As a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, John Adams was one of the fiercest advocates of the Declaration of Independence. Contrary to popular belief, the declaration wasn't signed by all of the delegates on July 4, 1776. Instead, it was initially approved on July 2, 1776. The delegates then continued debating and slightly revised it the following day and formally adopted it on the fourth of July. Most historians agree that the Declaration wasn’t signed by all the delegates (with a few holdouts) until nearly a month later, on August 2, 1776.
July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail in which he described
these momentous events. This is what he wrote:
second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of
America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding
generations as the great anniversary festival...It ought to be solemnized with
pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and
illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time
forward forever more.
will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. -- I am well aware of
the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this
Declaration, and support and defend these States. -- Yet through all the Gloom I
can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more
than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days
Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall
no one knows exactly what the delegates ate on those momentous days, it has been said that Adams was fond of Green Sea Turtle Soup, Indian Pudding and other foods of his New England youth. Gooseberry Fool, a traditional eighteenth century dish, was another Adam's family favorite. As an example of how national food preferences change over time,
gooseberries were abundant in John's day but aren't widely available in the
United States today.
So...if you can't find any gooseberries and don't have your own little patch, you can substitute blueberries or raspberries,
whichever you prefer. Either way, this delicious and refreshingly sweet little
treat would make a great addition to your Fourth of July festivities this week!
If you'd like to whip up a batch, here's a recipe to try from epicurious.com
cups pink or green gooseberries (or blueberries)
cup granulated sugar
cup well-chilled heavy cream
cup crème fraîche
cup superfine granulated sugar
off tops and tails of gooseberries and halve berries lengthwise. In a heavy
skillet cook berries and granulated sugar over moderate heat, stirring
occasionally until liquid is thickened, about 5 minutes. Simmer mixture, mashing
with a fork to a coarse puree, 2 minutes more. Chill puree, covered, until cold,
about 1 hour, and up to 1 day.
a bowl with an electric mixer beat heavy cream with crème fraîche until it holds
soft peaks. Add superfine sugar and beat until mixture just holds stiff peaks.
Fold chilled puree into cream mixture until combined well. Fool may be made 3
hours ahead and chilled, covered.
Declaration of Independence, painting by John Trumball