According to legend, on July 4, 1776, John Adams — who fought for independence and eventually because the second President of the United States — John Adams and his wife, Abigail, sat down for a celebratory meal of turtle soup, New England poached salmon with egg sauce, green peas, and boiled new potatoes in jackets. They followed the meal with Indian pudding or Apple Pandowdy. Although turtle soup isn't seen much above the Mason-Dixon line these days, it was once a summertime specialty. The same way we excitedly fire up our grills at the first sign of warm weather, early Americans got their turtle-catching nets ready and headed down to the turtle pond.
Sarah Lohman, a historical Gastronomist who wrote a piece on the historical meal for Edible Queens, writes that while John and Abigail's letters actually put them in two separate cities on that date, "this meal was traditional New England fare, likely served by the neighbors of the Adams." But to this day the historical menu, first published in The American Heritage Cookbook, is attributed to the Adams and is an accurate reflection of an early American celebratory meal.
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turtle soup for the fourth?, no bbq's? no way!
As I get older and think about health more and more, my diet has changed from the traditional to the healthier side of eating. Whereas, I could not bring myself to eat a turtle, since I raise them as pets... I applaud you for bringing this question. I think it is important to remember how our ancestors once lived and ate. Thank you.
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