What Fish is traditionally eaten on the 4th of July?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

The fish that is traditionally eaten on the Fourth of July in many parts of the United States is the Atlantic salmon. This fish has become a popular choice for Independence Day meals, often grilled or baked and served alongside other classic summer dishes.

While there is no definitive reason why Atlantic salmon has become associated with the Fourth of July, it is believed to be due to its availability during the summer months. Atlantic salmon is known for its rich flavor and firm texture, making it a delicious option for grilling or cooking on the barbecue. Its bright pink color also adds a vibrant touch to any holiday spread.

In New England, where the tradition of eating salmon on the Fourth of July is said to have originated, the fish has long been a staple of the region’s cuisine. The Atlantic salmon is native to the rivers and streams of this area, and historically, it was an important food source for Native American tribes and early settlers. Its abundance and popularity likely contributed to its inclusion in Fourth of July celebrations.

It’s worth noting that while Atlantic salmon may be the traditional choice, other types of fish are also enjoyed on the Fourth of July. Grilled or fried catfish, trout, and striped bass are all popular options in different regions of the country. The choice of fish often depends on local availability and personal preference.

Personally, growing up in New England, I remember my family always having grilled Atlantic salmon on the Fourth of July. It was a special treat, and we would often pair it with fresh garden peas and new potatoes, just like the legendary meal Abigail Adams supposedly served to John Adams on that historic day in 1776. While the connection to Abigail Adams may be more of a myth than a fact, the tradition of enjoying Atlantic salmon on the Fourth of July continues to this day in many households across the country.

While the exact origins of the tradition are unclear, Atlantic salmon has become the fish of choice for many Americans on the Fourth of July. Its availability during the summer months, rich flavor, and vibrant color make it a fitting addition to Independence Day celebrations. However, it’s important to remember that regional preferences and personal tastes may also influence the choice of fish for this festive occasion.