President Obama President Barack Obama prepares to eat as he visits the Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans February 7, 2008. Photo: REUTERS

What better way to celebrate our nation’s 238th birthday than serving four well-known patriotic dishes this Fourth of July? Direct from government sites and historic documents, this roundup of authentic dishes, including Senate Bean Soup, Senator’s Favorite Crab Cakes, Presidential Mac & Cheese and White House Cookies, is sure to be a hit at any Independence Day celebration. 

Without further ado, here are the recipes for four easy-to-make, patriotic menu ideas for this July Fourth:


It might be July, but if you want your Fourth of July celebration menu to follow tradition, you might want to consider cooking up some Senate Bean Soup. According to the United States Senate, this hearty concoction, which includes beans, ham (and sometimes even mashed potatoes!) has been a specialty in the Senate’s restaurant since the early 20th century after first being requested by Senator Fred Dubois of Idaho.

To make Senate Bean Soup, you will need: 2 pounds of dried navy beans, four quarts of hot water, 1 ½ pounds of smoked ham hocks, 1 onion, 2 tablespoons of butter and, if desired, salt and pepper. (Recipe serves 8.)

Place the navy beans (washed until white) and the ham hocks into a pot with four quarts of hot water.  Let the proteins simmer for three hours, stirring occasionally. After the time is up, remove the ham hocks and set aside to cool before dicing the meat and returning it into the soup. Next, chop up your onion and lightly brown the pieces in butter before adding it to the soup. Allow the mixture to boil, and add salt and pepper to taste before serving. 


What's a good-ole American meal without a little New England shellfish? 

Following the recipe of U.S. Senator for Maryland, Barbara A. Mikulski, you will need: 1 pound of jumbo lump or backfin crabmeat, 2 slices of white bread, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of Old Bay or Wye River seasonings, 1 egg and, if you’re so inclined, cocktail or tartar sauce. (Serves 6.)

To make Mikulski’s favorite dish this holiday, start by beating the egg in a bowl. Next, remove the crust from the bread and break into small pieces. Add the bread sections to the egg batter. Add in the Mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings. Beat the ingredients together. Place crabmeat into a separate bowl and pour the egg mixture over the top. Gently toss the ingredients together without breaking up the crabmeat.

After your mixture is made, form the cake into 3-inch round, 3/4-inch thick patties. Allow the cakes to sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of 45 minutes before broiling. After your cakes have sat and are formed, place the cakes under the broiler for 10 minutes (4 to 5 minutes on each side) or until adequately browned before serving.


Follow President Harry S. Truman’s wife Bess Truman’s personal mac-n-cheese recipe this 4th of July, a dish everyone (including your younger guests) are sure to enjoy. Mrs. Truman’s (handwritten!) recipe (courtesy of the Harry S Truman National Historic Site, HSTR 8962-2) includes the use of: 8 ounces macaroni, ½ (cup) grated cheddar cheese, 2 cups of milk, 1 egg, ¼ cup of oleo/butter.

To make this presidential noodle dish, start by cooking and draining the macaroni until it is tender. Place cooked layer of mac into a baking dish and add the cheese in layers, repeating until all the items are used. Next, mix together the milk, egg and butter in a seperate bowl before adding the mixture into the dish. This recipe can be made the night before and refrigerated. 


Why wait until the holiday season to make the White House’s famous Ginger Crinkles? If you want to end your Fourth of July bash on a sweet note, follow the White House Pastry Kitchen’s recipe

In order to make this dessert, you will need: 2 sticks of room-temperature butter, 1 ½ cups of packed brown sugar, 2 whole eggs, 1/3 cup of molasses, 2 teaspoons of grated/fresh ginger, 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon dried ginger, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ cup of granulated sugar. (Makes 30-36 cookies.)

Start by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, eggs, molasses and fresh ginger until creamy. Combine flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt in a small mixing bowl. Combine both mixtures. Using a small spoon, scoop the batter into small balls and dip each into the sugar before placing each on a parchment-lined baking sheet, sugar side up. Bake each batch for 12 minutes (less if you like your cookies chewy). Allow the cookies to rest for 2 minutes before serving.