Memorial Day is approaching and that means that many of us will be heating up the old grill and cooking up some delicious food! But, why do we take the time to celebrate this holiday and how will it be celebrated differently this year?
Memorial Day back in the day
Memorial Day was originally created to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers from the American Civil War. At that time it was called Declaration Day. This day grew to pay tribute to all fallen soldiers in the 1900’s and by 1967 Declaration Day became known as Memorial Day. Although it wasn’t confirmed as a federal holiday until 1971.
Memorial Day is frequently confused for a similar federal holiday, Veterans Day. However, they are slightly different. Veterans Day is a federal holiday celebrating all living and fallen soldiers whereas Memorial Day is specifically dedicated to those that have fallen in service.
While the first Memorial Day cookout is unclear, there once was a tradition where families would have picnics in the cemetery as a way to spend time with as well as pay tribute to those that have given their lives in battle. It is believed that over time the traditional picnic in the cemetery evolved into our current backyard grilling cookouts. However, the overall premise is the same. Families get together in an outdoor space and eat food.
Memorial Day celebrations in these unprecedented times
Our celebrations this year will likely be a bit different due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Just as with most other aspects of our lives, certain precautions and steps should be taken to continue to stay safe while staying together.
- Hand washing and hand sanitizing will be required for all cookout guests
- Masks will be worn and goggles (or sunglasses at the very least) to protect the eyes.
- Hand sanitizer bottles will likely be found throughout the party space to accommodate everyone.
- Guests will need to sit or stand at least 6 feet apart if they haven’t been quarantined together over the last few months.
- The person handling the food and cooking on the grill will need to be clean, masked, and possibly even wearing gloves. While there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted through food, the person cooking could accidentally spread it to someone else by touching forks, plates, etc.
- Virtual cookouts may be held over video meeting apps such as Zoom, Facebook Messenger video, and more!
Memorial Day cookout favorites
Aside from the typical hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, sausage, and peppers, there are many delicious memorial day cookout dessert must-haves!
Berries & Cream Salad
- 1 box 3.4 oz instant vanilla pudding mix
- 32 oz. container vanilla Greek yogurt
- 8 oz. container Cool Whip thawed
- 2 12- oz bags frozen berries*
- In a large bowl, combine the pudding mix and the Greek yogurt, stirring until well mixed.
- Fold Cool Whip into the mixture.
- Lastly, fold in the berries. I had set mine out for about 10 minutes before making the salad, but you can put them in frozen and they will thaw very quickly so you can serve the salad right after mixing.
- If you don’t serve the salad immediately, store in an airtight container in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, give the salad a quick stir and top with additional berries, if desired, to garnish.
Angel Food Patriotic Delight
- 1 prepared angel food cake
- 1 (3 oz) package of instant pudding (prepared)
- 1 (8oz) tub of whipped topping
- 1 (21 oz) can Lucky Leaf Apple Pie Filling
- 1 (21 oz) can Lucky Leaf Blueberry Pie Filling
- 1 (21 oz) can Lucky Leaf Cherry Pie Filling
- Prepare pudding according to package directions
- Tear cake into bite-size pieces.
- In a large bowl, gently mix the cake, pudding, and whipped topping.
- In a separate clean bowl, spoon 1/3 of the cake mixture. Top with Lucky Leaf Blueberry Pie Filling. Layer second 1/3 of the cake mixture on blueberries. Top with Lucky Leaf Cherry Pie Filling. Repeat layers using the final 1/3 of the cake mixture and ending with Lucky Leaf Apple Pie Filling.
- Serve with additional whipped topping if desired.