Culinary historians and diehard Fourth of July fans alike have long wondered what exactly was on the menu at America’s first birthday party

The first-ever American Independence celebration, held onJuly 4, 1777 in Philadelphia, was, by all accounts, a raucous affair.

A tradition of eating turtle soup accompanied by poached salmon, peas and new potatoes on the day would later emerge in New England, but there’s no historical evidence that those dishes were what John and Abigail Adams actually ate the day the Declaration of Independence was signed

What is known at the very least is that the next year’s celebration involved a great many toasts…countless glasses of beer, cider, whiskey and port would be raised high “in honour of our country, and the heroes who have fallen in their pious efforts to defend her,” as explained by Founding Father John Adams in a letter to his daughter.

Source: Celebrating the 4th of July With the Founding Foodies | TIME