Plaza Blog

A Taste of Tradition: Memorial Day Foods and Their History

When Memorial Day rolls around, it signals the start of summer and, of course, the season of outdoor grilling. It's a holiday deeply steeped in tradition, including a culinary one that unites us, regardless of how and where we commemorate the day. But have you ever wondered why certain foods have become synonymous with Memorial Day? Let's delve into the origins of these popular dishes and explore where you can enjoy them in Los Angeles.

The Grill and Its Glory

The practice of grilling is said to have roots in the Civil War era when soldiers had to cook their rations over open fires. As decades passed, the tradition continued and evolved into the backyard barbecues we know today.

1. Hamburgers and Hot Dogs

The American staples of hamburgers and hot dogs find their origins in Germany but have since become synonymous with US culture, especially on Memorial Day. The reason? They're perfect for grilling and easy to eat outdoors.

In LA, try The Apple Pan for their classic American hamburgers or Wurstküche for an exotic range of gourmet sausages that redefine the humble hot dog.

2. Barbecue Ribs

Another quintessential Memorial Day food is barbecue ribs, which trace back to Native American smoking techniques. It's a dish that's particularly associated with the South but has spread nationwide.

For mouthwatering ribs in LA, head to Bludso's Bar & Que, where the Texas-style BBQ has earned citywide acclaim.

A Salute to Sides and Sweets

Memorial Day also has its share of iconic side dishes and desserts, with roots in American history.

3. Potato Salad and Coleslaw

These refreshing sides date back to the early European settlers and have been crowd-pleasers at American cookouts ever since.

If you're looking for a gourmet take on these classic sides, visit Joan's on Third, an LA staple known for their delightful deli offerings.

4. Apple Pie

As American as apple pie, right? This dessert became a symbol of American prosperity and national pride in the early 20th century and is a Memorial Day favorite.

The Pie Hole in LA serves an exceptional classic apple pie, giving a sweet ending to your Memorial Day feast.

This Memorial Day, whether you're firing up the grill at home or dining out, take a moment to appreciate the rich culinary traditions that contribute to the fabric of this holiday. It's a testament to the diverse influences that make up America's unique culinary landscape.