Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Today is the celebration in the United States of America of the signing, by the Founding Fathers, of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, 236 years ago.

One thing you may not know, or care to know, is that it is also the birthday of my Great Grandfather Leachman (4 Jul 1776- 29 Oct 1838).

If my research is accurate, which is definitely a big IF, he was my 3rd Great Grandfather on my father's side.

He was not only born on the 4th of July, he was born on the 4th of July 1776…the birthday of the United States of America.

His father was a Revolutionary Patriot whose service was furnishing beef to the troops in Virginia.

On the day of Grandfather Leachman’s birth, the Founding Fathers were signing the document that established the United States of America.

It was a big day for the Leachman family in 1776.

What food would they have been having to celebrate in 1776? Turtle soup was a favorite.

In 2012, hot dogs are being grilled all over America. Hamburgers, potato chips, watermelon, potato salad, corn on the cob, and homemade ice cream are also likely to make an appearance in parks and backyards today.

When my grandparents and their friends were all dressed up in 1907, what food would have been served for their 4th of July celebration?

If I close my eyes and put myself back on my great-grandparents' farm in Illinois I can almost smell the food cooking as I walk in the front door. There would be platters full of crispy golden brown fried chicken, potato salad heaped in a big crock, homemade bread and butter pickles, stacks of roasting ears dripping with melted butter, fresh green beans steamed with bacon and onion, sliced big red juicy fresh tomatoes, a perfect apple pie and cherry pie fresh out of the oven cooling on the sideboard, and, of course, a pear tart. Their business at their home was a pear orchard called the Bird Hill Fruit Farm where "a specialty is made of growing fine pears".

The biggest difference between then and now would have been the white linen tablecloths and napkins, the silver flatware and silver serving pieces and the formal place settings with china and crystal.

July 4, 1923 at the same farm was more casual (no hats). It was the occasion of a family reunion. Know anyone?

Then, in 1955, the family gathered to dine and celebrate at the Bird Hill Fruit Farm once again. This time they were dining "al fresco". The women were still wearing dresses but now they wore sundresses. No more linens, silver, china and crystal at this picnic. Aluminum had been invented.

Today, July 4, 2012, I made red chile, beans and rice. It had nothing to do with it being the 4th of July. We woke up and it was cloudy today. That was a welcome change and it seemed like a good day for some comfort food.

I hope you had a splendid 4th and can enjoy the fireworks tonight.

The 4th of July has been a big day in the USA every year for 236 years.


No comments:

Post a Comment