I’m in the process of creating a syllabus for a 200-level undergraduate course on unpacking the transnational roots of core American food ingredients, and in looking for a good image for the syllabus have discovered a beautiful array of US flags made of food.

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Now, for the Fourth of July, I’ve always loved to make a patriotically-themed white sheet cake, taking my precious time to carefully slice the strawberries and arrange them with raspberries and blueberries in different constellations nestled in the homemade whipped cream.  I do not own an American flag, nor wear patriotic clothing, nor say the Pledge of Allegiance, yet I revel in consuming an edible American icon one day of the year.  And interestingly, I’ve never strayed from this recipe until now, having just found a smorgasbord of different flag-themed foods, from delicious sweets to savory main dishes, all arranged in crimson and ivory stripes.  As silly as these images might seem, they scratch at the surface of America’s diverse food culture and plethora of eater identities (the health nut, the fast food junkie, the sweet-tooth, and so on).  Yet a trip to the local big-brand grocery store might make you think how few red, white, and blue ingredients you have on your palette.  How quick we forget about  blanched northern beans, an eggplant’s thin indigo shell, and the glistening skeleton of a buttered lobster that add color to America’s dinner table.

Check out these cool dishes below and suggest any unique variations that your family shares (or other ridiculous ones that you might find!).

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Ketchup-covered hot dogs with a mustard-starred napkin

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Taco Salad Flag!  With hidden layers of lettuce, sour cream, and meat, covered in cheddar cheese and lined with cherry tomatoes and chips.

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Blueberries make another appearance nestled on top of three layers of jello waving proudly in the wind

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For the health-conscious Americans, you have cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and dark-leafed basil for a nice start to a Caprese salad.

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A gooey, straight from the can/bag flag cheesecake, with whole marshmallows forming billowing, puffy, stark white stripes (although, in my opinion, this would taste better if those marshmallows had been torched just a tiny bit).

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A classic strawberry and blueberry pie

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A flag pizza!  With sliced roasted tomatoes and blue potatoes underneath mozzarella dots and herbs

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For the healthy snacker we have flag kebabs: blueberries, strawberries, and bananas

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Last, but not least, a red, white, and blue layered cake – with enough food coloring to set your kidneys back a week.  Betty Crocker loves Americuh!