July 4th, 2011
11:30 AM ET
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There's nothing quite so American as gathering your friends and family to celebrate Independence Day with a classic cookout.

We polled Eatocracy readers a while back, and nearly 38,000 votes later, it seems that the ultimate summer menu would consist of a burger (cooked medium and topped with cheese, lettuce and onions), potato salad, corn on the cob and watermelon, washed down with plenty of ice cold beer.

Only in the U.S.A., right?

Well, not quite. While those dishes may now be synonymous with American life, liberty and the pursuit of a really great picnic, like most of the citizens themselves, often their origins are elsewhere.

Let's start with that burger. Food writer Josh Ozersky asserts in his 2008 book, "The Hamburger: A History" that the modern day incarnation of the formed patty between two halves of a bun is "an American invention" with endless regional variations like the Connecticut steamed cheeseburger, Mississippi slugburger or Oklahoma onion burger. Various inventors have laid claim to that innovation, from Charles "Hamburger Charlie" Nagreen, a vendor at the Seymour Fair in Wisconsin in 1885 and Fletcher Davis in Athens, Texas in the 1880s, to Frank and Robert Menches at the Erie Agricultural Fair in Hamburg, New York in 1885 (they also take credit for the invention of the ice cream cone at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904), or possibly Louis Lassen at Louis' Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut in 1900.

While it took some American ingenuity to slap meat on some bread and render it a hand held sandwich, the concept of the patty itself was brought to the United States by German immigrants who had become fans of the Hamburg Steak. This cheap, chopped or roughly ground beef was mixed with fillers like breadcrumbs, suet and onions, bound with eggs and seasoned with nutmeg. The meat, often salted and smoked for preservation, was brought over to the United States by immigrants on the Hamburg America Line and became a popular menu item on New York City restaurants that catered to German sailors and European immigrants, hungry for the flavors of home.

That beloved potato salad, too, was the provenance of primarily German immigrants who brought over the endless regional variations that became popular in the U.S. in the latter half of the 19th century. While Spanish explorers introduced spuds to Europe in the 16th century and a few French and British potato salad recipes can be found in the texts of that time (see Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery and Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cookbook), the German versions - characterized by warm dressings featuring a heavy vinegar bite - prevailed. It took good old fashioned American engineering to add mayonnaise to create the creamy, often egg-laden versions seen in delis and gracing picnic tables across this great land today.

Corn on the cob - now, that's one for the home team. Sweet corn - the variant of maize or field corn with a particularly high sugar content, which we use for cob consumption - was cultivated by Native Americans in the 1700s and shared with European settlers around the 1770s. It's also extremely popular served as a Mexican street food called "elote." In this preparation, cobs are grilled or roasted and slathered in condiments like lime, mayonnaise, cheese and powdered chiles.

Watermelon, ubiquitous at picnics from coast to coast, is believed to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa. The melons were depicted in Egyptian heiroglyphics as far back as 5,000 years ago and were placed in the tombs of pharoahs to nourish them into the afterlife. Merchant ships brought the fruit to China by the 10th century, and that country remains the largest watermelon producer in the world. In his book "Southern food: at home, on the road, in history," food historian John Egerton writes of watermelon's introduction to the United States via African slaves, who also brought along okra, black-eyes peas, collard greens, yams and benne seed - also known as sesame.

And finally, to round out the feast: beer. Oh hoppy, malty, happy-making beer. Civilization has been brewing and quaffing permutations of beer since at least 6000 B.C., and studies show that Apache, Pueblo, Navajo and Tarahumara tribes in Northern Mexico and Arizona were no slouches, themselves - brewing a weak, corn-based beer called tiswin at least 1000 years ago.

Archaeologists also found evidence of fermented residue associated with beer production in 800 year old pots belonging to Pueblo tribes in what is now New Mexico. This contradicts previous assertions that the area had remained dry until the Spanish arrived in the 16th century with grapes and wine.

And as for that apple pie? English, Dutch and Swedish recipes go back centuries, but it's believed that mock apple pie - made without apples - was invented by pioneers traveling out West in the mid-1800s. The ingenious travelers used similar spices to evoke the taste of the bounty they missed from back East.

