Written by: Amanda Csolak for Spice Station Silverlake
When you think about Independence Day, you think about fireworks and grilling out. Of course, food typically is the central focus of most celebrations. But there’s something about this American holiday that has always held a special place in my heart. So, as we light up our grills and get ready for the festivities, let’s take a moment to discover what Americans were eating in celebration during the first years of independence.
The First Independence Day Meal
On the very first day of America’s independence, July 4th, 1776, John Adams, who went on to become the country’s second president, and his beloved wife, Abigail, shared a traditional meal of the time. The meal is rumored to have consisted of turtle soup, poached salmon served with egg sauce, green peas and boiled potatoes. Followed by a dessert of a dish called apple Pandowdy. These days, we could think that such a meal is, well, weird. But, at the time, turtle soup was a particularly popular summertime dish.
Early Americans continued celebrating Independence Day each year after the very first Forth of July. John Adams once wrote to his wife, Abigail, on his thoughts about the Fourth of July: “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival…It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
If John Adams were alive today, I think he would be very happy to see that we still do all of those things and more to honor our independence each year. Today, many Americans focus on the amazing food. Each Forth of July, Americans spend hundreds of millions on foods like hamburger patties and watermelons. But what foods make the top five favorites for Independence Day, read more to find out.
Top Four Forth of July Foods
Everyone has a favorite Forth of July food. Some can’t wait to bite into that juicy burger, while others look forward to tasting that warm apple pie a la mode. Personally I love it all, and I’m going to share with you which foods rank the best among your neighbors and food critics alike. Think you know which foods made the cut, read on to see the results.
There is one person we can thank for the popularity of the hot dog. His name was Nathan Handwerker, yes THE Nathan of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs! A Polish-Jewish immigrant, Nathan opened his first hot dog stand on Coney Island in 1916. Initially people weren’t buying his food. German immigrants had brought frankfurters to America in the 1800’s, but it wasn’t until Nathan dropped his prices to 5 cents per hot dog, that people started talking. By the time the Depresion hit, business was booming, “because you could feed a family of four for under 50 cent,” said Lloyd Handwerker, Nathan’s grandson.
Today, Americans eat an average of 150 million hot dogs this forth of July, and that isn’t including the hundreds of hot dogs that will be consumed at the annual Forth of July tradition, The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Synomus with the hot dog is the hamburger. Juicy red meat surrounded by warm bread buns and toppings, makes my mouth water, but this grilling favorite dating back to the 19th century has come a long way from a plain patty resting between two slices of bread. Check out The History of the Burger in America to learn more about this iconic food.
This iconic side dish origingally hailed from Germany. In the 19th century, both German and English immigrants brought recipes of this dish and other popular foods. Today many Americans have their favorite recipe. Recipes for this versatile side dish include things like celery, onion, and boiled eggs and crispy bacon. Some are mayonnaise based and others include yellow mustard, however you like it, it’s always a welcome site at most picnics.
Red, White & Blue Foods
Every year you’re guaranteed to see at least one dessert made of the three patriotic colors of America, our flag’s colors, red, white & blue. Whether it’s cupcakes, or fruit laid out in the shape of a flag, Americans love making patriotic colored foods to celebrate the Forth of July. This tradition dates back to the early 1900’s when things like Star cookies and stripe cake were served.
Prepping For Your Patriotic Party, Shopping For Seasonings
Whether your looking to spice up your barbeque, hamburgers or grandma’s potato salad you want to go with the best. So my advice to you, get away from the season aisle in your local grocery store. Those bottles are filled with dated seasonings and preservatives so they can sit on the shelf in the store for months before you add it to your cart. How long has it been there? Who knows. That’ why I highly recommend finding a place the specializes in spices. I personally shop for all my spice needs through Spice Station Silverlake. They have everything you need from various kinds of salt and pepper, to less commonly found spices from the East. Spice Station Silverlake is my favorite place to shop for all my spice needs. Check them out today, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Patriotic No-Bake Spiced Rum Berry Pie
This recipe is as delicious as it is pretty to look at. Make this for your next Independence Day celebration and everyone will be asking for the recipe. This recipe is super easy to make and tastes like you spent hours making it.
The key to making this stand out is its unique ingredients that give this pie a leg up in the competition.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours or overnight
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment You’ll Need: An electric mixer and a Icing spatula.
- 1 pack prepared Graham Cracker Crust (6 oz.)
- 2 blocks (8 oz.) Cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup Vanilla Bean Sugar or Cane sugar
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- ½ tsp Ceylon Cinnamon Powder
- ½ tbsp. Madagascar Vanilla beans
- ¼ cup spiced Rum
- ½ punnet fresh Strawberries, sliced
- ½ punnet fresh Blueberries
- 1 cup Whipped cream
- With an electric mixer blend together your softened cream cheese, sugar, heavy cream cinnamon, vanilla, and spiced rum. Pour mixture into your prepared graham cracker crust.
- Cover the pie and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Make sure the pie is completely set before adding your fresh berries.
- Using a icing spatula cover the pie with a hefty layer of whipped cream.
- Arrange your sliced strawberries and blueberries on top of the pie before slicing, feel free to get creative with your design! I personally love making a star with the fruit, you can also use the classic flag stripe pattern. Be creative and have fun.
- Slice and serve chilled with extra whipped cream either dolloped on top or off to the side.
If you would rather opt for the vanilla extract you can, but use twice the amount of the recipe. Vanilla beans are stronger than the stuff in the bottle, so you’ll need to add 1 whole tablespoon of it to this recipe.