Celebrate Independence Day by eating whatever you want

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(Thomas Abbs/Flickr)

(Thomas Abbs/Flickr)

Two hundred and forty years ago, our founding fathers declared our independence from Great Britain.

They did not celebrate with hot dogs, and you don’t have to, either.

The meat-scrap cylinders that have become all but synonymous with the Fourth of July wouldn’t exist as we know them for another 90 years.

According to a real thing called The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, “One report says a German immigrant sold them, along with milk rolls and sauerkraut, from a push cart in New York City’s Bowery during the 1860’s. In 1871, Charles Feltman, a German butcher, opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand, selling 3,684 dachshund sausages in a milk roll during his first year in business.”

Even our biggest cultural connection between hot dogs and Independence Day is bogus. A story from the Associated Press yesterday revealed that the history of the annual Nathan’s hot dog eating contest is rooted in marketing lies:

“Showmen … have long claimed the tradition began in 1916 as a showdown between patriotic immigrants on the Coney Island boardwalk. That would make this Monday’s contest a centennial, except for an inconvenient truth: The contest and its backstory were invented in the 1970s by PR men trying to get more attention for Nathan’s, which had just become a publicly traded company.”

This is all just a detailed way to say: Celebrate America by eating whatever the hell you want.

Tacos? We got ’em.

Korean barbecue? Go for it.

Chow down on some sushi, if you’re feeling fishy.

You can gorge on ChineseItalian, Ethiopian, Indian or French food.

No British food today. Don’t be a red-coat jerk.

We are a nation of immigrants, and some of us know how to cook.

But, hey, hot dogs are pretty great. Grill ’em up if that’s what you want. You’re free.

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