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10 Red, White, and Blue Treats for Independence Day

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Any holiday means special food, and since the Fourth of July isn't a "candy holiday," we need to make up for it with ice cream, fresh fruit, and other delightful dishes! Here are 10 delicious ways to spice up recipes by giving them the colors of the American flag.

1. LAYERED PATRIOTIC PUNCH

The secret to layering this potent punch is two different colors of Gatorade, keeping the lighter, sugar-free version on top. The heaviest layer of pina colada is on the bottom. Be sure to take a picture, because they will be consumed posthaste. The recipe is at Rolling Out.

2. PATRIOTIC POPS

It looks like a homemade version of Bomb Pops! The red and blue are frozen drinks, and the white is a delicious combination of yogurt and whipped topping. Each is frozen in a small disposable cup. You'll find complete instructions at Spoonful.

3. FOURTH OF JULY STRAWBERRIES

Strawberries are already red and ripe for July 4th, but it's easy to take them all the way into flag territory. These were dipped in melted white chocolate, then in colored sugar. See the instructions at The Sisters Cafe.

4. BACON FLAG PIZZA

What food could be more American than bacon and pizza? Maybe potatoes, but this pizza has them, too, in the form of purple potatoes that cook to a nice blue. Add cheese for the white stripes, and you have a pizza with an American flag on it! See how it's done at Rock UR Party.

5. FLAG FRUIT PIZZA

Oh, the title may say pizza, but this is made with cookie dough and fruit, so slice it up for a sweet treat! On top of the cookie, there's a "pizza sauce" made with cream cheese and whipped topping, then lovingly layered bananas, strawberries, and blueberries to make the flag. Made by Sabby in Suburbia, where you'll find complete instructions.

6. PATRIOTIC ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Cool off with an ice cream treat in style! You can use ice cream sandwiches from the grocery and roll the edges in red, white, and blue sprinkles, but they're even more impressive made from home-baked chocolate chip cookies. Slip a slab of ice cream between two cookies, add sprinkles, and these will be eaten before they melt. Get instructions at Jimmy Choos on the Treadmill.

7. RED, WHITE, AND BLUE PASTRIES

Using Puff Pastry is a shortcut that saves a lot of time in making these patriotic pastries, which are stuffed with berry jam and topped with cream cheese filling and raspberries and blueberries. Yum! The top opening is a star shape, which leaves you star pastry to make into extra treats. See the whole process illustrated at Recipe Girl.

8. FIRECRACKER CAKELETTES

Why anyone would ever want to ingest Pop Rocks is beyond me, but they weren't a part of my childhood, so what do I know? For these edible firecrackers, you stack red, white, and blue cake rings on top of each other, glued with frosting. Then "load" them with Pop Rocks and add a licorice fuse. Great for a kid's party! Find the complete instructions at She Knows.

9. RED, WHITE, AND BLUE SANGRIA

This fruit-filled wine cooler is made of white wine and berry-flavored vodka, with a few other ingredients for flavor and visual appeal. Add blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and pineapplee cut into star shapes for an impressive refreshment! Recipe Girl has the rest of the recipe.

10. THE TROJAN CAKE

This is what happens when adjacent countries have their patriotic holidays so close together on the calendar. Just like the Trojan Horse, this gift of a Canada Day cake came with a surprise inside. Canadian recipient and redditor TruthGoliath posted the deception. Of course, it was all in fun, and you can make a cake like this with directions from Betty Crocker. The lovely frosting job is not included with the recipe.

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The Secret Ingredient That Makes LaCroix Water So Irresistible
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LaCroix

The distinctive Technicolor cans of LaCroix sparkling water are an increasingly popular sight in stores and on kitchen tables around the country. (If you're old enough to remember the Snapple phenomenon of the 1990s, this is like that—just bubbly.) But as The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, few of the beverage's loyal fans have any idea what it is they're drinking.

LaCroix comes in a variety of flavors, from tangerine to coconut. The can label, however, is cryptic, listing "natural flavors" as part of the ingredients. Their website discloses only that "natural essence oils" are involved, which sounds like LaCroix should be applied to your hair and then rinsed off.

A look at the nutritional information for LaCroix water
LaCroix

As it turns out, that's not too far off. According to The Wall Street Journal, these "essences" are naturally produced chemicals that are manufactured by heating up fruit or vegetable remnants until they make a vapor, then condensing them into a clear concentrate. They're used in a variety of consumer products, from shampoos to ice pops.

LaCroix was unwilling to confirm the Journal's claim, protecting their manufacturing process in a manner similar to Coca-Cola's famously secretive treatment of their recipe. They do state that no sugars are added, but that may not be enough to protect your teeth: Carbonated water and citric acids can combine to create a lower pH, which has a detrimental effect on tooth enamel. Like most everything that tastes good, these flavored waters are best enjoyed in moderation.

[h/t The Wall Street Journal]

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In 1938, The New York Times Thought Cheeseburgers Were a Weird New Fad
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People love to make fun of The New York Times's trend section: Their umpteen pieces on the Millennial craze have been called "hate-reads," and their dissection of cultural norms such as oversharing, defriending people in real life, and chopped salad at lunch as "trends" can be hilarious and infuriatingly obvious.

But while their pieces aren't always exactly timely, they will certainly make for interesting reads in a few decades—just like this throwback piece on a California fad called "cheeseburgers" from 1938.

When "cheeseburger" was first mentioned in the October 1938 article, it was in a long list about the "whimsy" of California eateries. Then, nine years later in May 1947, the Times revisited the fad, writing, "At first, the combination of beef with cheese and tomatoes, which sometimes are used, may seem bizarre." Fortunately, their intrepid reporter could see the bigger picture. "If you reflect a bit, you’ll understand the combination is sound gastronomically."

Now, 70 years later, you can not only ask for gourmet cheeses like brie, goat, or gorgonzola on your burger—or spend upwards of $300 on one—there are multiple burger chains where you can order stacks on stacks on stacks of cheeseburger patties. That weird little West Coast fad has become a multibillion dollar industry, and cheeseburgers are practically our national food (arguably in hot contention with apple pie). Congratulations, America! We did it!

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