My 13-year-old just scolded me for impulse purchases in line at our local warehouse club—all the while holding a giant pack of fireworks. When I pointed out the inconsistency, he looked at me somberly and said, “We need these. Companyis coming.”
Apparently he thinks fireworks are more essential than food to our party.
He may have a point. In this family, fireworks are right up there with hamburgers and hot dogs on the Fourth of July shopping list. We don’t even limit ourselves to Independence Day. We’ve been known to shoot them off on New Year’s Eve, Halloween, Father’s Day and even Chinese New Year (never mind that we’re Irish- and Italian-American). We are equal-opportunity blasters.
I’m not wild about our firework habit. I think it’s best to leave any type of incendiary device to the professionals. Call me crazy, but I’d like our children to reach adulthood with all 20 digits and five senses intact. But I tolerate it because my husband—the only one allowed to light the fuses—grew up in New York State, where backyard fireworks were illegal. After a childhood spent breaking the law for even holding a sparkler, he’s earned his fun.
Our fireworks are strictly small time, but they deliver big wows. My kids enjoy the little canisters more than any splashy professional display. Even better, the neighbors (read: the men) sometimes get into the act. They hear my husband’s blasts and reply with their own, triggering a little call and retort through the evening.
This year, I’ve decided to embrace our fireworks tradition. I’m hauling out the camp chairs and bug spray and making a little amphitheater in the driveway. On the Fourth, we’ll gather with our friends and family to ooh and aah as my husband works his way through the $29.99 spectacle, starting with the sparklers and working his way up to the more impressive pyrotechnics.
To add to the festivities, I’m also going to whip up a batch of Homerun Sugar Corn, which I’ll serve in star-spangled popcorn boxes (one of my impulse buys!). It’s a tasty all-American treat that is naturally low in fat and calories. And that keeps me smiling long after the smoke clears.
Homerun Sugar Corn
Yield: 8 cups
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil for popping
1. Heat oil in medium sized pan until hot.
2. Add popcorn and sprinkle all of the sugar over it.
3. Cover and shake continuously until popped