Celebrate Like Our Forefathers: Traditional Fourth of July Fare

These heritage recipes were popular at early Independence Day feasts.
Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice Cream

Ice cream with fresh berries is a Fourth of July classic.

Modern-day Americans tend to celebrate the Fourth with a spread of hot dogs, hamburgers and corn on the cob. 

But early Americans had their own favorites and holiday traditions...and while many resembled contemporary Independence Day fare, others have fallen out of favor. Here's a sampling of dishes that would historically have been eaten on the Fourth:

Turtle Soup Believe it or not, turtle soup—a rare dish these days—was one of the earliest Independence Day staples. Bobby Flay's recipe features a rich broth laden with summer produce.

Pan-fried Partridge with Barley, Pea and Lettuce Stew Partridge was a sought-after delicacy in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Jamie Oliver's recipe, incorporating barley and in-season peas, seems like just the kind of dish that might have graced one of our forefathers' tables.

Potato Salad Regionalism reigned in early America, and while New Englanders were sopping up turtle soup, Midwesterners were more likely to chow down on fried chicken and potato salad. This old-fashioned potato salad recipe incorporates russet potatoes, celery and dill relish.

Ice Cream Early Americans loved their ice cream, and making your own is a fun and easy -- if time-intensive -- process. Cat Cora's recipe incorporates seasonal berries.

Homemade Lemonade Lemonade has a long history as a Fourth of July favorite, and using this recipe you can make a pitcher like great-great-great grandma would have served.

Keep Reading