Food and holidays go hand-in-hand, and next to Thanksgiving, there is no other holiday with such traditional food as the fourth of July. Just like turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, for the Fourth you have to have hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and watermelon.
But there also are family favorites like homemade ice cream, peach or blueberry pie, cole slaw, baked beans or barbecue.
Depending on where you’re from and what you were raised eating, you may want fried chicken, cherry pie or fresh-caught fish.
While going through the family recipe box, I found more Fourth of July and picnic recipes than expected. There were several for brisket, cole slaw, baked beans, all-types of cold and creamy salads and, of course, fried chicken and lots of pies.
It made me realize these recipes and all of the food we expect to eat on the Fourth of July is just as traditional as fireworks, parades and red, white and blue.
Of course the most popular would be hot dogs. Americans are expected to eat 150 million hot dogs during the July 4th holiday alone, part of the 7 billion hot dogs eaten during the summer season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. As part of July’s Hot Dog Month festivities, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council released the following facts:
In 2012, consumers spent more than $1.7 billion on hot dogs in U.S. supermarkets alone. In baseball stadiums, hot dogs remain a fan favorite and consumers are expected to consume more than 20 million during the 2013 season.
Many stories exist about the creation of the hot dog, and its true origin is often debated. Hot dogs, as we know them today, trace their origin as far back as the 15th century to various parts of Germany or Austria, such as Frankfurt or Vienna. More current references to dachshund sausages and hot dogs are attributed to German immigrants in the 1800s.
Folklore suggests that hot dogs first became popular in the U.S. when a German immigrant began selling them from a cart in the Bowery district of New York City. In 1871, Charles Feltman opened the first Coney Island hot dog stand, and their popularity grew and spread south where the first sausage was served at a baseball park in 1893, creating the bond between hot dogs and baseball.
The name hot dog is often attributed to cartoonist who observed the carts selling red hot dachshund dogs on the New York Polo grounds and was unable to spell dachshund, so he printed hot dogs instead. However, this cartoon has not been found, prompting many historians to question the legend’s accuracy.
The immigrant vendors of the time also brought their dachshund dogs, prompting their carts to be called dog wagons. Possessing good humor, these vendors were known to tease that their sausages were made from their dachshunds. This was nothing more than joke, but this may be where the term hot dog was coined.
As for the bun, that was a happy accident. Sausages were previously consumed while wearing gloves. As the legend goes, a sausage seller at an exposition during the turn of the 20th century ran out of gloves and had to improvise by serving the sausages on rolls. While the exact origin may not be known for certain, it’s clear the legends of the hot dog solidify its important place in American culture.
Red, White & Blue Key Lime Icebox Pie
1 pre-baked pie crust
1 14-ounce can fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 container of whipped cream
1/2 cup key lime juice
2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, fresh cherries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries)
In a large bowl whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 of the whipped cream and the lime juice. Pour into the pie crust and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove the pie from the freezer and spread the remaining whipped cream over the filling. Return to the freezer for an hour. After an hour place in the refrigerator. When ready to serve spread the berries over the top of the cream.
Florence’s Cole Slaw
1 medium size head of cabbage, sliced thin
2 white onions, sliced thin
1 cup sugar
1 cup mild vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup salad oil
In a large bowl put a layer of cabbage and a layer of onions. Continue until quantity you have is used. Pour over the one cup of sugar over the cabbage and onions. Let stand for 30 minutes. In a saucepan add the vinegar, dry mustard and sugar. Heat and stir until mustard and sugar dissolve. Stir in to the oil. While still warm pour over the cabbage mixture. Toss to combine and place in the refrigerator to chill.
Grammy’s Drunken Dogs
1 package bratwurst
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup whiskey
1/4 cup catsup
1/2 cup water
Combine sugar whiskey, catsup and water in a 2-cup measuring cup and stir to combine. Place brats in a saucepan. Pour over the liquid. Gently simmer for 20 minutes. Heat a grill to high and grill the brats just until they have grill marks on both sides. Serve with buns and your favorite brat toppings.
Great-Grandma’s Baked Beans
1 fifty three ounce can of pinto beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 fourteen ounce bottle of catsup
3/4 cup brown sugar
dash of garlic powder
strips of bacon
Mix everything, except the bacon in a large bowl and then pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cover the beans with strips of bacon. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook for about an 1 1/2 or until beans look candied.
Mom’s Potato Salad
6 to 8 red potatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup chopped sweet pickets
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch chunks. It should be about 3 cups of potatoes. Boil until fork tender. Drain but do not rinse. Sprinkle with sugar and vinegar and place in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. Add chopped hard-boiled eggs, chopped sweet pickles and chopped celery. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper. Carefully fold together all ingredients. Chill and serve.
Grilled Corn with Seasoned Butter
several ears of corn
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
1 stick butter, room temperature
Heat the grill to medium. Pull the outer husks down to the base. Remove all of the silks. Fold husks back into place, and place the ears of corn in a large bowl of cold water for 20 minutes. Remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill. Turn every couple of minutes so that all sides cook evenly. Cook until kernels are tender when pierced with a paring knife. In a bowl combine the softened butter and the steak seasoning. Spread the butter over the hot corn and serve.
1 two pound slab of St. Louis style spare ribs
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
Remove excess fat and membranes from the backside of the ribs and discard. Place the ribs in a large foil-lined baking pan. In a bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and pour over the ribs. Cover the pan with foil. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight. Set ribs out on the counter for 30 minutes and bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Leave the ribs in the marinade and covered with foil and place in the oven. After 45 minutes, open the foil and turn the ribs over and recover. Cook for another 30 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the foil and turn the ribs over again. Baste the ribs with some of the sauce from the pan and cook uncovered for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
Red, White and Blue potato salad
One 28-ounce mixed bag baby red-skinned, Yukon and purple potatoes, halved or quartered
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
One 14-ounce can hearts of palm, sliced lengthwise into thin strips
1/2 cup sliced, drained, jarred piquillo peppers
2 scallions, sliced
Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to boil until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and cool.
Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar with the Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and the sugar in a small bowl. Pour in the olive oil and whisk until combined.
Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a large serving plate and top with the pieces of hearts of palm. Scatter the piquillo peppers over top and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with the scallion and salt and pepper to taste.