4th of July weekend is here and cookouts are beginning to commence. If you catch yourself in a awkward situation, use one of these 10 fun facts about the holiday and cookouts to start a conversation.
In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.
More than 1 in 4
The chance that the hot dogs and pork sausages consumed on the Fourth of July originated in Iowa. The Hawkeye State was home to 18.9 million hogs and pigs on March 1, 2010. This represents more than one-fourth of the nation’s total. North Carolina (9.1 million) and Minnesota (7.2 million) were the runners-up.
6.5 billion pounds
Total production of cattle and calves in Texas in 2008. Chances are good that the beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers on your backyard grill came from the Lone Star State, which accounted for about one-sixth of the nation’s total production. And if the beef did not come from Texas, it very well may have come from Nebraska (4.6 billion pounds) or Kansas (3.9 billion pounds).
Number of states in which the value of broiler chicken production was $1 billion or greater between December 2007 and November 2008. There is a good chance that one of these states — Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi or Texas — is the source of your barbecued chicken.
About 1 in 3
The odds that your side dish of baked beans originated from North Dakota, which produced 34 percent of the nation’s dry, edible beans in 2009. Another popular Fourth of July side dish is corn on the cob. Florida, California, Georgia, Washington and New York together accounted for 66 percent of the fresh market sweet corn produced nationally in 2009.
Please Pass the Potato Salad
Potato salad and potato chips are popular food items at Fourth of July barbecues. Half of the nation’s spuds were produced in Idaho or Washington state in 2009.
More than three-fourths
Amount of the nation’s head lettuce production in 2009 that came from California. This lettuce may end up in your salad or on your burger.
7 in 10
The chances that the fresh tomatoes in your salad came from Florida or California, which combined accounted for 70 percent of U.S. fresh market tomato production last year. The ketchup on your burger or hot dog probably came from California, which accounted for 95 percent of processed tomato production in 2009.
The state that led the nation in watermelon production last year (818 million pounds). Other leading producers of this popular fruit included California, Georgia and Texas, each with more than 500 million pounds.
Number of Americans who said they have taken part in a barbecue during the previous year. It’s probably safe to assume a lot of these events took place on Independence Day.