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4th of July Menus in the 1950s

1950s 4th of July Menu

Each time I travel to Europe I am instantly aware of the cultural nuances that differ between parts of each country. Eastern Southern France is in many many ways very different from Western Northern France. Some old languages even remain and without a doubt food customs are still widely kept alive. A cassoulet in France differs from town to town and each town takes massive pride in their own "essential" cassoulet.

I become then, keenly aware of the fact that the United States is the same way, though not often recognized. While we typically think of the US as serving hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled corn, etc on the 4th of July, there is no doubt in my mind that the East Coast will have some customary Independence day foods that won't likely hit the plate in the Southwest. And as another example, Texas is more likely to find brisket on the 4th of July table than say, Boston (I suppose?)



I think the same could be noted then, not just regionally, but also yearly. The things we eat today to celebrate the 4th of July differ greatly from our menu in the 1800s and early 1900s and even from the 1950s. As the world changes and becomes smaller so-to-speak, our traditions often become muddled and our menus start to look mostly the same. So, if you'd like to spice up your 4th of July menu this year, I think the 1950s is an excellent source!

I know that often the technicolor ads are what come to mind when 1950s and menu are together in the same sentence, but it's important to remember that not all families had succumbed to the canned-soup-casserole method for every meal. From my research of old menu's it's clear that many families loved more farm-to-table style meals that were traditional and delicious!



“It’s the custom in New England to serve cold salmon steaks on the Fourth of July. No one know where it started, or why, but the custom is spreading to all parts of the country. Perhaps the color was responsible, but we think it more likely that it’s because salmon fishing is at its height in July.”
---“Cold Salmon Steak Becomes a Fourth of July Tradition,” Mary Meade, Chicago Daily Tribune, June 12, 1950 (p. D5)







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