- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 3, 2014

The grill beckons most Americans on Friday, as does the potato salad and strawberry shortcake. But consider how Americans feasted on the Fourth of July in centuries past — like founding father John Adams, for instance.

“Adams and his wife, Abigail, on July 4, 1776, ate turtle soup, New England poached salmon with egg sauce, green peas, boiled new potatoes in the jacket and Indian pudding, which would have been made with corn meal, or apple pan dowdy, which is like an apple cobbler. Fourth of July foods have changed with the times,” says Jane Marshall, a Kansas State University culinary historian who declares it’s “un-American” not to celebrate the day with food.

“The first Independence Days were to celebrate our nation’s independence. In 1804, Merriweather Lewis and William Clark reportedly had the first Fourth of July celebration west of the Mississippi,” Ms. Marshall adds. “Even wagon trains heading west were known to stop for the day to celebrate, sometimes baking cakes while on the trail. Now it seems people use the day to show off their patriotism.”

And a footnote. A passage from a Lewis and Clark journal indicates that the explorers — passing through what would become Kansas — issued members of their party an “extra gill of whiskey,” fired off a swivel cannon and named a nearby river “Independence Creek” in celebration of the day.


“We camped in the plains, one of the most beautiful places I ever saw in my life,” one of the men wrote, according to University of Nebraska historical records.

AL GORE CAN ‘MESS WITH THE CLINTONS’ HEADS’

The list of possible Democratic presidential hopefuls grows by one as Independence Day weekend gets underway. Al Gore, now 66 and a Prius-driving millionaire vegan, has made declarations only about climate change of late. But he has also been added to the list of those who could impinge on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s somewhat sacred territory when the time comes for the Democratic Party to get its 2016 act together.

“I don’t know that Al Gore will run against her. But I do know that of all the other people who’ve talked about running against her, I don’t think anybody has his strengths. And I think Al Gore would like to be president. And I think that if he decided to do it, it would be a matchup worth running,” Mark Halperin, political analyst for Time magazine and MSNBC, said in an appearance on the network Thursday.

“I think he’s got a better chance of beating her in a primary, today, than any Republican does in the general election,” Mr. Halperin continued. “There is a vacuum. Gore is more of a populist than she is. He is more liberal than she is on a lot of issues important to the party.”

And for good measure, Mr. Halperin also tweeted this about Mr. Gore: “He knows how to mess with the Clintons’ heads & he understands the media. Plus, he’s unbound, unplugged & won the national popular vote.”

Uh-oh. Unbound and unplugged. Mr. Gore, who has never declared officially that he won’t run, now joins a growing roster of potential Democratic hopefuls that has come to include Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

AND THE LIBERTARIANS’ DECLARATION

“On Independence Day, the Libertarian Party calls on American voters to declare independence from the Republican and Democratic parties, declares Nicholas Sarwark, the newly elected chairman of the Libertarian Party.

“The Republicans and Democrats have maintained their power partly by fostering the illusion that they are significantly different from each other. Supporters are told that if the other team gets elected, the world will end. In reality, the Republicans and Democrats are so similar that it doesn’t matter which of them are in power,” he notes.

PATRIOTISM: IT’S COMPLICATED

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