We all know that July is the home of Independence Day in America, one of the biggest days of the year for grilling out with friends (and one of the biggest days for firework-related injuries). While hot dogs and hamburgers may be the unofficial food of the Fourth, the rest of the month is filled with days dedicated to certain foods. In the American spirit of ingenuity, this month is also filled with days that can use leftovers from previous holidays.
To start the month off with a sweet tooth, July 1st is both Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day and National Gingersnap Day. If you want to knock both out with one pint, Ben & Jerry’s sold a limited batch of Gingersnap ice cream, “brown sugar cinnamon ice cream with gingersnap cookies & a ginger caramel swirl.” It might be out of production, but it is ice cream, so you might find a safe pint in the back freezer somewhere.
Chances are you’ll be having Beans the following day, but this day encourages all to eat more beans. We’ll leave all the crass jokes to your imagination here, and just say that beans are high in fiber and a great thing for your diet.
You may be chowing down on pounds of meat, whether it be barbecue, hot dogs, fried chicken, ribs, or hamburgers, but for a relatively lighter option, you may decide to celebrate Caeser Salad Day. Caeser salads are great for a hot summer day, with cool and crisp lettuce topped by parmesean cheese and fresh-baked croutons, and then drenched with an unhealthy amount of caeser salad dressing. Why would Caeser Salad Day occur on the Fourth of July, when it’s decidedly not part of Independence Day meals (as Homer Simpsons once chanted, “you don’t win friends with salad”)? Caeser Cardini, the titular creator of the dish, crafted it on that day in 1924 when he ran out of everything in his kitchen but the traditional ingredients.
Do you still have some leftover fried chicken from the fourth? Make sure to bring it out on National Fried Chicken Day. It may be two days old from the fridge, but as any college student will tell you, it’s still good. Japan might even love fried chicken more than America, given the attention (and outfits) that Colonel Sanders recieves.
Stock up on vanilla ice cream this month, as you’ll be using it throughout. Toss some vanilla ice cream (or if you want to go all out, strawberry ice cream), coat it with fresh strawberries and strawberry sauce, and enjoy during the hot summer months.
If you’re in the south, you should know how amazing Pecan Pie can be, no matter how you pronounce it. Whether the traditional recipe, a chocolate variation, or even the bourbon style, most people like to scoop a little bit of whipped cream on the top, but during the middle of July, a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream can make the pie just that much more inviting. For those located in Georgia, the greatest pecan producer in the world, this is a great use of the delicious snack food. If you have a few extra pecans lying around, keep them in your pocket like George Washington is rumored to have.
Did you stock up on beans for Eat Beans Day? What about hot dogs for Independence Day? Go ahead and combine the two for Beans ‘n’ Franks Day. It may not be the classiest meal, but great food doesn’t have to be classy. You could cook the beans yourself in a beanpot, and toss in some higher quality kosher franks versus the traditional bulk hot dog fare. Combine it with National French Fries Day, and you have a meal fit for a pauper that a prince may crave.
Any Georgia peach could tell you that Peach Ice Cream is delicious, and making it yourself is even better. While you can follow the traditional recipe and make it from scratch by effectively just adding peaches to the mixture, the quick and dirty way would be to take vanilla ice cream (that you stocked up on, right?) and chop up the fruit in it. It may be a chunkier style, but it adds a nice mixture of textures, especially if you include chopped pecans as a topping. You do have some pecans left over from National Pecan Pie Day, right?
July 20th seems to be a day dedicated to sweets, with National Lollipop Day, Ice Cream Soda Day, and Fortune Cookie Day all falling in line with one another. Treat yourself to a lollipop, add a scoop of ice cream to your soft drink, and bring out those fortune cookies from the last time you ordered Chinese take-out. Just don’t combine them all in one dish, as nobody wants to pull lottery numbers out of a soft drink stirred with a lollipop stick. If you really want to celebrate the fortune cookie, go ahead and get one marketed as “bigger than a baby’s head.” It may or may not include an entire book instead of one fortune.
You stocked up on vanilla ice cream just for Vanilla Ice Cream Day (and all the other days that use it). Go all out, and enjoy it by itself, or with any number of toppings. If you want to break out of the mold, go for some liquid-nitrogen blasted ice cream, such as Dippin’ Dots. Be careful if you’re making it yourself.
The English traditionally enjoy oysters on this religious holiday, following the adage of “whoever eats oysters on St. James’s day will never want money!”, akin to the American tradition of eating greens on New Years Day for financial success. France celebrates the day with “Coquilles St. Jacques“, or the “shells of St. James”, a scallop dish named for the saint.
National Hot Fudge Sundae is this day as well, so go to your month-long supply of ice cream, coat that in hot fudge, and enjoy. If you’ve got $25,000, to spend, you can get the most expensive desert ever. It mgiht freeze your tastebuds and your assets. If you want to celebrate both days, don’t fear the combination of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, oysters, and scallops in your stomach. If it could survive french fries, franks, and beans, you’re on your way to an iron stomach.
Tempted to get a little adventurous with fire in the kitchen? Try making Crème Brulee, a relatively simple desert that only requires heavy cream, vanilla bean, vanilla sugar, eggs, and water. While the recipe is rather simple, the fun part comes when you make the caramel on top; coating the mixture with sugar, you could play it safe and put it under a broiler, or you could have fun with a small blowtorch and set the sugar aflame.
Be careful not to celebrate both National Scotch Day and National Crème Brulee Day; playing with flamethrowers while inebriated is never a good idea. They probably needed both ingredients to craft the Guiness World Record for largest crème brulee: weighing in at almost 1,600 pounds, you’d have to have some scotch to attempt such a feat.
Are you a fan of cheese? Shed a silent tear for your fallen comrade, and place some cheese on your Mousetraps this day. While mice may love cheese, they will not love what happens soon after.
You may have had enough of beans earlier in the month, but now you can enjoy the completely different variety. Ronald Reagan’s favorite snack was Jelly Beans, leading to a Blueberry flavor being crafted for his inauguration, alongside a special holder for Air Force One as to not spill Jelly Belly beans.