By Annette Gooch
Universal Press Syndicate
Food, drink and fireworks have been central to Fourth of July commemorations ever since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. About 230 years later, Americans still love celebrating Independence Day with fireworks and foods that point to the nation’s culinary and cultural heritage.
Reflecting a blend of European and regional American influences, the accompanying recipes for grilled sausages, potato salad and coleslaw are straight out of the Midwest.
To complete this traditional picnic menu, offer steamed or grilled sweet corn on the cob and ice-cold lemonade, soft drinks and beer. And before or after the fireworks, serve fresh strawberries and ice cream or cake for dessert.

Success tips
Kielbasa, a Polish word for sausage, is usually smoked and semidry, highly seasoned with garlic, pepper, paprika and herbs. Most domestic kielbasa is made from pork, but sometimes includes beef or veal. Most often, kielbasa is sold as long, thick links weighing a pound or more; smaller links are sometimes available. A popular German-style sausage is bratwurst, usually made of pork and sometimes also veal, and often served with sauerkraut. Fresh (uncured or uncooked) bratwurst must be boiled or simmered; however, precooked “brats” also benefit from being simmered in beer before being grilled or pan-fried.
To reduce the risk of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes and other harmful organisms in processed meats (including precooked ones) such as sausages, hot dogs and frankfurters, thoroughly cook or reheat the meat until the interior is steaming hot.