No matter how you do it or what you cook, the BBQ or "Barbeque" is a staple of summer fun. This tradition started with the Greeks. There are thousands of contests and events year-round that center around the grill. If you happen to have a time machine, point yourself back to 1769. George Washington wrote about an especially tasty BBQ in June.
American cheese is a blend of Cheddar and Colby that comes individually wrapped and melts easily. Its portable and soft, but some people find it lacking in flavor. For those of you who want a little extra, try sharp Cheddar or, for the very adventurous, Pepper Jack Cheese, a Monterey Jack cheese with chunks of Jalapeno!
A close relative of the tomato and potato, eggplant is a large purple vegetable with a thick texture, much like squash. Many vegetarians prefer to grill eggplant at a BBQ so that they can still enjoy a tasty and healthy meat alternative. The eggplant is very popular in the Mediterranean region because it stands up so well on the grill.
Originally from Hamburg, Germany, the hamburger first came to America in the year 1900. A burger is a beef patty served between two buns. The rest is up to the lucky eater! One favorite topping is cheese, making the dish into a cheeseburger. Add lettuce, tomato, onions, ketchup and mustard. Don't forget the fries!
The first American hot dogs were served on Coney Island in 1870 and at the World's Fair in 1893. While it's usually made from beef and pork, veggie alternatives of the classic dog are popping up. Since hot dogs are sold completely cooked, they are an easy snack to make anytime, especially if you're watching baseball!
Known as "Red Sauce," Ketchup is a favorite burger, hot dog and French fry staple. The usual ingredients in this delicious sauce are ripe tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt and allspice. The first person to make the tomato Ketchup recipe was Mary Randolph in 1824. Her other claim to fame is her well-known cousin, Thomas Jefferson.
Mustard is Ketchup's tougher buddy. It is made from the seeds of the mustard plant and mixed with vinegar, flour and spices. The first mustard, a very spicy variety, was invented by the Romans. Mustard as we know it, either Yellow Mustard or the sweet favorite Honey Dijon, was introduced in the 19th century.
When a vegetable is pickled, it is put into a "brine," or salt and water solution. In North America, pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, okra and olives are the most popular. At BBQ's, pickles are great for putting on burgers or eating whole. You can also put pickle relish, or chopped pickles in a sweet sauce, on your hot dog.
Potato Chips were invented in New York in 1853. The original potato chip was salted for extra flavor, but now chips are a multi-billion dollar industry with new flavors like nacho cheese, BBQ and salt and vinegar. If the summer heat is getting you down, try a trick popular in Canada: freeze your chips and eat them cold!
Typically, a traditional potato salad will include a mayonnaise base, tomatoes, onions, mustard, bacon and herbs. Every cook has their own version. There is a worldwide debate on how potato salad should be served. In some parts of Germany, potato salad is served warm. In America it is either served cold or at room temperature.
The real BBQ experts go for the ribs first. The meat in rib dishes is either pork or beef, and a group of three or more individual ribs is called a "rack." The best part of eating ribs, besides the taste, is ripping them apart and getting messy. Most BBQ restaurants actually provide diners with their own bibs!
Whether you call it "pop," "soda," "soda pop" or "coke," you're talking about the sweet drink with "carbonation," or bubbles. Sodas are pumped full of gas at high pressure and put into a can. The gas goes crazy when the can is opened, making fizzy bubbles. Unfortunately, soda goes flat very quickly.
Recently, people have started eating healthier and getting away from burgers. Turkeyburgers are a common alternative, and so are Veggieburgers. These patties have the same texture as their meat competitors, but they're actually made of grains, beans and other veggies. Take a taste and see if you can spot the difference.