Red, white and blue reign over this year's 226th celebration of American independence from foreign foes. Fueled by the terrorist attacks last fall and Mr. Bush's much-ballyhooed "state of war," the colors of our flag have become de rigueur on everything from boxer shorts to your neighbor's Corvette.
This Fourth of July, you can demonstrate your patriotism by eating red, white and blue -- not the standard blueberry and strawberry stars and stripes atop a white cake as seen on this month's cover of Martha Stewart Living, but the real stuff -- pre-fabricated, synthetic, mass-manufactured snack foods that are bad for you. A quick stroll through the aisles of WalMart found these all-American foods just waiting to fill you with the patriotic spirit:
Little Debbie Stars & Stripes Snack Cakes, individually plastic-wrapped cakes iced with white and bedecked with red and blue stars (Blue 1, Blue 2, Red 40);
An old standard, Blue Bunny brand red-white-and-blue Bomb Pops popsicles -- k-pow!
Punch up the kiddie's fervor with stars-and-stripes packaged Capri Sun fruit punch pouches;
Drink a nonalcoholic toast with Welch's Sparkling American Concord Grape Juice Cocktail wrapped in red foil with a glittery stars-and-stripes label;
Beware your fillings when you bite into Brach's Patriotic Candy Peppermint Nougats, each rubbery taffy ball imprinted with a commemorative American flag design;
Marshmallow Peeps aren't just for Easter any more -- this Independence Day marks the debut of Peeps Stars, white blobs speckled with red and blue sugar crystals;
Born-in-the-USA snack cookies, animal crackertype cookies except in the shapes of patriotic emblems like the bald eagle and Uncle Sam;
Red and blue Tostitos tortilla chips in a star-spangled package;
Patriot Pretzels -- curly pretzels frosted in red, white and blue. (Unfortunately, apparent melting in shipping resulted in a melding of colors, making the pretzels look more purple, pink and lilac.)
Even if the food is not red, white and blue, chances are the packaging is. This month, buy your old standby Kellogg's Corn Flakes in the large Old Glory patriotic salute box, a flag waving in the breeze tactfully imprinted with the message "the original and best." Not the flag, the Corn Flakes, stupid.
Ah, America. Love it or eat it.
-- Kathryn Eastburn