Now that's the flavor of good ol' American ingenuity.

Results of the Picnic Poll

Favorite Picnic Main Dish:

Burgers 43%
Ribs 23%
Steak 12%
Hot dogs 10%
Chicken 7%
Veggies 3%
Other 2%

Favorite Picnic Beverage

Beer 51%
Iced tea 20%
Lemonade 8%
Cola 7%
Water 6%
Wine 4%
Punch (spiked or non) 2%
Other 2%

Favorite Hot Picnic Side Dish

Corn on the cob 42.3%
Baked beans 28.3%
Macaroni & cheese 15%
Grilled veggies 13.2%
Other 1.2%

Favorite Cold Picnic Side Dish

Potato salad 38%
Deviled eggs 27%
Fruit salad 13%
Pasta salad 11%
Cole slaw 8%
Three bean salad 2%
Other 1%

Favorite Burger Toppings

Cheese 15.8%
Lettuce 13%
Onions 12.3%
Ketchup 12.1%
Tomato 11.5%
Mustard 10.4%
Pickles 10%
Mayo 8.3%
Relish 2.1%
Other – 1.6%
Potato chips 1.5%
Steak sauce 1.4%

Favorite Level of Burger Doneness

Medium 29.5%
Medium well 25.5%
Medium rare 22.3%
Well done 16%
Fair rare 3.7%
Practically mooing 1.8%
Hockey puck 1.4%

Favorite Picnic Dessert

Watermelon 36.4%

Pie 23.5%
Ice cream / sherbet / gelato 12.9%
Cookies 9.2%
Cake 8.1%
Other 3.6%
Fruit kebab 3.2%
Anything involving a Jell-O mold 1.3%
Popsicle 1.2%
Pudding 0.7%

All our best grilling advice.

soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Mace

    Seriously? As if we don't already know this country is being invaded by immigrants...everything is bilingual and all we need now are bilingual traffic signs. Please don't mess it up for us...We work so hard for days like this...We want America back.

    July 4, 2014 at 11:56 am |
    • Perspective


      July 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • Operator

      Please Press 1 for Spanish,2 for English or 3 for JIVE.

      July 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
    • Stan

      Unless you're a Native American, your forefathers were immigrants too. Our entire nation is and always has been a nation of immigrants. Don't throw stones if you live in a glass house.

      July 4, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • tallulah131

      This country was built by immigration. The only people who truly belong here are the natives. So if you are a Native American, you have a good point. If not, then you are just another child of immigrants and should cease your hypocritical whining.

      July 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
    • dike

      Bilingual also means the other language is only Spanish.

      July 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Reality check.

      The United States has always been a nation of immigrats, usually unwelcomed. The Irish, Jews, Italians, etc. were all subject to racist zenophobia when they arrived.

      Some ignorant Americans want to continue this "tradition" of racist zenophobia, forgetting their own history.


      July 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • lroy

      It's been bi-lingual for many years and if you ONLY speak English you are penalized somehow. Many signs are bi-lingual and it's not just Spanish anymore.

      July 4, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
  2. greetingsfromyonkers

    I live in an apartment and can't do an outdoor celebration, but I'm having a "pretend cookout" in my kitchen to celebrate the holiday. The menu:

    –Hot dogs (boiled in beer for a really wonderful taste)
    –Corn on the cob with chili-lime butter
    –German-style potato salad
    –Greek salad (my favorite)
    –Fresh strawberries and blueberries with vanilla yogurt (a red, white, and blue dessert!)

    July 4, 2014 at 11:54 am |
  3. KIm

    Bison burger for me (I can't tolerate beef anymore).

    July 4, 2014 at 11:52 am |
  4. HappyBirthdayAmerica!

    I dunno bout yall but I like barbecued Tri-tip rubbed with Pappy's seasoning, home made potato salad and ice cold beer. Even the pickiest kids will choose tri-tip over a hamburger.

