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Digging into the history of the 4th of July Part Two

In the early 1800's Fourth of July celebrations had spread far and wide, particularly in New York, where the immigrants were celebrating their promised land.

Frederick Marryat described a Fourth of July celebration 1837:

"But what was most remarkable, Broadway being three miles long, and the booths lining each side of it, in every booth, there was a roast pig, large or small as the center attraction. Six miles of roast pig! And that in New Your City alone; and roast pig in every other city, town, hamlet and village in the Union. What association can there be between roast pig and independence? "

Then and Now

They say history repeats itself with food and fashion- and cooking outdoors will never go out of style. Today's Fourth of July Celebration (with the exception of this year) still has pomp, parades, games, sports, and illuminations, just as John Adams predicted. But the food has become less formal and has changed with the technology of our times.

Cooking outside is still the favorite way to celebrate. Pork, potatoes, peas, and ice cream are still on the hit list. Today though, paper plates and potluck parties have taken the place of formal dinners. The good news though is that even over two centuries have passed since our nation declared independence, some favorite Fourth of July recipes are still thrifty and simple.

According to the magazine Gastronomica, a journal of food and culture, the Caesar Salad was born on the 4th of July. For a recipe of mine of the Caesar salad and a bit about the history, click here.

We all Scream for Ice cream!

Another Delicacy that made the Fourth of July headlines - in South Carolina. In 1798 - was "Iced cream, the best of quality" Ice cream purveyors set up stalls near theatres, museums, anywhere crowds were heavy. Because of the heat, the vendors did a lively business.

A Taste of History

Indian Pudding the dessert of the Adamses and England's Hasty Pudding is almost the same, Hasty Pudding is an English dessert that has been loved for centuries. The What's cooking America Website gives us this history of the recipe-

The love of pudding came with the first colonist in Virginia and was a favorite of the New England settlers.  In the colonies, this dish was also known as Indian Pudding, Indian Mush, and Indian Meal because the colonists In colonial days, Indian pudding was a simple cornmeal mush sweetened with molasses.  In later years, it was dressed up with everything from sugar and eggs to raisins and spices.

This recipe of John Witherspoon's Baked Indian Pudding came from a descendant of John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration of Independence. I think this pudding was one of the original comfort foods of the day.

John Witherspoon's Baked Indian Pudding

6 servings


4 cups of milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup cornmeal

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup molasses

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

Vanilla Ice Cream


Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan over low heat, scald milk and sugar. Gradually stir in cornmeal. Cook and stir constantly until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in eggs, cinnamon, ginger, salt, molasses, and orange peel. Mix thoroughly. Pour in a greased two-quart casserole dish. Bake 1-1/2 hours. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


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