Happy 4th of July to my American readers! Throughout the States, Independence Day is celebrated with barbecues and fries. And hot dogs. Lots and lots of hot dogs; some 155 million tons of them are consumed on July 4th each year, according to Huffington Post. One wonders if the holiday’s proper name should be Hot Dog Day. Ironically enough, hamburgers and hot dogs may seem all-American but pigs and cattle were brought to the New World by Spanish explorers.

I Like To Eat, Eat, Eat…

As you dip your fries into ketchup, you may wish to consider how tomatoes and potatoes have been a perfect pairing for centuries. As early as 1781, Thomas Jefferson served French-fried potatoes with tomatoes at Monticello.

As for that bun you’re eating, wheat didn’t come to the New World until Christopher Columbus sailed across the seas in 1492. It was all corn before that.

What was served at the first Independence Day celebration? The menu likely would have been based on the recipes of British culinary authority Hannah Glasse. Glasse’s July menu suggests the signers of the Declaration would have supped on roast turkey and fricasseed rabbit, pigeon, crawfish and lobsters. There would have been tongue and turnips and lamb testicles. And for dessert, apricot tarts and roasted apples, plums, jellies and custards.

Before you cry culinary treason, though, consider this: the Founding Fathers feasted on some pretty different foods to celebrate the country’s independence back in the day. According to legend, on July 4, 1776, John Adams and his wife, Abigail, sat down for a celebratory meal of turtle soup, New England poached salmon with egg sauce, green peas and boiled new potatoes in jackets. As for dessert, they followed the meal with Indian pudding or Apple Pandowdy.

At least they had apple pie, then…