    July 4, 2014 at 11:37 am |
  5. Gray

    Kat, you're a real buzzkill. We don't care where it originated. These items have become a staple in American culture. I could also comment about your ancestors coming to America from a different country and then calling you un-American. It's the same thing. You are American and now these foods are American, no matter their history.

    July 4, 2014 at 11:30 am |
    • Orange

      How is knowing some history a buzzkill? Go buy a puppy and cheer the phuque up.

      July 4, 2014 at 11:36 am |
      • michaellocher

        Heh – agreed, Orange. Knowing history isn't a buzzkill.

        Unless, that is, enjoying American traditions (to you) means believing that they were all invented by George Washington.

        We live in a country of borrowed and re-appropriated traditions, and that's cool.

        July 4, 2014 at 11:47 am |
      • John

        Why stop at Germany? There is evidence that ancient Romans ate patties of cooked meat with bread.

        Every food has its historical precursors, and anyone can say a food was 'invented' somewhere. The Hamburger steak got its name because that style of preparing meat was popular in Hamburg. But minced beef had been eaten who-knows-how-many other places before it became associated with the German city. In the U.S., a 'hamburger' is a sandwich made with ground beef. If we want a Hamburger steak, we have to ask for one by adding 'steak' to the phrase. Order a 'hamburger', and you'll get a sandwich. Ancient Romans may have eaten mince on bread, but 'THE hamburger' - what we all agree is 'a hamburger' today, and note the lowercase spelling - is an American invention.

        History is great. But you can't really choose an arbitrary stopping point and claim it's definitive. A Neanderthal may have pounded meat with a rock and cooked it, and that could plausibly be the origin of the Hamburger steak. You really have to go with the origin of the dish. In the case of the 'hamburger' (as opposed to the 'Hamburger steak') I'm good with it being invented here.

        July 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  6. Derek

    This is why I stick to genuine American dishes such as Muktuk and corn pattties.

    July 4, 2014 at 11:23 am |
  7. mattk

    "is the meal horribly bad for your health?"
    If you answer yes, it's probably an American meal

    July 4, 2014 at 11:15 am |
  8. crocksoldiersimprobablywearingbedrolls

    But that's what America *is*! It's a wonderful, ever-changing mashup of people/ideas/traditions from everywhere else on earth! It'd be against our national character if you couldn't eventually trace most things back to what some immigrants brought with them when they came here.

    Now I'm hungry for South Asian food. American South Asian food.

    July 4, 2014 at 10:41 am |
  9. Mike

    Where's the choice of VEGGIE burgers for an entree?

    July 4, 2014 at 10:37 am |
    • Ian

      "Veggie burgers" is un-American.

      July 4, 2014 at 10:42 am |
      • Jarhead

        That name Ian is unamerican

        July 4, 2014 at 11:57 am |
    • crittermomagain

      Portabello burger! Better than beef!

      July 4, 2014 at 11:08 am |
    • dike

      If the immigrants were vegetarians probably there would have been a large variety of food types for each season and not a small variety that is highly mass produced and packaged and frozen for the full year. I believe in the fact that healthy food has very short shelf life and most healthy food cannot be frozen, if frozen it will not have the same taste and texture.

      July 4, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • kimber3

      Or perhaps veggie fajitas. Grilled bell peppers, zuke, carrots, onions, brocoli, mushrooms... whatever you want...served with quac, pico/salsa....YUUUUM!

      That's what we're having tonight, before we head downtown to see the fireworks:)

      July 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
    • AceGirlsHusband

      That would be in Berkeley or San Francisco, Mike.

      July 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
  10. Greg

    Since I eat to stay in ketosis I will probably just eat a pound of bacon today. There's nothing left to celebrate in the United States anymore. If you think there is, you are a fool.

    July 4, 2014 at 9:41 am |
    • steve

      I'm going to celebrate booty holes.

      July 4, 2014 at 10:10 am |
    • Carson Thaler

      Exactly... I'm a living testament to the sham and the racket that is the US Judicial System.... I was adopted twice as a child and had to watch helplessly as these same services legally kidnapped my son...

      And that isn't the half of it...

