11 4th of July Foods to Set Fireworks in your Mouth

The 4th of July has been celebrated with great enthusiasm and patriotic pride in the United States of America for centuries. While the pandemic may be derailing some of our traditional plans that typically include big parties and giant crowds gathered around fireworks displays, we can still celebrate our independence and unity through something that never fails to bring us all together: food. After months of tension and quarantine, come together and embrace your inner red white & blue with these 4th of July foods, celebration ideas, and historical meals.

4TH OF JULY FOODS

Whether celebrating inside or outside, one of the most important aspects of any party is the menu. If you’re looking for some delicious summer recipes that’ll please any crowd, (especially a small, pandemic-friendly crowd!), you’ve come to the right place! Here are some 4th of July food ideas for you to try this Independence Day; some are easy to prep, some are great on the grill, and some are very red-white-and-blue-friendly.

1.

Ice Tea

In 1773, Americans shouted “No taxation without representation!” and protested the British Parliament’s tax on tea by throwing 92,000 pounds of tea into the Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party was one of America’s major steps toward gaining independence from the British. Today, tea is served hot or cold and in hundreds of flavors! For a red white and blue refresher, start your holiday meal with Nina’s Fruity Iced Tea!

2.

Classic Hummus

Hummus is not only a super simple and healthy snack, it’s also a crowd pleaser. Packed with protein and fiber, hummus is as healthy as it is tasty! It’s also a great vessel for adding your favorite savory or sweet ingredients to put your own spin on it! Served with blue corn chips and red bell peppers, Megan’s Red White & Blue Hummus With Dippers makes for a perfect patriotic appetizer!

3.

Fresh Fruit Salad

You can seriously never go wrong with a fruit salad. There are thousands of combinations of fruits that taste amazing together, so why not take the opportunity to mix up some red, white, and blue fruits for Independence Day?  Elaine’s Red White & Blue Fruit Salad is full of bright red berries, white jicama stars, and fresh blue blueberries to mimic the American Flag!

american flag waving in the wind on a food stand

4.

Veggie Burgers

Even though we’re going for red, white, and blue here, we’re ditching the red meat this 4th of July. Don’t worry, Minimalist Baker’s Grillable Veggie Burgers are packed with tons of spices and flavor. They’ll even cook right on your outdoor grill, so you can serve up some sustainable sliders to your vegan and vegetarian friends this summer, and challenge your meat-eating friends to try something new and delicious!

5.

Berry Cream Pie

A chilled pie is the perfect dessert for an outdoor celebration on a hot Summer day! With red and blue berries against a fresh white cream background, this sweet dessert is an Independence Day dream that is sure to impress your guests. Check out Amy’s Red White & Blueberry Cream Pie!

6.

American Flag Cake

Like the 4th of July’s fireworks, this cake will serve as your menu’s grand finale. The American Flag was first sewn by Betsy Ross in 1777. Originally containing 13 stars to represent the first 13 colonies, the American flag has since added 37 stars to represent all 50 of today’s states, while still holding on to the 13 red and white stripes. The American flag is a symbol of freedom and pride for many Americans, and looks beautiful arranged in berries atop Allison’s American Flag Cake. Try to see if you can fit 50 blueberries!

SERVING UP 1776

small american flags and model wooden ship laying on top of old congressional usa documents

In the 18th century, people ate some meals that remain classics into the modern era and also some meals that are very different from what we eat today. Back in 1776, people weren’t as precise with their ingredients, lacked a lot of modern cooking techniques, and certainly weren’t as conscious of the environmental impact of their foods. As legend has it, when The United States finally gained independence on July 4th, 1776, John Adams and his wife sat down at their table for this celebratory meal:

We had to start somewhere, right? I wonder if their turtles were organic. Here’s a fascinating look back on these dishes of the 1700s and some more modern variations to try for this upcoming Independence Day!

1.

