Memorial Day is almost upon us and with it come family get-togethers, church potlucks, picnics, and long days by the lake. There are hundreds of ways to celebrate this holiday, which has become sort of the opening day of summer.
The Significance of Memorial Day
Sadly, many of those celebrating don’t really know the significance of the day. So, before we move on to the food, let’s chat about what Memorial Day is and why it is celebrated.
Memorial Day was first established in 1868 to remember the soldiers that had fallen during the Civil War. It was then called Decoration Day. Over time Memorial Day was a day set aside to remember the fallen in all of the wars, those who have fought and died to give the rest of us the freedoms that we so casually enjoy.
Memorial Day is a day to be grateful. I know that being grateful for things is not such a popular concept in our society; a society that seems to believe that they are owed certain liberties far and above the “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Whether you are a pacifist or someone who believes in the need for a well trained and equipped military, the truth is that men and women have died in the process of preserving a way of life based on freedoms. And, we should be grateful; to them, to their families , and to those who currently serve in whatever capacity.
So, this Memorial Day, before you tuck in to the potato salad or grab for that ice, cold beer? Gather your family and friends, tell them that you love and appreciate them, and together say a prayer of thanks for those who deserve to be remembered.
And be glad that you can do so without fear.
Memorial Day Menu Ideas
Memorial Day is sort of a pick and choose type of holiday. Not that many people have a set, formal menu for it. It seems to be a variety of things that people like, and that travel well. What I have tried to do here is to create several scenarios of ideas and menus to work in any situation you find yourself in. My only caveat was that they be easy to make and transport, delicious, and droolworthy enough to make your mother-in-law stop comparing you to your husband’s ex.
Memorial Day Picnic Menu
Years ago families would load a heavy picnic basket in the car and head off to the lake or meadow for a day long picnic. Without a grill or other cooking helps the food would have to be delicious at room temperature and easy to transport. I think this menu does just that.
Crudites and Dip – Just use raw vegetables of your choice and your fav. salad dressing
Your favorite cookies
Backyard Grilling Menu
Whether you use a gas grill or old fashioned charcoal, there is nothing like a well made burger on the grill. Keep it easy with lots of items that you can make ahead. Keep it fun!
Easy Homemade Hamburger Buns with all the fixins; lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, pickles…
Southwestern Potato Salad (make ahead but leave out the chipotle until 1 hour before serving. Trust me on this)
Italian Cream Cake with Strawberries (add some blueberries, too!)
Make It and Take It Potluck
These are not so much menus as items that will travel to your pot luck really well.
Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork with Mango Salsa (slow cooker)
White Silk and Berry Tarts – This recipe is so good it was stolen by a national magazine and used on their cover nearly a year after I published it. (Yep, still not over it)