      The US is a sham racket Industrial Complex that is nothing anywhere near the intent that the fore fathers left us... to fulfill. I want out... Love it or leave it? Please show me the door... This God forsaken country is lucky I won't go nuclear on it... It's only a matter of time before they hurt someone that isn't forgiving ass I am...

      July 4, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • Carson Thaler

      Exactly... I'm a living testament to the sham and the racket that is the US Judicial System.... I was adopted twice as a child and had to watch helplessly as these same services legally kidnapped my son...

      And that isn't the half of it...

      The US is a sham racket Industrial Complex that is nothing anywhere near the intent that the fore fathers left us... to fulfill. I want out... Love it or leave it? Please show me the door... This God forsaken country is lucky I won't go nuclear on it... It's only a matter of time before they hurt someone that isn't forgiving as I am...

      July 4, 2014 at 10:34 am |
      • Then GTFO

        Then leave the country. We don't need your crummy ati tude – especially not today. We admittedly do not have a perfect country or government here in the USofA, but it's far better than any other on this planet. As you leave, I'm sure immigration would be happy to slam the door on your a$$. I know I would.

        July 4, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • Please Tell

          Please tell us all about how this country is better than all the others. No rhetoric, just facts if you please.

          July 4, 2014 at 11:46 am |
  11. Jason

    If it's generally unhealthy and has you well ob your way to 300 pounds...Then yup, it's definitely an American meal.....

    July 4, 2014 at 9:40 am |
  12. Clinton

    One thing you fail to mention is that the apple used for apple pie, Granny Smith, originated in the back yard of somebody's home in Sydney Australia.

    July 4, 2014 at 9:32 am |
    • Zombiegirl

      Apple pie is most definitely not limited to Granny Smith apples.

      July 4, 2014 at 11:15 am |
  13. Cinco de Mayo baby

    The corn you eat today was formulated in a laboratory. Which makes it American enough. But I ain't gonna eat it.

    July 4, 2014 at 9:03 am |
    • Frances

      There are still local farms in my area that grow corn that is NOT GMO. I can plenty for the winter so I can eat corn that has not been modified.

      July 4, 2014 at 9:31 am |
  14. Cinco de Mayo baby

    "watermelon's introduction to the United States via African slaves"

    Slaves were American enough.

    July 4, 2014 at 8:59 am |
    • Tom

      Seriously, you think they brought watermelon on board?

      July 4, 2014 at 9:10 am |
      • Dallas Cowboy Fan

        Actually,It was OUR famous Coach Tom Landry–He made Tony Dorsett carry one around training camp to keep him from fumbling the football .

        July 4, 2014 at 10:53 am |
  15. kevin flannigan

    I don't care where it all comes from, I just like eating all of it!

    July 4, 2014 at 8:47 am |
    • Cinco de Mayo baby

      If it was brought here by an immigrant then it is now American.

      July 4, 2014 at 8:57 am |
  16. csg

    The "sandwich" itself is a British invention. It was invented by John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, Kent, England as a between meals snack – snacks were simply unheard of back in the day, as three formal full course meals were the norm.

    July 4, 2014 at 7:58 am |
    • Bob

      That's why I eat Sammiches instead. It's all American :D

      July 4, 2014 at 9:21 am |
      • Steve

        Well that's American OK – can't spell anything correctly!! lol

        July 4, 2014 at 10:46 am |
  17. Juergen

    Today is my birthday. The wife is Brazilian and doesn't care to or know how to make deviled eggs. When my daughter asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told her a dozen deviled eggs.

    Later today, she'll bring over the boiled eggs with all the fixin's and give the bride a tutorial on how to make them.

    Happy Birthday to me!!!

    July 4, 2014 at 7:43 am |
  18. Benny Franklin

    Most American summer cuisine is German.

    They have a penchant for cooking dead animals.

    July 4, 2014 at 7:00 am |
    • Harris Wilks

      That is okay; since I have a penchant for eating dead animals. Guess i just never developed the taste for eating animals alive. Must make me German.

      July 4, 2014 at 8:23 am |
  19. SixDegrees

    "That beloved potato salad, too, was the provenance of primarily German immigrants who brought over the endless regional variations that became popular in the U.S. in the latter half of the 19th century. "

    And Europeans had never seen a potato until they were introduced – from the New World.

