I like an Independence Day grill-out as much as the next gal, but members of the Second Continental Congress certainly weren’t chowing down on burgers and blue-frosting-laden cupcakes. Want to really party like America’s Founding Fathers this holiday weekend? Then we suggest you …
Drink Up—It’s 9 a.m. Somewhere
And here I thought I was being patriotic with the case of Sam Adam’s summer beer in my fridge right now. But beer didn’t gain major traction in the U.S. until the mid-19th Century, when the influx of German immigrants began setting up beer breweries (thanks, great great great great grandpa Kretschmar!). Until then, hard cider was the most popular alcoholic beverage in the fledgling U.S. of A—and it wasn’t just an evening (or even afternoon) thirst quencher; John Adams and his ilk were just as likely to put a pint or two back for breakfast. If you’re husband/boyfriend/roommates give you funny looks as you’re grabbing some Wheaties and a Woodchuck tomorrow morning, ask them why they hate America.
Trade Your Cupcakes for ‘Black Caps’
What’s not to like about apples covered in wine? Though for the sake of modernity, I think we can skip the white sugar . This recipe is from A New System of Domestic Cookery (1807): Halve and core some fine large apples, put them in a shallow pan, strew white sugar over, and bake them. Boil a glass of wine, the same of water, and sweeten it for sauce.
Get Thee to the Garden
George Washington once said, “I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman’s cares.” Spend some time in your garden or hit the local farmer’s market tomorrow if you can.
Have Some Whiskey or Rye
Whiskey was a popular spirit with the American colonists. Northern colonists generally made their whiskey with rye—which was seen as a more civilized grain—while the south preferred corn whiskey, which was seen as more patriotic because it was produced with an indigenous American crop.
Make Some Indian Pudding
From The Frugal Housewife; Or, Complete Woman Cook: One quart of boiled milk to five spoonfuls of Indian Meal (cornmeal), one gill of (molasses), and salt to your taste; putting it in the oven to bake when it is cold.
Break Out the Slow Cooker
You can adapt hearth-cooked colonial recipes such as Indian Pudding, Apple Pie Soup and Boston Baked Beans for your crock-pot. This apple-pie soup recipe (via Natural Home and Garden) especially sounds pretty delicious.
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces, 6 whole cloves, 6 allspice berries, 6 cups water or apple cider, 4 large Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced, 2/3 cup raisins, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 cup low-fat or nonfat yogurt (for garnish)
1. Combine cinnamon, cloves and allspice in a mortar or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.
2. Combine water or cider, apples, raisins, nutmeg and ground spice mixture in the crock of a slow cooker.
3. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, until apples are soft and falling apart. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice.
4. Ladle into soup bowls and top with a dollop of yogurt. Serve immediately.
Want more on early-American delicacies? Check out this Salon article on how Thomas Jefferson was America’s first “foodie.”