Before the Barbecue – a Time to Remember
Last September, we took my mom’s ashes to be buried in the Matsukawa family plot in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. The graveside memorial service was a wistful gathering of my many cousins, my aunt and mom’s friends.
While in Hilo, we put flowers on my uncle’s grave at the Veteran’s Cemetery. Hiroshi Matsukawa fought with the Japanese-American 100th Infantry Battalion that merged with the 442nd Infantry Division, considered the most decorated infantry regiment of World War II. Uncle Hiroshi died in combat in Italy before I was born, but as kids, we spent every Memorial Day at the Veteran’s Day service at this cemetery.
Later, we flew to Oahu and while in Honolulu, we brought flowers to Punchbowl Cemetery of the Pacific where Steve’s brother Patrick is buried. Patrick Hu was a sergeant in the 173rd Airborne Brigade, killed in Vietnam at age 20. He died before I had had a chance to meet him.
As time goes on, Memorial Day seems to be primarily a kick-off to summer and a day for sales and bargains, which takes away from its purpose: to remember our military dead, grateful for, as Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg, their “last full measure of devotion.”
Only after we have paused for prayer and serious reflection are we ready to fire up the grill and enjoy the three-day weekend.
On Monday, we’ll be grilling in our backyard with hot dogs and hamburgers, salads, and ice cream for dessert. If you’re looking for some fresh new summer recipes for your barbecue, try these from Special Fork:
- Raisin Chipotle Grilling Sauce customizes standard bottled barbecue sauce with raisins, tomatillos and chipotle chiles, simmered together and pureed. Brush on burgers or ribs in the last minutes of grilling.
- Creamy Egg and Potato Salad is my go-to summer salad. It has lots of eggs, which is how I like my potato salad.
- Dubliner Artichoke Dip is a classic warm artichoke dip with Dubliner, an Irish cheese. It’s a hearty dip to serve with crackers, pita chips or flatbread, to tide folks over until the burgers and dogs are ready.
- Salted Caramel Sauce is luscious drizzled over ice cream; this is a recipe by Katie Barreira. Set up a sundae bar with a variety of sauces and bowls of toasted nuts, mini marshmallows and lots of sprinkles.
Have a restful – and safe – Memorial Day!
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