    You should have closed the circle on that one.

    July 4, 2014 at 6:47 am |
    • JVB

      No contradiction there. The potato was brought over to Europe a couple of hundred years before the major influx of German immigrants into the United States. It was quickly popularized in Europe upon introduction, and the recipes came to the U.S. with the immigrants, even if the potato – just one ingredient in potato salad – originated in the Americas. Circle closed :)

      July 4, 2014 at 8:23 am |
  20. mjh


    July 11, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  21. mjh


    July 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • 4thGuy

      But the prisons ARE full.

      July 4, 2014 at 6:53 am |
    • Stan

      .........or deported to the darkest place in Africa.

      July 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
  22. Amanda Huggekhiss

    FWIW, sweet potatoes were in the Americas before Africans brought yams to the New World.
    They are botanically distinct species, even though the are identical from a culinary standpoint.

    July 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  23. Barry

    I just read today that Cioppino, an Italian stew with seafood, was invented in San Francisco. Native Italians have never heard of it. It was creative US fishermen that created it. But does this article mention that? Nope.
    Seems articles like this are meant to simple undermine American culture, to try to put cracks in its history and try to decline trust in institutions. Thank god for the alternative media, where I don't have to read garbage like this article often.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Pottrick Kettle

      It's not a picnic food. Why would it be mentioned in this article?

      I took the whole thing as a celebration of our varied American culture. Why are you looking for conflict? Knowledge is a good thing.

      July 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Theo

      Most Americans, me included don't eat Cioppino on July 4th, I'm going to go for a burger, medium rare, with bacon & cheese, plus plenty of cold beer.
      Those foods, as well as the immigrants that brought them, are now 100% American, you just sound insecure to me.

      July 4, 2014 at 10:47 am |
    • crittermomagain

      Cioppino is delicious but difficult to make on a grill ... duh.

      July 4, 2014 at 11:10 am |
      • Jerv

        LOL! Okay, you win the Interwebs Comment Award today.

        Great read Kat.

        July 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
  24. Anthony

    Most Americans don't have their origins in America (unless you're native American) so it's no surprise that our foods don't either.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • toty lim

      You are the most logical person in this group exchange. and you certainly know what you are talking about.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:01 am |
  25. Richwood

    Wait, here in Texas the former head of the Texas Board of Education said that people have only been around for a total of 6,000 years. If they were eating watermelon around 6,000BC (actually it is now called BCE) that would be 8,000 years ago. Now you know why Texas is near the bottom of the education scale and Gov Perry cut $4 billion from the education budget to make sure we remain there or drop to last and he wants to be President??????????????????

    July 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Matt

      LMAO! Great... Americans are going to put another Republican Texas Governor in the White House??

      July 5, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • 4thGuy

      Guess Perry is successfully dumbing down Texas and now wants to dumb down the entire USA. Shouldn't be too difficult, people seem to believe anything.

      July 4, 2014 at 6:56 am |
    • scranton

      Even on the fourth you have to vent your bitterness and hate. Quit letting others control your emotions.......it is a sign of weakness.

      July 4, 2014 at 8:13 am |
  26. Joe

    Americans are a mish-mash of all other cultures... yet some of us think we spontaneously came to be and are 'pure' Americans. Everything in America has its roots elsewhere! That's what make America awesome! We are ALL people!

    July 4, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  27. HearYe

    Being that this food article pertains to the US, I propose that America's favorite food is anything with a FAT content greater than 50%.
    Sorry, but your obese country urgently needs a diet plan and a geography lesson to educate 'youall' that you are not the sole country in this world.
    Enjoy your BIG Macs ... the arteries of the rest of us thank you. I believe it's called natural selection.

    July 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • Sarkazein

      Being 6'1", 165lbs., and from Texas no less, I'd like to thank you for pointing out that we are not part of your arrogance, ignorance, incompetence, and stereotyping. It is natural selection that removes those of us that cannot survive not only in the environment around us, but also with those around us.

