Happy July 4th! It's time to celebrate America's Independence with food, fireworks and allergy-freedom!
In honor of the birth of America we've got a list of facts about American independence and ten awesome backyard barbecue worthy dishes to kick off the summer festivities.
Awesome Facts About the History of American Independence
The American Revolutionary War, which started out as a war of resistance but morphed into a war for independence, began because the American colonists were opposing heavy taxation. That's right - if it weren't for taxation without representation America might still be a colony of Great Britain.
The American Revolutionary War began in 1775 and lasted until 1783, between Great Britain, American colonists, France, Spain, Portugal, Prussia, the Dutch Republic, and colonies in Central America, the West Indies, West Africa and India. You might say this was actually the first world war.
The Declaration of Independence, widely assumed to be signed on July 4, 1776 was actually adopted by the Continental Congress and published on that day but not signed until August 2, 1776.
The resolution to declare independence from Great Britain's rule was actually agreed upon by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776, over a year after the war had already started.
John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers, wrote a letter to his wife dated July 3, 1776 saying that Americans would forever remember July 2 as the day America declared it's independence and would celebrate with prayer and feasts and fireworks. He was so adamant that July 2 was the date of the birth of the independent nation of America that he would refuse to attend celebrations held on July 4 in protest.
Founding Fathers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the first and second Vice Presidents and the second and third Presidents of the United States of America died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826 on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Fourth President of the United States of America James Monroe died on July 4, 1831.
Contrary to popular belief, the cracking of the Liberty Bell did not occur on July 4, 1776 but on July 8, 1776 to commemorate the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The lighting of fireworks to commemorate Independence Day was authorized by Congress on July 4, 1777.
Thomas Jefferson was 33 years old when he wrote the bulk of the Declaration of Independence. In it he blamed King George of Great Britain for slavery in the colonies.
In what is considered one of the best-known sentences in the English language, the Declaration of Independence states "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Though this wording suggests a declaration to free all those living in the American colonies from tyranny and give them true liberty, slavery wasn't abolished in the United States until 1865; minorities weren't granted citizenship status until 1868 and given the right to vote until 1870; women weren't given the right to vote until 1920; and the Civil Rights Act didn't come about until 1964. You might say that it takes a nation of idealists a great deal of time to accomplish those ideals.
A big bombshell involving today's holiday is the power of words: what we mean by that is, despite all of the important dates surrounding the American struggle for independence, the date that is commemorated and observed as a federal paid holiday, is the day words were put to paper and published.
Ten Backyard Barbecue Dishes For Your July 4 Celebration:
Deli-Style Chickpea Salad - celebrate July 4 with a replacement for tuna or egg salad. This chickpea dish is creamy, salty, dill-y goodness that you can serve stuffed in mushrooms, salads or in a large bowl. Enjoy!
Creamy Herbed Potato Salad - we posted this recipe last week and it is an awesome way to kick off summertime barbecues.
Southern-Style Maple BBQ Baked Beans - what's a barbecue without baked beans? Now you don't have to wonder if there's meat or lard in it - it's all bean-seasoned goodness.
Smack Yo Lips Collard Greens - sure this dish is more involved than the others but the upside is you can make it with frozen greens if you don't have the time to prep fresh and cook it in a slow cooker. You can't have a barbecue without collards!
Dill Pea Salad - picnics are all about salads right? Most people bring the other types of dishes - all the meat. Hardly anybody's going to have enough salad to go around, and who's thinking of pea salad for a barbecue? You are!
Israeli Salad with Orzo - need a pasta salad for your Independence Day potluck? This one's easy, fresh and ultra-satisfying. Don't forget to put this one on the menu!
Afghan Veggie Kabobs - veggie skewers with a flavor twist. You just whip up some sauce, dip your veggie skewers and then grill on the barbecue - or roast in the oven.
Grilled or Roasted Veggie Skewers - so you're not in the mood for the Afghan twist and you just want some simple veggie skewers to add to the awesome salads, collards and beans on your plate? Skewer your veggies, sprinkle with salt, pepper and oil and grill on the barbecue or roast in the oven. Truly, the classics never get old.
Fruit Salad - some people say apple pie is the all-American dessert perfect for July 4 celebrations but we think a nice big bowl of cool, hydrating fruit is what you really need for a summer barbecue. You can keep it simple with a collection of melon - watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew - or add some tropical flavors - kiwi, pineapple, orange, mango - or go berry crazy - strawberry, blueberry, blackberry and grapes!
The Drinks - typical barbecues tend to have sweet caffeinated tea, soda, and alcohol,
which are all dehydrating beverages, meaning you can drink and drink and still be thirsty. It's too hot for all that. Instead try a refreshing infused water beverage - slice up some mint, lemon, lime, orange or watermelon and throw it in your pitcher along with your ice. Or try making caffeine free herbal iced tea without the sweetener. Maybe you can even serve smoothies for dessert - frozen fruit, naturally sweet, slurpable - what's not to like?
What did you serve with your allergy-friendly barbecue? Tell us in the comments below!