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The Historic American Cookbook Project

Eat like an original Patriot


If you’re like most Americans, your Fourth of July menu may consist of things like hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, fried chicken or steak. The Founding Fathers, however, would have found that board of fare incomprehensible (except for maybe the chicken and steak).

According to most sources, none other than John Adams, the second president of the United States, celebrated his vote for independence with a meal of green turtle soup, poached salmon with egg sauce, green peas, boiled potatoes and Indian pudding or pandowdy (a spiced apple pie baked in a deep dish).

If you want to celebrate this Fourth of July in the style of the first patriots, check out the University of Michigan’s Historic American Cookbook Project, which compiled and digitized 76 cookbooks drawn from the university’s collection of 10,000 volumes.

Accessible on the Michigan State special collections website under “Feeding America,” a few gems come close to the revolutionary period. Looke hence for an olde repast.