Fourth of July, aka summer Thanksgiving, is upon us! Whether you enjoy making homemade ice cream or bringing a store-bought apple pie to the function, Fourth of July is chock-full of food traditions.

We at Spoon are all about exploring our food traditions, some old and some new. Here are some of our favorite ones that are sure to get your mouth watering:

Izzie Ramirez, Managing Editor, Spoon University

My family isn't super huge on Fourth of July. A lot of that has to do with the fact that a) my parents are divorced and b) my dad's Mexican and my mom is Puerto Rican — but that doesn't mean I don't know how to have a good time. I spent most of my formative years in Texas, where cookouts by the pool were the standard. My best friend's family indoctrinated me to the world of mac n’ cheese, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers, and chips and guac. And, let me say, WOW! The creaminess of the mac, the heat from the cheese-filled jalapeño poppers, and the mellow tartness from the guac was absolutely mind-blowing to me as a teen. Those Tex-Mex traditions have stuck with me ever since.

Now — as a full-fledged adult, if I can call myself that (lol) — I'm heading to my first Fourth of July gathering with my boyfriend's parents. They're hardcore New Yorkers, so no one has ever brought them a styrofoam plate of juicy jalapeño poppers! I'm so excited, especially since I'll be able to cook in their big kitchen versus my tiny Brooklyn one.

Julianne Skrivan, Campus Marketing and Community Manager, Her Campus Media

I grew up with parents who lived and breathed outdoor adventures. A three-day weekend meant we were packing up the van and hitting the road so my parents could climb while my sister and I played Barbies at the base of the mountain. The Fourth of July was no exception, but was complete with flavors bursting like the fireworks over whatever lake my parents dragged my sister and me to see that year.

Juicy watermelon, fresh corn on the cob, thick burgers and hot dogs cooked over a campfire topped with ketchup were the pinnacle of our celebration--mixed with a few mosquito bites and the smell of smoke lingering in our hair. For dessert, my mom would bring cupcakes with sugary, red, white and blue frosting, usually complete with a plastic ring for decoration, which we would wear with pride, and of course, gooey, rich s’mores. Now, my parents keep those same foods but opt to grill at their Utah home instead of at a campsite, swapping out s’mores for a strawberry and blueberry pie and instead of chalk-covered climbing, we run barefoot in the lawn with the dogs.

Tianna Soto, Associate Editor, Her Campus Media

I come from a mixed Puerto Rican, Jamaican, and Chinese family who currently lives in the South. So whenever we celebrate the Fourth of July, we take a break from our typical mix of cuisines and opt for classic “American” staples — plus time in the sun, music blasting, usually playing games or watching sports with neighbors.

In the past, we’ve celebrated July 4th with refreshing drinks (my dad makes great mojitos), burgers and hot dogs on the grill, potato salad, pasta salad, chips and every salty snack imaginable, and Hawaiian rolls (IYKYK). Also, no Southern tradition is complete without creamy mac n’ cheese. That is a must.

One year we had international friends visiting, and they wanted to make an American flag cake, so we created one with a Funfetti base, vanilla whipped cream, and strawberries and blueberries to make each stripe. This is definitely the only time I’ve ever made a cake with an American flag on it, but it was 100% delicious.

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