Four Foods to Avoid on the Fourth (And What to Make Instead)

fourth_of_july_barbecue.jpg
Photo by Warren B.
Potluck time!

Fourth of July is a time for celebration, fireworks, beer and lots of cookouts. Burgers, chips, ribs, potato salad -- they're essentials to any cookout, but you might want to rethink your menu.

Is everything you're making going to be good? Will people actually want to eat it? Or are you just making it out of habit. You don't want to put your guests to sleep, so here are four foods to avoid on the Fourth. Trust me on this one.

1. Mayo-based anything

potato_salad_fourth_of_july.jpg
Photo by Katrin Morenz
Gross.

If anything you're planning to buy is called this, ______ salad with mayo, don't do it. Many store-made potato and macaroni salads are covered with mayonnaise, and it's just plain unpleasant. You can't taste any of the other ingredients because the thick egg and oil combo coats your entire mouth entirely. Eugh.

Not to mention that sitting out in the sun all day probably isn't going to keep mayo salad with bits of egg and tuna its freshest. No one wants to remember your party as the one they got food poisoning at.

Try this instead:

clean_potato_salad.jpg
Bon Appétit
Now that looks good.

There are a lot of great potato and pasta salad recipes that don't call for mayo. They'll taste as good, if not better than a mayo-based salad (being able to taste your ingredients does that. Oh and they're normally a little healthier. Try this one from Bon Appétit. It's one of my all-time favorite recipes.

2. Frozen hamburgers (Let it go)

frozen_hamburger.jpg
Photo by Stuart Spivack
Don't your guests deserve better?

Frozen hamburgers are timesavers but lack flavor and texture. They may seem like a good idea at the time, but with a little bit of preparation, you can make bomb burger pretty easily. Your guests deserve better than frozen meat.

Try this instead:

juicy_lucy.jpg
Photo by Michael Salazar
No, they deserve this

This may be my biggest argument for pro fresh burgers: You can't stuff frozen ones. There are other benefits too: You have complete control over what they'll be, and they'll be juicer and tastier. Just think, you can give someone the best burger of his or her life. This might be a good recipe to start with.

3. Premade drinks

bottle_ice_tea.jpg
Photo by Joe Shlabotnik
Just leave 'em there

It's the little things that count sometimes. Premade lemonade and teas are one of those things you can easily overlook. You may not even think it matters, but once you have real lemonade and tea to compare, you won't want to go back.

Try this instead:

homemade_ice_tea.jpg
Photo by Mighty June
Come on guys, it's not that hard

Make some lemonade and sweet tea the night before to save you time the day of, and so they'll be completely chilled. It's a small thing that'll make a big difference, not to mention store tea has way too much sugar.

4. Red, white and blue jello, or anything gross like that

america_jello.jpg
Photo by Steven Depolo
Eye roll of disdain

Seriously though, who would choose Jell-O as their first choice for dessert? Anyway, there are a lot of red, white and blue desserts to choose from, but they don't taste that great. Yeah, they're fun to look at, but often times they fall short on taste.

Don't think you've dodged me, store-bought patriotic cupcakes, I'm looking at you, too.

Try this instead:

Make a dessert your guests will really love and keep them cool at the same time. If you're not familiar with icebox cakes, become best friends right now. It's essentially a tower of deliciousness (whipped cream and cookies). Yup, you need it in your life.

Bonus note: Detailed food decorations

america_cake.jpg
Photo by M
Seriously though, this is probably enough

Do yourself a favor and don't spend an hour arranging M&M's to look like the American flag. It's just not worth it. People are most likely too drunk to appreciate all your hard work. Also, that cake is going to be just as delicious without them.

Anyway, happy eating!

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6 comments
fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

I also don't appreciate the implication that I'm some kind of uncultured rube because I like potato salad with lots of mayonnaise, bottled drinks and jello. :-P

scottyall24
scottyall24

WHO GIVES A SHIT

you picky fucking writer

Gabe Tristan
Gabe Tristan

Freddy Rodriguez, its time you graduate basic bbq 101. Your doing work this weekend to earn your stripes! Biava Arganda......Enjoy!

jmcguinness
jmcguinness

The potatoes in potato salad are much more likely to cause sickness than mayo.

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

I just love being told what to serve at a party celebrating our country's independence! 

Oh, the delicious irony...

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