by KRL Staff
When I think of our family 4th of July celebrations one of the big things that sticks out in my mind is food! If you are trying to decide what food to serve at your celebration this year, check out some July 4th food memories from some of our KRL staff. Feel free to add your own memories in the comments! Happy 4th of July from KRL!
For me personally there are two foods that come to mind. First off hotdogs–it just wasn’t the 4th of July without a hotdog picnic in the backyard (or at least at the kitchen table if it was too hot outside). The other thing I remember from when I was really small was making homemade ice cream in my grandparents back yard. A bunch of family would come together and we’d all take turns cranking the ice cream maker handle and adding ice and rock salt. It wasn’t just about the wonderful ice cream, it was about doing it together as a family!
This isn’t a food memory, but when I was five years old my father was doing solo Dad duty on the Fourth of July after my mom returned to working the night shift as a nurse for the first time since having children. Dad took us into the back yard for my older brother to light firecrackers while I was given child-safe sparklers. I was wearing my birthday-gift-brand-new flammable polyester pink robe. The long robe soon became a short robe, I was tossed into the pool, and my mother delegated baby-sitting duties to my eight-year old brother. My dad was allowed to walk to the dog. But it was an exciting holiday to remember and the hot dogs were great!
Usually everybody went to Aunt Millie’s for get togethers because she had badminton nets set up and a huge yard. For the 4th of July though, our house was the place to be. We were outside the city limits so the “no fireworks” rule didn’t apply. Mostly we had firecrackers, the tape for cap guns (you could put them on the sidewalk and smack them with a rock just as well), snakes, bottle rockets and lots of sparklers. Mom had fits that we all ran around barefooted.
Food was fried or had mayonnaise–fried chicken, potato salad, deviled eggs and baked beans (out of the can, served cold, as is). Sometimes there were peas in mayo goo to hold them on the fork. The best was pulling the cold chicken from the bone to make a sandwich on white bread–with mayo of course.
It’s a wonder any of us have a clear artery left.
When I think of 4th of July I think hot dogs, as a family we always would have hot dogs to celebrate. We rarely ate on our patio for meals but I remember one year for the 4th of July we ate on the patio and played ping pong with my Dad.
If it’s the 4th of July, then it’s time for chicken breasts marinated overnight in Rendezvous’ barbeque sauce then grilled outdoors (or broiled indoors if you’re faint of heart on a blistery July afternoon). Now this sauce is unique in here in Memphis TN, in that, while it is tomato based the way most mid-southerners like their sauce, the Vergos family recipe has decidedly Greek overtones. It’s not sweet, but is acidic—slightly vinegary. Oh, and its spices are a smoky blend of oregano, thyme, and paprika, just to start. Each bite is part of Memphis Downtown history and there is nothing else like it!
Dad had been assigned to Ft Riley, Kansas and this was our first year in the middle of the country. During the war, food had been rationed. Then after the war, Dad had taken us to war torn Europe for the reconstruction. Food came in cans or powdered. Nothing fresh.
Now here we were, in a part of the country where food was in abundance. Fresh corn, ripe cherries, fresh pasteurized milk and all the eggs a person could eat. The 4th of July meant fireworks, sparklers and tables laden with more dishes than I had ever seen. The treat of the day, freshly made ice cream to top the slices of hot cherry pie. It was a 4th of July I never forgot.
One of my favorite 4th of July food memories is watching fireworks at the local high school and eating the red, white, and blue rocket pops during the show. It made me feel extra patriotic. And I was always intrigued by the white flavor, as I was never able to identify it as lemon when I was a kid. As an adult, I have moved up to frozen yogurt, my favorite being Pinkberry and their seasonal flavor, watermelon.
Homemade ice cream! The best 4th of July food ever! I remember being about five and sitting on the old White Mountain ice cream freezer while my Dad cranked away. Mom always let us have the ice cream that was left on the dasher after cranking. Then the can was wrapped in burlap and ice, and set aside for later (in later years they just put the ice cream can in the deep freeze). The first bite of that delicious cream, milk, egg confection was heaven, but you had to be careful and not eat too fast or you would get a “headache.” The ice cream still tastes as good as it did–we still use Mom’s recipe–but we make it in an electric freezer.
I don’t have any specific memory, but for me, it is not the 4th of July unless I have tri-tip and fresh corn. Where I grew up in the Bay Area, no one ever heard of tri-tip. When I moved to the valley and discovered this delectable cut of meat, well that was it. Forget the hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken. It is tri-tip for me EVERY YEAR!
Terrance Mc Arthur-
Ahhh! Food on the Fourth of July! Such memories…………..!
Stirring the tub of breadcrumbs and Cream of Mushroom soup, Cream of Celery soup, water chestnuts, chopped olives, and mushrooms to stuff the turkey, and…Wait! That was Thanksgiving!
Oh, yeah…Deviled eggs at midnight when the ball dropped in Times Squ….No, that’s New Year’s Eve.
Was it the Rice-a-Roni-stuffed game hens…..? Christmas.
Mushroom-hunting in the misty fields around Bakersfield? That was New Year’s Day.
Danish Aebelskever? Somewhere in spring.
Waffles? Dad fixed them on Father’s Day (He thought a chance to cook was a treat).
Barbecue? No, that wasn’t even our family!
All we’d do is watch “1776” on KMPH until the fireworks started at Renegade Stadium, a half mile up the hill in East Bakersfield, and we’d……we’d…….drink Diet Pepsi. How sad. I can’t stand the stuff.
Christina Morgan Cree-
When I was a kid my favorite thing about July 4th was the sparklers. You know, the kind that shot out electric sparks that looked like mini lightning and kind of hurt when they hit your skin. All us kids would be outside at dusk waiting for the real fireworks to start and that’s when they’d hand out the sparklers. Once lit, it was a race against time to see how many shapes you could make or see if you could write out your entire name before it fizzled out.
4 oz cream cheese
1 can no bean chili
Cheddar cheese, grated
White corn tortilla chips
Combine chili and cream cheese in a saucepan or crockpot and cook on low. Top with grated cheddar cheese.
Please share your July 4th food memories, or even some favorite recipes!