      You apparently do not want to survive with anyone that disagrees with or disproves you, but are happy to rattle off stereotypes and ill-conceived perceptions without experiencing the reality of it all. It happened hundreds of years ago when we gave native Americans smallpox and they gave us tobacco. If you'd like to continue down that path, be my guest.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • Matt@HearYe

      God must really like dumb folks because he sure made a lot of them. That would be you.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Walter

      Die. Please just die so a better person may have the oxygen. Sincerely, Humanity

      July 4, 2014 at 9:21 am |
  28. bluemax77

    Dumb and arrogant...

    July 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  29. Sarkazein

    Burgers and a few beers. Not crap beer (no Bud, Coors, or Miller Lite). Just good burgers (cook bacon on the second rack of the barbeque and let them drip on the burgers) with common toppings (lettuce, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc.), and a few decent beers (mostly foreign, but not all: Heineken, Blue Moon, Corona, Stella Artois, etc.).

    They have to be light (lager) style beers in the south, but porter/stouts/bocks work in the north to the same effect. Just, for the love of god, not the p1ss-water beers. A flavorful beer makes a big difference. Quality, not quantity.

    July 4, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • Noxious Sunshine

      Corona is crap, imo.. Unless you can find Corona Familiar. Try modelo or pacifico for lighter beer or Victoria for something a bit darker (if it can be found... They dont sell it here in TN)

      July 5, 2011 at 8:07 am |
    • Bob Hope's Ghost

      I love hipsters who spout off "small brewery" beers like people are impressed. if those nasty beers such as Bud, bud light, miller light are not good, why are they continuously the top selling beers? Why do beer makers make them if they are not good sellers?

      July 4, 2014 at 10:02 am |
      • Theo

        Because they are cheap, and cheap sells.

        July 4, 2014 at 10:51 am |
  30. kat

    Ugh - had pimento cheese sandwiches in Missouri recently and vomit would have been preferable. Many wonderful foods in the south, but I don't understand that one at all.

    July 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Excuse Me

      Missouri is not a Southern state that is why you didn't like the pimento cheese because they probably didn't make it right. Try it again when you are actually in the South before you makes such statements against such a glorious thing like pimento cheese.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:19 am |
      • donnaghostbear

        Put pimento cheese on your grilled burger instead of sliced cheese. Good stuff.

        July 4, 2014 at 9:02 am |
  31. Reg

    People been eating something similar to corn cob all over Asia for centuries.

    July 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • donnaghostbear

      Well, corn aka maize, has been eaten my Native Americans since around 2500 B.C.

      July 4, 2014 at 9:05 am |
  32. Demos

    It is delicious and there is nothing like apple pie and ice cream.
    Visit http://www.waycoolcafe.com for mouthwatering desserts like no other. The owner attended college in PA. to study the chemistry of ice cream production.

    July 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • HearYe

      Hope he was able to determine the rodent hair count and fat content in that slop. Check the ingredients – why WOULD you eat something like that\? Death wish?

      July 4, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  33. joesmith

    bbq chicken, ribs, flavourful hotdogs, potato salad,deviled eggs, corn on the cob,grilled peppers, and blackberry cobbler with french vanilla ice cream..oh yes, a tall glass of sweet tea..and to the moderator this 235th..you're nuts..

    July 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  34. joesmith

    bbq chicken, ribs, flavourful hotdogs, potato salad,deviled eggs, corn on the cob,grilled peppers, and blackberry cobbler with french vanilla ice cream..oh yes, a tall glass of sweet tea..

    July 4, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • HearYe

      And Joe: what do you weigh in at?

      July 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
      • Matt


        July 5, 2011 at 8:14 am |
      • Walter

        A fat body is miles better than a fat head, so anybody reading this has you beat cold.

        July 4, 2014 at 9:22 am |
  35. Jimbob

    Most of what people call yams are the native sweet potato, not African yams, although the peanut should be added to foods brought by African slaves. Pineapple upside down cake and guacamole need to be added to the list of all American foods for Independence Day.

    July 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • donnaghostbear

      Uh, no. Peanuts originated in Paraguay almost 8000 years ago and made their way to North America. They were taken to Europe/Africa/Asia by Spanish and Portuguese explorers.

