NEVER mind the smart food of New York and LA, what homesick Americans really long for on days of patriotic celebration is the food of childhood. Just as British ex-pats yearn for Marmite, so Americans away from home pine for Hershey bars, Reece's Peanut Butter Cups and Cheerios - all sitting on the shelves of the Rosslyn Deli (right) on Rosslyn Hill in Hampstead, north London.

Essential ingredients for a 4 July party tonight include a barbecue (despite the weather forecast), Oscar Meyer hot dogs, hamburgers, pickle relish and Heinz ketchup.

Another delight which will please any real American guest and impress any home-grown one is toasted marshmallows. Put a marshmallow on a skewer and twist over an open fire until the outside is golden brown and the inside melted.

For the children - and the nostalgic adults - you need to make peanut butter and jelly (that's clear jam to us) sandwiches on sliced white bread, crunchy peanut butter and banana sandwiches and Hershey syrup sundaes.

To drink you need cold beers and wine coolers (diluted wine).

For afters, serve pecan pie or cherry pie with any one of the following flavoured ice-creams: cherry-vanilla, vanilla-fudge, mint chocolate-chip, banana or peach.

A 4 July party cannot function without as many tons of red, white and blue bunting as your house will support. And then, of course, there are the fireworks. Roman candles, sparklers and the usual spread will do fine.

Finally, you must raise the Stars and Stripes on the flagpole - forgetting for a night that it was us from whom the Americans got their independence.

(Photograph omitted)