Make an all-American salad, with bacon, lettuce and tomatoes along with macaroni mixed in, and bring to any outdoor event over the Fourth of July holiday. (Contributed)

Just when I was in a hurry, I made the mistake of choosing the grocery cart with the “wonky” wheel. Sometime ago, CNN did a story about those grocery carts with their wonky wheels and the reason they are not immediately replaced—$200 a cart; a huge price to pay for replacing a cart with just a wobbly wheel.

Imagine the life that cart has been through. Loaded down with heavy cans and bottles, and even transporting a hefty child in its basket, while being left outside during rainstorms, backed into by cars, pointed toward its storage area and with a strong shove, left alone to crash its way into the space reserved for carts, well, no wonder that cart has a “wonky” wheel.

Once inside the market, I decided that a wonky wheel was a small price to pay for the convenience of having a place to put all of my groceries I needed to buy for the upcoming Fourth of July celebration I was cooking for. I continued with my wonky-wheeled cart, which by then I discovered my cart also had an audible “moaning” sound.

Rolling up next to a woman who was reaching for a head of romaine, she frowned, no hint of understanding my predicament here. I moved on. By the time I had reached the meat department my cart was half filled; no turning back now, I was fully committed to carry-on with my moaning cart, now named Mr. Wonky.

By the time I got to the dairy cases, my moaning Mr. Wonky’s wheel had frozen from its weight, and I did what I should have done in the beginning, I returned outside and chose another cart.

Transferring my groceries to the new cart, I thought how fortunate we are today with our many conveniences. Imagine if we had to go back to the 1774 Paul Revere era prior to automobiles, telephones, and even grocery carts.

I believe I was in grammar school when my teacher read the poem by William Longfellow: “Listen, my children, and you shall hear. Of the midnight ride by Paul Revere.”

And now, today, I say: “Listen, my readers, and you shall hear. Of the lesser-known rides of Paul Revere.”

Paul Revere, in the year 1774, did, in fact, make that midnight ride on the eve of the Revolutionary War, along with more than a dozen earlier night rides. Revere, then a Silversmith by trade and a military officer and messenger for patriot groups, made a number of rides by horseback telling people in New York about the destruction of the Boston Tea Party.

There were horseback rides to Philadelphia and Hartford spreading news of the Intolerable Acts. Rides soon followed to Charlestown and Lexington warning residents that the British would soon be taking action, which just days later, culminated in the “Midnight Ride” when the British troops were actually on their way.

Revere, by saving thousands of lives from the attacking British militia, is recognized today as one of our greatest American heroes.

I urge you to read William Wadsworth Longfellow’s lengthy poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” The poem, some fiction along with facts, is a great read, especially for children. And, should you have a copper-bottomed pot in your kitchen, it was most probably made by Boston’s Revere Copper Foundry, once owned by Paul himself.

In preparation for the Fourth of July holiday, I will fill my Revere ware pot with water, preparing macaroni for the delicious BLT Macaroni Salad I will be serving. 

This salad is what I call an all-American salad, with bacon, lettuce and tomatoes along with macaroni mixed in, and will be welcomed at any outdoor event over the holiday. With its 1000 Island dressing, this hearty salad travels well, can stand alone, only needing your meat or poultry alongside. Men especially love it.

BLT Macaroni Salad

Serves 6-8 

One box (16oz.) Rotini Pasta

1 lb. of diced Bacon

2 cups of Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half.

1/2 cup of diced Scallions

1/2 cup of sliced Celery

1 head of Romaine lettuce, chopped and refrigerated in a Ziplock bag.

In a large pot filled with boiling water and 1 Tbsp. of salt, boil the Pasta according to the time on the box. Drain and cool. When cool, mix the pasta with ½ cup of mayonnaise. Refrigerate.

Fry diced bacon until crisp, drain and set side in a container.

1000 Island Dressing

3/4 cup Mayonnaise

1/4 cup Catsup

1/4 cup Dill Relish

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

1 tsp. Tabasco Sauce

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Pepper

In a large bowl, mix pasta, tomatoes, bacon, celery, scallions together. Add dressing and mix well. When ready to serve, mix in lettuce with salt and pepper to taste.

Colly Gruczelak, a Ben Lomond resident, loves people and loves to cook. Contact her at [email protected].

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Colly Gruczelak, a Ben Lomond resident, loves people and loves to cook. Contact her at [email protected].


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