      July 4, 2014 at 9:13 am |
  36. MidWest bred

    Maybe it's midwest only but apples, peaches, pears and blackberry cobbler for the homemade ice cream.

    July 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  37. Anon_e_mouse

    Hmm... methinks that the beer industry must have loaded the balloting for the beverages, because I can't imagine how that ended up as #1 for a picnic. #2 maybe, but considering that most picnics nowadays either involve public parks where such consumption is not permitted and/or the person most likely to consume beer is also the driver (and hence – hopefully – isn't drinking), I sense an artificially skewed result. Iced tea or lemonade would logically be in the number one spot. Now if you're talking a neighborhood cookout, that's a different story.

    And while my personal favorites only made it to the top in the side dish categories, I certainly can see why the other categories stack up like they did.

    July 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Daisy

      It's a poll of "favorites", and not necessarily what is actually most consumed.

      July 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • John Adams

      You don't understand why beer is overwhelmingly #1, and think it's a conspiracy?? You are way WAY too far out of touch with reality.

      July 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • JD

      Many people still drink beer in the public parks. They just hide it in other containers.

      July 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • soso*

      You obviously never had, or have been, in a private backyard! A picnic is enjoyed in a private backyard and not a public park.

      July 4, 2014 at 9:30 am |
  38. Tim

    As American as obesity and diabetes.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • HearYe

      Correct on both counts – natural selection at work

      July 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Sean

      You do not have to be obese to suffer from Diabetes

      July 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
  39. Sarah

    And I must agree with senorblanco–I'm from Texas/Louisiana and pimento cheese sandwiches are clutch!

    July 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  40. Sarah

    Fun article. Just wanted to point out that "elote" simply means corn. The Mexican street food prepared with chile piquin, lime juice, mayonnaise, and cheese is called "esquites."

    July 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Noxious Sunshine

      Yeah but many mexican street vendors still call it 'elote' regardless. Everyonr i know calls it 'elote' as well..

      It's kinda like how both lemons -and- limes are called 'limones'.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  41. dj

    Bananas and peanutbutter sandwich... Fried chicken goes anywhere...

    July 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Jo

      I can't believe fried chicken wasn't even mentioned!

      July 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Jo

      I amend, cold fried chicken.

      July 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Jo

      Happy 4th all!

      July 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  42. MNinGA

    A friend of mine down here (GA) stated a picnic wasn't a picnic without pineapple sandwiches. I think he's right...

    July 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Tom Tersigni

      My favorite appetizer/ snack: Medium size russet baking potato, scrubbed and sliced lengthwise, seasoned with salt and pepper and baked on the top rack of the B-B-Q grille. Start these first, before preparing the main entree, and they will be ready to serve with the start of the main meal–or they can be sampled as snacks prior to the meal.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
      • Humor

        Yum that sound good. I will have to try it instead of the typical baked potato.

        July 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
      • Amy

        Coat the potato skin in olive oil, then sprinkle the salt and pepper. You potato skin will turn out crispy!

        July 4, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  43. senorblanco

    Wow. What about sandwiches for a main dish? If you've lived in the south you have to take either pimento cheese sandwiches or banana sandwiches to a picnic...

    July 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • skittrbrain

      The south of what country? Cuz I've never heard of that, although banana sandwiches sound delicious.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
      • sdrawkcab

        I live in the south & sandwiches are a staple for picnics. Many places you cant have a fire, so you've gotta settle for something out of an ice chest. Sandwiches, chips, cold raw veggies, beer & soft drinks reign. 4th of July in Texas, I'd think brisket on the pit rules. But they got the beer & tater salad right . Regional differences aside, it's the family & friends get together that counts. Whatever your choice of eats.

        July 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
      • Sydney

        You must not have visited the American South, since pimento cheese sandwiches are as much as staple as sweet tea is!

        July 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
      • JD

        I can't stand pimento cheese or sweet tea.

        July 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • amg.kmp


      July 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Bailes

      Or cold fried chicken

      July 26, 2011 at 9:37 am |
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