip of bourbon is a great leveler for all who brave this party. Special guests included Congressmen Eliot Engel and Dana Rohrabacher who were part of the official formalities and the US Pacific Fleet band, a talented bunch indeed, accompanied the anthems and performed through the day.
Prior to the official arrival of the guests an unusual initiative instigated by the US Department of State to highlight the diversity of food and its potential for a Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, was launched by guest chef Tory McPhail from the Commander’s Palace Restaurant in New Orleans. He brought his recipes and expertise to the embassy kitchen and a taste testing before the guests arrived was a media prize not to be missed. He’s an award winning chef and the previous night he’d taste tested a degustation dinner at The Ottoman. It was also an occasion to launch the Discover America Culinary Guide that is part of this culinary diplomacy and a story book of food regions, produce and recipes.
I just wanted a cup of soup – Chef McPhail’s Chicken Gumbo – and a request to that band of musos for some Zydeco music to accompany it.