501 Life Magazine | 'The pursuit of life, liberty and happiness with a picnic'
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'The pursuit of life, liberty and happiness with a picnic'

by Don Bingham

For centuries America has been celebrating July 4th with a picnic!  

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted, marking the beginning of one of America’s treasured holiday celebrations.

The picnic has always been the favored way of bringing family and friends together to celebrate.  The most popular dishes for Independence Day cuisine have included lemonade, sweet tea, barbecue beans, fried chicken, potato salad, apple pie and strawberry shortcake with freezer ice cream.

Listed here are some delightful "tried and true" recipes to help you celebrate July 4th in grand, historic style. The recipes are from a well worn, 1900 edition of “The Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society Cookbook of DeWitt, Arkansas,” organized in 1900, as a part of the Women’s Society of The Methodist Church of DeWitt (Arkansas County).

Hospitality Tea

4 qts. medium strong tea
2 cans lemon juice (3 cups)
1 large can Donald Duck Orange Juice
2 qts. grape juice
3 cups sugar
1 large can pineapple juice.
Ginger ale

Mix juices, tea and sugar syrup together and chill. Pour over ice cubes and add ginger ale when ready to serve. Sliced fruit, cherries or strawberries and mint leaves may be added.  

Serves 100 punch cups.
Cabbage Slaw

5 cups shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon chopped onion
3 tablespoons pimento
1/2 cup whipped cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix cabbage, onion and pimento. Add dressing.

Apricot Ice Cream

1 large can apricots
3 lemons
3 cups sugar
1/2 pint cream

Mix all ingredients and pour into ice cream freezer to fill up to 1 1/2 inches from top and freeze. Strawberries, peaches and pineapple can be used instead of apricots.

Harvard Beets

2 cups diced beets
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix sugar and flour, then add vinegar and water. Cook until thick. Add salt and butter, then beat and reheat. Pour over beets.

Oven Barbequed Chicken

Take four chickens (1 1/2 lbs.) split in half. Sprinkle each with salt, pepper and paprika. Place in oven uncovered and cook at 300 degrees for 2 hours.

Baste often with the following sauce. Add cover and cook one hour longer.


Melt 1 stick oleo
Add 2 tablespoons catsup
Add 1 bottle of A-1 Sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Happy 4th of July picnicking!