Too Many Cooks

Too Many Cooks: Fourth of July Food Traditions

June 28, 2013

You'll be hearing from the staff at FOOD52 every week in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more. 

Let's be honest: holiday anticipation really just means menu planning. It means food fantasizing, dreaming up the layout of the dessert table. And it means reminiscing on past holidays and delighting in food nostalgia. So this week, we're indulging. We polled our staff:

Shop the Story

What are your Fourth of July Food Traditions?

Do you come from a strictly burgers-and-hot dogs family? Or does your day center exclusively about fruity desserts? Tell us in the comments!

Marian: My mom used to make Fruit Pizza (with cream cheese frosting/sauce, yep) with red, white, and blue in all the right places. But this year (sorry mom) it's getting replaced by a slab pie/icebox cake double-header.

Bryce: A flag cake: sheet cake-style, with extra strawberries. Plus sirloin kebabs with chimichurri sauce.

Lauren: I'm with Bryce on the flag cake with berries. This year I am adding in the Genius slab pie for deliciousness and portability.

Hannah: An awesome amount of strawberry shortcake, made with no shortcuts whatsoever.

Merrill: Steaks on the grill, medium rare! 

Steak for a Brooklyn Backyard Barbecue

Jennifer: Good old hot dogs and hamburgers!

Jason: Grilling hot wings, drinking beer and forgetting to put on sunscreen.

Emma: There's not one consistent thing we make for this particular holiday, although there's always a grill involved. And also watermelon. And also WAY too much food. Does way too much food count as a tradition?

Maggie: 1. Eating too much, 2. taking a break to complain about how full we are, 3. rallying and eating more. We usually stick to traditional hot dogs and coleslaw with a flag cake for dessert. With cream cheese icing, of course.

Sarah J: Corn on the cob. And, starting this year, I'd like to make Amanda's swamp pie a tradition too. 

Swamp Pie

Amanda Li: Taco salad, with just enough lettuce to qualify as a "salad".

Maddy: Mixed-berry slab pie and blueberry-basil gin cocktails, concocted from a recipe we received a few years ago from a Commander's Palace bartender.

LindsayGuacamole, margaritas, and a brownie done up flag-style. And sparklers. (Not edible, obviously, but essential nevertheless.)

Kristen: My mom makes an amazing dessert called Blueberry Torte, which is supposed to be a pantry dessert but we've made it fussier (and better). The original: thick graham cracker walnut crust, Dream Whip, and canned blueberry pie filling. She's upgraded to real whipped cream, and I've started DIYing the blueberries. 

BretteI think you all know mine by now.

Amelia: For the Fourth, my family usually goes to see James Taylor at this beautiful outdoor theater in the Berkshires. We always pack the same sandwich: turkey, baby spinach, brie, tomatoes, pepperoncini, and an herbed mayo on a baguette.

Will: Everything grilled, the coldest beer possible, and fireworks, preferably watched from a roof!

Beatrice: Ice cream sandwiches and flag-shaped jello in red white and blue! 

Tell us: what are your Fourth of July traditions?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • henandchicks
  • Greenstuff
  • scott.finkelstein.5
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



henandchicks July 2, 2013
My kids gorge themselves on the candy tossed from parade floats- the yucky, cheap kind of taffy and "chocolate" flavored fake M&Ms. They do this every year, so it must be a tradition.
Greenstuff June 28, 2013
Not a single one of you having salmon and peas?
scott.finkelstein.5 June 30, 2013
[Raises hand]