The Fourth of July is when we, the humble citizens of the ol' You-Ess-of-Ayyy, come together to commemorate the violent birth of our inherently disaffected nation. There's beef to be grilled, beer to be guzzled and pyrotechnics to be unleashed.
And if we can emasculate a few other nations in the process, all the better.
The U.S. Department of State has for years invited visiting dignitaries to raise and glass and enjoy a view of the fireworks display over the National Mall. This year, Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, chief of protocol of the United States, has decided to up the ante with two groundbreaking events: an apple pie bake-off and the inaugural Global Chiefs of Protocol Conference.
A government aide told HOH that a number of delegations accepted the challenge, including the Philippines, Turkey and a few Eastern European allies. All entries will be judged be a three-judge panel tentatively set to include a State Department official, local food critic and pie store owner. The grand prize winner can expect to be sent home with a classic American apple pie produced by the State Department cooking corps, while other participants could walk away with house-made cookies (or other consolatory baked goods).
The diplomatic corps better not stay out to late, though, because they're expected to report back to State bright and early Thursday for the star-studded conference.
Media are allowed to witness the rah-rah opening remarks — set to include a taped statement from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and live banter from Deputy Secretary of State Thomas R. Nides — but must then make themselves scarce after the diplomats break up into the private plenary sessions. Attendees of the hush-hush huddles will get to pick the brains of working journalists, media moguls and, of course, cheflebrity José Andrés regarding anything and everything about living life in the public eye.
As red-blooded Americans, HOH will gladly accept any leftover pie. (Or taped plenary session discussions.)
Update: According to our sources, more than a dozen countries — ranging from Afghanistan to the United Kingdom — will parade their regionally inspired desserts across the judging table this evening. Patrick Kennedy, under secretary of State for management, Washington Post dining critic Tom Sietsema and Pie Sisters co-founder Alli Blakely will serve as the final arbiters of global pastry dominance.