Hungry? Fourth of July weekend means lots of hamburgers & hot dogs…but what did our Founding Fathers eat?
(CNN) — For many, the Fourth of July weekend means cookouts and delicious food! Many of us will serve up hamburgers and hot dogs hot off the grill — and we might top it off with some all-American apple pie and ice cream.
But marking our nation’s independence didn’t always revolve around the grill.
So what did our Founding Fathers eat to celebrate America’s birthday?
The Declaration of Independence didn’t say anything about hot dogs and hamburgers.
On the day the United States was born, there was likely a much different meal on the table for Americans like George Washington.
“We can look up July 4th, 1776 and see that the headquarters staff had mutton, veal, roast beef, cabbages, peas, potatoes, beets, beans and then from the fish market they had black fish and lobster,” Susan Schoelwer — a curator at Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in Virginia said.
Despite the differences, Schoelwer says there are at least a few similarities between our summer menus and those of our Founding Fathers.
“The 18th century British and American colonist basically liked anything you can put in a crust and eat. And so we think particularly cherry pies and cherries would have been in season at that that time of year,” Schoelwer said.
Most of what was served was grown on the estate — which meant a lot of fresh vegetables with a meal — whatever was in season.
During his travels to the young nation’s more cosmopolitan cities like New York and Philadelphia, Washington likely discovered something a little more refreshing: ice cream!
“Usually flavoring it with something like strawberries or raspberries — some kind of fruit. You really didn’t get chocolate or vanilla ice cream in the 18th century, but fruits so I think that was another favorite,” Schoelwer said.
Washington likely would have sipped his favorite beverage — the fortified wine Madeira, with a meal.
It was also preferred by Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers — who had reasons to raise a toast to each July 4th.