I love the unorthodoxy of ordering pizza on Thanksgiving. Not that I myself have ever done it; too many casseroles are hitting my table every November to even consider it. But there’s got to be a transgressive thrill in knowing that, on a day when the entire nation is beating themselves up trying to perfect a dish that they might not even like all that much, you’ll have one of your favorite meals ferried to your doorstep in a matter of minutes, with nothing to clean up afterward. It’s got to be satisfying, prioritizing your taste buds over decades of tradition.
Why am I talking about Thanksgiving in late June? Because July 4 is fast approaching, and with it comes a whole other set of menu expectations: the cookout spread. Burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, coleslaw—the greatest hits of the backyard barbecue are classics for a reason, but that doesn’t mean they’re universally beloved. (Anyone whose children whine about the coleslaw touching literally anything else on the plate knows this all too well.) Besides, there are a lot of other reasons you might not do any holiday grilling. For one thing, you and your friends might live in buildings that don’t allow grills. You might lack a camping grill. You might have to work a shift that cuts into peak grilling hours. If it’s a hot day already, you might not want to tend an open flame. You might think, “no amount of ice is going to keep this potato salad from getting a little funky.” Or some combination of all of the above.
Independence Day is synonymous with grilling and picnics, but it’s fine if that’s not a tradition you prefer to engage in. And if you don’t live that plastic checkered tablecloth life, we’d love to hear what you go for instead. So, what’s your menu game plan this July 4? Which foods do you prefer to be snacking on while fireworks explode over your head? Do you call in the same pizza order that you do on Thanksgiving? Enlighten us.