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Cooking with Karina: Independence Never Tasted so Good

Karina Arnold
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Strawberry Almond Chicken Salad

Strawberry Almond Chicken Salad. (Photo: Karina Arnold)

Karina Arnold, summer intern at The Buzz, is a rising sophomore at the University of Oklahoma who’s passionate about healthy cooking. Stay tuned every Monday this summer for creative, healthy recipes and tips on clean eating from Karina. 

After Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence July 4th, 1776, I guarantee they went to the nearest tavern to celebrate. But what did our founding fathers eat in between clinking glasses and celebratory cheers? Here is a quick guide of traditional 4th of July meals throughout history and how you can recreate them today! 

Angel Food Cupcakes

These Angel Food Cupcakes are decorated with red, white and blue food dye to give them a festive Fourth of July vibe. . (Photo: Karina Arnold)

1700-1800s 
Traditionally eaten in taverns, formal dining halls, country clubs or ordinate outdoor gazeboes, July 4th celebrations were fanciful affairs. Guests would dine on roasted ham with lobster and chicken salad and a side of bread and butter sandwich, finishing with macaroons and jelly tarts for dessert. Guests sipped on “refreshments of the richest kind” including domestic beers and lemonade. Channel the past patriots by trying this simple Strawberry Almond Chicken Salad dish. The almonds contain healthy Omega-3 fats, a fat that lowers LDL cholesterol levels, or the “bad” cholesterol that causes high blood pressure. Chicken provides lean protein and is also rich in Omega-3 fats ("Fruit Packs a Punch for Healthful Living," Dr. Michael Roizen, Houston Chronicle, June 20, 2016). The fruit added gives your salad a sweet taste and provides healthy antioxidants and vitamins.  

1900s 
Centuries later and with notably less formal celebrations, Americans enjoyed lamb barbecue, smoked trout or salmon, baked potatoes, coleslaw, various salads, tea and punch at fair grounds, outdoor picnics and parks. Celebrants snacked on frosted sugar cookies, fruit and cheese platters or homemade ice cream. Today, feast with your family on these Angel Food Cupcakes, only 60 calories and truly heavenly. 

Watermelon Cooler

Cool off with this refreshing Watermelon Cooler. (Photo: Karina Arnold)

2000s-present 
These days, Americans chow down in friends’ backyards or lake houses on barbecue, hot dogs, ribs, coleslaw and potato salad while drinking sodas, lemonade or beer. Treats usually include potato chips, cookies, patriotic colored Jell-O and popsicles. While dancing amongst the sparklers, sip on this Watermelon Cooler for a refreshing slush. Watermelon, which is 91 percent water, keeps you hydrated and reduces risk of stroke since it is saturated with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. 

Although each century had slightly different food variations, the love for watching fireworks surpasses time. Americans have used fireworks throughout history in their Independence Day celebrations. So grab your loved ones, stack your paper plate high with barbecue and watch fireworks light up the same sky our ancestors celebrated under. Comment with your favorite family Independence Day dishes. Happy fourth! 

See more posts on healthy cooking from Karina and more Buzz recipes.

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