Food & Dining

Local family prepares meals for all to enjoy

by Bradley Hartsell

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 By Bradley Hartsell bradley@newnan.com This month, America celebrated its biggest holiday of the year with Independence Day.

Grills all over the country were cooking hamburgers and hot dogs to enjoy before venturing to places like Newnan High School’s Drake Stadium for a big fireworks show.

While the people of Coweta County celebrated heartily for the Fourth of July, there is also an appreciation for other countries; the Newnan downtown Court Square area features Mexican food, Thai food, Italian food and American home cooking. Newnan also has a sister city in Ayr, Scotland, and many around the county were tuning in to watch the Fifa World Cup, not only to cheer America’s team, but also to see teams like Germany (who won the tournament), Argentina, Brazil and Netherlands.

Countries’ independence days have become a way to observe other nations, just like July 14 was Bastille Day – France’s own independence day. In France, the day is called La Fête nationale, meaning The National Celebration. The day commemorates July 14, 1789, which started the French Revolution with the Storming of Bastille, and July 14, 1790, when France celebrated its first uniting.

Bastille Day gave local families, like the McGhin family, a good excuse to observe another nation by making French food and drinking French wine. Emily McGhin of Newnan took special interest in observing Bastille Day because, in 2008, she and her family visited Paris during that time. So when July 14 came around, she made a French dip meal for her friends and family.

“Experiencing Bastille Day in Paris was a fairy tale come true,” said McGhin. “I might not be able to always fly to Paris, so I do what I can to bring France to Newnan.”

While McGhin and her entire family trekked to Peachtree City for a huge Fourth of July public fireworks show, she also felt it was worth having a French evening for her husband and several friends 10 days later. With French food, wine, music and a movie (“Amélie”), McGhin, in her own way, was able to re-live her life-changing experience from six years ago.

“French people are fun, relaxed and simple, yet passionate. And they bring that to their food,” she said. “The French dip is simple, yet full of flavor and love.”

French cuisine runs deep throughout the world and has captured the wonder of American minds. Pixar, the blockbuster company behind “Toy Story,” even saw French food captivating enough to make a movie about it with an entree doubling as the title (“Ratatouille”).

While McGhin won’t claim to be a professional chef and knows popular foods like the French dip and French toast weren’t exclusively originated in France, she nevertheless finds it as a fun way to observe Bastille Day.

If you missed July 14 to make French food and drink good French wine, McGhin encourages you to celebrate.

Belgium’s independence day on July 21 allows you to combine the celebration of both nations. Belgium borders France to the north, and between French toast and Belgium waffles, a celebratory breakfast meal would be a good way to honor other nations.



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