July 1st. Independence Day weekend. 241 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

My, how times have changed.

We live 21 miles from the Liberty Bell and the Constitution Center. 2 miles from Valley Forge. The entire area is steeped in history and lore. And the Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves, today.

When you go to the Constitution Center and visit the Liberty Bell, you hear the words of the Declaration of Independence, the words of The Constitution.

It’s a great show of the ideals we have sought for in these United States.

As you listen and watch, you realize how far short we have been in attaining these goals and ideals. You realize that “We, the People…” really only meant white male landowners back in 1776. Women, slaves, and common laborers weren’t included – and Native Americans were really excluded – to the point of near-extinction. Like George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, much of our history has been based upon myth.

We’ve never really been as good as we’ve said we were, but it seemed that even as we were falling short of those lofty ideals, we were still working towards them. It seemed.

241 years later we see just how a government can make a mockery of those founding words. How they can be blatantly ignored while waving the flag in support of them.

The Fourth of July. A day of barbecues and fireworks. A day we should be celebrating our history and reaffirming our commitment to the ideals we have always wanted to stand for. Instead, our politicians will be telling us how great we are as they try and take away health care. How great we are as they try and take away every social safety net we have ever had. How great we are as they give even more money to themselves and their corporate masters – from the meager wages of all of us who are purported to be free. How great we are as they continue to drive wedges between us.

What we all should be doing is reading the Declaration of Independence. Actually reading it and seeing how it relates to the United States, today.

Scroll down after tonight’s dinner and read it!

It’s interesting to note that Shrimp and Grits pretty much originated in South Carolina – one of the original 13 colonies. Grits came to us from the Muskogee preparation of corn. Shrimp was cheap and plentiful. It was lowcountry food. Fast-forward to the 1980s. It went upscale.

Today, you find it everywhere in the USofA. There are hundreds upon hundreds of recipes. Noted southern food maven Nathalie Dupree wrote a cook book with 80 different Shrimp and Grits recipes. It’s everywhere.

A dish that has Native American and African Slave roots is celebrated as American food. A blending of cultures making something uniquely American. It’s amazing that we can enjoy the foods of so many cultures and have such disdain for the people who created it. Mr. Spock would call it illogical.

Tonight’s Shrimp and Grits was an illogical blending of a Southern staple with Mexican spices – a further blending and celebration of cultures. And it was damned good, too.

The concept came from Fine Cooking magazine. The end result was solely what we had in the house.

Shrimp and Grits – Mexican-Style.


  • 3 tbsp chopped chipotles in Adobo
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp annatto
  • 1 lb shrimp

Place all ingredients except shrimp in blender and puree. Pour over shrimp and marinate a couple of hours.

Remove from marinade and cook in a lightly-oiled hot skillet just ’til cooked through.

Serve over grits.


  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup grits
  • 6 oz goat chevre with honey and jalapenos
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • S&P, to taste

Bring milk and water to a boil with a bit of S&P. Slowly add grits, stirring all the while. Lower heat and continue cooking according to the type of grits used. When cooked, remove from heat and stir in chevre and 2 tbsp butter. Check for seasoning and add additional salt or pepper, as desired.

To serve:

Place grits on plate and top with shrimp. Sprinkle with chopped green onion, if desired.

Properly spicy. We cleaned our plates.

And now, here is the promised copy of the Declaration of Independence: Read it.


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton