When I was a kid, it seemed like everybody had some dusty bicentennial knickknack tucked away somewhere-- commemorative plates, coins, kitchen towels. Of course, my favorite bicentennial item is of the cookbook variety.
The New Jersey Heritage Cookbook (1976) shows that the Public Service Electrical and Gas Company in New Jersey thought the celebration would not be complete without some historical Garden State recipes.
The booklet claims that "All our recipes date back to the Colonial era or beyond." It's often pretty easy to believe that the recipes are modernizations of older fare.
The booklet starts with a sunny version of colonial settlers being taught to make a summertime favorite by the local indigenous people.
It even starts with sea water and layers of seaweed. Of course, the original preparation was more laborious than boiling it all on the stove once it was assembled.
And there is no mention that the few surviving descendants of those friendly natives are now mostly in Oklahoma, their involuntary home.
If you're wondering about the illustration's suggestion that the Lenni Lenape also made mounds of salad garnished with hard-cooked eggs to go with their lobster, clam, and corn feasts, the booklet clarifies that "The Dutch, noted for their own hospitality, probably contributed to the feast by bringing Spekkie Slaa."
Apparently, the Dutch have always had a flair for 1970s-style salad presentation.
They also must have had iron constitutions, as they ate a mixture of meats, beef liver, and buckwheat flour cooked together, cooled, sliced, fried, and slathered in syrup for breakfast.
This recipe is illustrated by a guy who eats it just because he feels better knowing his breakfast smells worse than he does.
I'm not entirely convinced that these are all heritage recipes, though.
I'm pretty sure no one served condensed-mushroom-soup-covered frozen asparagus topped with deviled eggs to the founding fathers.
I would also not trust that guy around the chickens. Neither would the hillbilly from The Devil's Rejects. (Warning: That clip is very NSFW.)
Happy Independence Day! Thanks for coming to the only blog that will celebrate freedom with filthy chicken clips featuring Michael Berryman!