  Mock Turtle Soup

If you’re extremely turned off by the thought of eating turtles, don’t worry, you are definitely not alone. Sailors popularized the consumption of turtles in the 1750s because they were a source of fresh meat at sea, and turtle soup became a delicacy for the rich soon after. Thankfully, sea turtle consumption is outlawed today in many parts of the world. Check out Karen’s Mock Turtle Soup that can be made with either ground beef or ground turkey. The best way to ensure that your meat is sustainably sourced is to get it directly from a farm. Click here for a guide to steps you can take to buy beef sustainably.

2.

Pan Seared Salmon with Hollandaise

The sustainability of human consumption of seafood has been weighed more heavily in the past few years. The corruption in the fishing industry which has seen an exponential increase in recent years is covered in Seaspiracy: Is There a Solution To Overfishing?. Overfishing and ocean pollution need to be addressed and remedied if it isn’t too late, but it may still be possible to purchase and consume seafood responsibly.  The Secret to Sustainable Seafood is a comprehensive article on shopping sustainably for your seafood from reliable sources. 

A pan seared salmon offers a much crispier skin than poaching, and hollandaise is a silkier, more modern egg sauce that pairs excellently with fish. Check out Pat’s Pan Seared Salmon with Hollandaise for an up-to-date salmon recipe!

3.

Par-Boiled Grilled Potatoes

A starch with many different varieties and endless preparation methods, potatoes are a staple side for almost every meal! Finishing potatoes on the grill is a great way to add some crispiness and can be easily done at your Independence Day backyard barbecue! For some tips and details, here’s Kristin’s Par-Boiled Grilled Potatoes!

4.

Indian Pudding

This 1700s dessert was originally modeled after the European hasty pudding. Americans replaced the recipe’s wheat flour with cornmeal, which was more accessible in the United States at the time. Remember the earliest Americans and enjoy Jack & Martha’s Indian Pudding, a delicious dessert served warm under a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

5.

Bourbon Apple Pandowdy

Apple pie is one of those meals that immediately comes to mind when you think of all-American foods. Apple pandowdy is an old fashioned dessert similar to apple pie, cooked in a pan rather than a pie dish, and with a “dowdied”-or broken apart-crust only on the top. Try Marye’s Bourbon Apple Pandowdy for a boozy twist on a classic in your cast iron skillet! (You should definitely top this one with vanilla ice cream as well!)

HOW TO PARTY IN A PANDEMIC

Our celebrations definitely look different this year than they have in the past. Parties for birthdays, weddings, and holidays have been downsized, rescheduled, or turned into drive-by parade parties! Some creative celebration solutions have come out of this pandemic, but thankfully we can gather this year as long as we all work together to do it safely. Here are a few ideas for celebrating this 4th of July safely during COVID 19.

picnic with watermelons and a basket of fresh fruit atop a red plaid blanket next to an acoustic guitar

 

Seek out your local pond or park for a small picnic with your friends! Many locations offer picnic tables, and if not, you can spread your red white and blue picnic blanket out on the ground. Everyone can bring a make-ahead dish to share, take lots of photos to post, and admire your local wildlife while eating some great food. Check out Cook & Culture’s Plan the Perfect Picnic: Preparing Your Picnic Foods to help you prepare the perfect picnic and get started! Just don’t forget to clean up everything you brought with you!

Have a backyard campout! Going camping in the woods is always an option too, but a backyard campout keeps you from packing all of your friends in an enclosed car to get to and from your destination. Set up some tents in the backyard with your friends and family, share some great camp foods, and maybe even build a small campfire (if your city allows it). They’re just as fun to stare at as fireworks!

kabobs on the grill with colorful vegetables like peppers, broccoli, onion

Invite a few family members and neighbors over for a barbecue! Show off your grilling skills with these recipes for fantastic Filipino inspired ribs and healthy barbecue chicken and swap recipes with some of your favorite people over an olympic game of cornhole. You can even offer a prize to the person who shows up wearing the most red, white, and blue!

So, while COVID might have impacted the way in which we celebrate, the country and its people whom we are celebrating hasn’t changed. Food has the unique ability to bring people together because, no matter what we do or where we come from, it’s a common need we all share. 

After the year we’ve all experienced, we could definitely use some unity, some love, and some good food. Try out one of these patriotic recipes and let us know on our instagram which one you decided to make!

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Olivia deGregory

Written by Sadie Zollinger