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.

The Disputed Origins of Publix’s Chicken Tender Subs

Josh Hallett, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Josh Hallett, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

After Popeyes released its new chicken sandwich last week, a heated battle broke out on Twitter over which fast food chain offers the best one. Favorites included Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, and KFC, but the Publix chicken tender sub was mostly absent from the dialogue. Maybe it’s because Publix is a supermarket rather than a fast food restaurant, or maybe the southern chain is too specific to Florida and its neighboring states to warrant a national ranking.

Either way, the chicken tender sub is a cult culinary classic among Publix customers—there’s even an independently run website devoted to announcing when the subs are on sale (they aren’t right now), and affiliated Facebook and Twitter accounts with tens of thousands of followers. So whom do sub devotees have to thank for inventing the Publix food mashup from heaven? A Facebook user named Dave Charls says, “Me!,” but Publix begs to differ.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that in May of this year, a man named Dave Charls posted a message on the “Are Publix Chicken Tender Subs On Sale?” Facebook page recounting his origin story for the menu item, which allegedly took place in 1997 or 1998. At Charls explains it, he and his co-worker Kevin convinced their friend Philip, a deli worker at the Fleming Island Publix location, to assemble a sub with chicken tenders and ring it up as one item—something that deli workers had refused to do for Dave and Kevin in the past. According to Dave, Philip then convinced his manager to make it a special, publicized it via chalkboard sign, and the idea spread like hot sauce.

“You’re welcome,” Charls said. “It was actually Kevin’s idea and Philip brought it to life.”

Publix, however, told the Tampa Bay Times that its recorded documentation for a chicken tender sub recipe and procedure goes all the way back to 1992 or 1993. Based on that information, Publix spokesperson Brian West confirmed that Charls's heroic account of the origin is more fairytale than fact (though West, unfortunately, doesn’t have an equally thrilling origin story—or any story at all—with which to replace it).

Charls didn’t respond to a request from the Tampa Bay Times for comment, so we may never know how much of his claim is actually true. It’s possible, of course, that Publix’s 1992 (or 1993) chicken tender sub recipe hadn’t gained momentum by the time Kevin’s moment of culinary genius struck in 1997 (or 1998), and the lack of date specificity suggests that neither party knows exactly how it went down. What is incontrovertible, however, is the deliciousness of Publix's beloved sub sandwich.

"I'm just happy to live in the same timeline as this beautiful sandwich," says die-hard Pub Sub fan (and Mental Floss video producer/editor) Justin Dodd. “Copyright claims aside, it's truly a wonderful thing."

This London Pub Might Be the Most Ethical Bar in the World

Ridofranz/Getty Images
Ridofranz/Getty Images

Pub owner Randy Rampersad is doing his part for sustainability. In June, he opened the Green Vic—a play on the fictional Queen Vic pub in the soap opera EastEnders—in the East London neighborhood of Shoreditch. The Telegraph reports it’s aiming to be the world’s most ethical pub: Rampersad eschews plastic and paper straws and opts for gluten-free wheat “straws.” He sources the bar's 100 percent recycled toilet paper from green-minded company Who Gives a Crap, and the communal wooden tables are upcycled.

“I wanted to make the world a better place and run my own business, but I was waiting for that eureka moment,” Rampersad told The Telegraph. He discovered no one had done anything like this before.

There’s no meat on the menu—the food is totally vegan, healthy-ish pub grub. You can add CBD oil to the “chkn" bites appetizer, and the burgers are made from ingredients like soy, seaweed, and sweet potato. The beers are produced by ethical brewers, too: Toast Ale uses unsold loaves and crusts of bread; Good Things Brewing crafts its beer from 100 percent renewable energy; South Africa’s Afro Vegan Cider donates money to an organization that funds equal pay for female farmers; and Brewgooder donates to water projects.

In fact, everything the Green Vic does has charity in mind. “We don't care about the money, I’m planet first and profit after,” Rampersad told The Telegraph. Up to 80 percent of its profits will go to charitable causes, including local food banks. As for the staff, one in four are from marginalized groups. The Green Vic plans to operate as a three-month pop-up pub while scouting for longer term investment.

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