By Ann Cipperly

While celebrating the Fourth of July will be different this year with Covid 19, be sure to have plenty of good food on hand for the weekend. Whether you are social distancing at the lake or beach or relaxing at home, plan menus with flavorful grilled meats, fresh vegetables, salads and refreshing desserts. Brunswick stew is a traditional favorite addition to Fourth menus.

Lake Martin is a popular place to celebrate the Fourth, but years ago going to the lake for Opelikans meant spending sultry summer days at Lake Condy. At one time, Lake Condy was the only recreational area for families to enjoy swimming and picnics. Diaries from old Opelika families recall visits to the lake, telling of making the trip in wagons.

Lake Condy was the site of festive Fourth of July celebrations. Huge pits were dug to cook barbecue, Brunswick stew simmered in big black pots and lemonade was served from barrels.

Lake Condy no longer exists for Fourth celebrations, but barbecue and Brunswick stew have remained favorite fare. While Brunswick stew has been a summer favorite for many decades, there is a disagreement over its origin.

Georgians say the stew originated in their state and was named after the town of Brunswick. A plaque on an old iron pot in Brunswick says the first stew was made in it on July 2, 1898 in nearby St. Simons Island.

Brunswick County, Virginia, also claims to be the birthplace of the stew, recording it was invented in 1828 after a hunting expedition. It was served at Virginia’s tobacco-curing and public gatherings.

An early Williamsburg cookbook has a copy of the recipe that starts with cutting up “a three pound chicken or two squirrels.” Later recipes added rabbit or pork.

Locally, the Whatley family served big pots of Brunswick stew when their reunions were held outdoors. Now that family members meet in an air conditioning building, the stew is still a popular dish. “I know different members of the family bring Brunswick stew to the reunion every year in August,” Ann Whatley said.

The Brunswick stew is also served at the annual winter/spring barbecue hosted by Jean and Ernest Whatley, Ann and Charles Whatley and Tom Whatley. “We have about 700 plus attend,” Ann said. “It is our gift to the community, friends and neighbors.

“We use Charles’ family recipe. The stew is the centerpiece of our barbecue. Charles’ forefathers began the tradition of having a barbecue for the community. Mrs. Whatley called the one we make Beauregard Stew, but it is what we call our Brunswick Stew.

“I keep stew in my freezer all year,” Ann added. “Our stew has chicken, pork,
tomatoes and seasonings of vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt, hot sauce, catsup and lemon juice. The real key I think to making the stew is stirring, stirring, stirring for a long time. We use a special wooden stick to stir the stew. When we finish, we add breadcrumbs.

“Modifications have been made over the years,” she says. “Jean Whatley uses her father’s barbecue sauce recipe, and I use one that I like. I keep it in the refrigerator.”

The Whatley family cookbook, “Recipes and Remembrances,” has eight different recipes for Brunswick stew.

While the stew is popular with numerous families year round, some prefer it on cold winter nights. Check out the following recipes for Brunswick Stew; each one is a little different. Any of these would be a delicious addition to a cookout on the Fourth.

You can purchase a pound of shredded Boston butt from your favorite barbecue place to use in the stew instead of cooking your own. A rotisserie chicken will also save time.

Whatever is on the menu for Independence Day this year at your home, take time to be thankful for America’s freedom and remember those who have served and are serving our country today to keep us free.

Following is an assortment of recipes for creating a celebratory Fourth menu for your family.

Ann Cipperly can be reached at

Easy Cheese Ball

Ashley Herring

Two 8-oz pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 cup sliced almonds, chopped

Crackers, for serving

Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth.  Add Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, green onions, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Stir together until combined.

Pour chopped almonds onto plastic wrap and then roll cheese ball in almonds. Roll up into plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Unwrap and place on plate. Serve with crackers.

Gazpacho Salad

Elizabeth Whatley

1 1/2. lb. ripe, firm tomatoes, chopped or 1 pkg. grape tomatoes

2 small cucumbers, peeled, seed and diced

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup green apple, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup green grapes, cut in half

2 kiwi, peeled and diced

1 Bartlett pear, peeled and diced

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Make the dressing first. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Drizzle dressing over salad; toss to combine. Let salad sit 15 minutes before serving.  


2 cloves garlic, diced

1 big pinch coarse salt

1/2 tsp. cumin

3 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

Combine dressing in a jar and shake.   

Beauregard Stew

(Brunswick Stew)

Virginia Whatley (Mrs. Lynch W.H.)

From Whatley family cookbook “Recipes and Remembrances”

25 lbs. pork

25 lbs. chicken

Cook and cut up (do not grind); reserve stock. Into this pot of stock add: 3 gallons tomatoes (mashed), 3 gallons cream-style corn. Cook meat and vegetables in stock, stirring almost constantly until stewed. 

Then add:

1 gallon catsup

5 (10 oz.) bottles Worcestershire sauce

1 large bottle lemon juice

1 qt. vinegar

1 ¼ oz. black pepper

½ bottle hot sauce

¾ cup salt

Continue to cook and stir! When done, add:

1 gallon breadcrumbs, toasted and mashed

Note: This is a very old Whatley recipe. This recipe was given to Lynch by T.J. Whatley and was used for school barbeques as well as family and Kiwanis Club. Serves 150 people.  

Brunswick Stew

Cindy Keith

No fail recipe

1 whole chicken

2 cups water

1 large onion, chopped

2 lbs. ground beef

2 cans whole tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

32 oz. bottle ketchup

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. hickory smoke salt

Red pepper to taste

2 cans cream style corn

Boil chicken; remove skin and bones. Save broth. Cook onion and ground beef in broth. Add remaining ingredients, except corn. Simmer 45 minutes to an hour. Add corn. Be careful that corn does not stick to the bottom of pan.

Brunswick Stew

Julia Gunter

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 stalks celery, chopped

1½ lbs. ground pork (I use a Boston butt, cooked in slow cooker and shredded)

1½ lbs. ground beef

3 lbs. chicken, cooked and shredded

3 cans whole tomatoes with liquid, chopped

1 cup catsup

½ cup hickory flavored barbecue sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Hot sauce to taste

1 green bell pepper

3 cans cream-style corn

Heat olive oil in large stockpot.  Sauté onions and celery until soft.  Mix in pork and beef and brown.  Do not drain.

Lower heat. Stir in chicken, tomatoes and their liquid, catsup, barbecue sauce.  Place the whole green pepper into the mixture.  Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 hours or until thick.  

Stir corn into stew mixture. Continue cooking one hour or until desired consistency.  Remove the green pepper; chop and return to the stew or discard.  

Easy Crock Pot Brunswick Stew

Mary Ann Whatley Davenport

“Recipes and Remembrances”

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained

2 cans Castleberry Barbecue Pork

2 large cans Swanson’s all white chicken

2 cans stewed tomatoes

2 cans creamed corn

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire  sauce

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 bottle hot or spicy catsup

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook overnight (or all day) on low. 

Farmhouse Barbecue Chicken

Lynn Tatum

Four two lbs. broilers/chicken pieces


3 cups white vinegar

3 ½ tsp. salt

1 ½ Tbsp. yellow mustard

4 ½ Tbsp. ketchup

9 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Browning Sauce

6 Tbsp. sugar

1 ½ tsp. salt

9 Tbsp. butter or margarine

3 ½ Tbsp. yellow mustard

3 ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp. black pepper

Pierce each piece of chicken with a fork and put in plastic bag or container. Combine next 5 ingredients to make marinade. Pour over the chicken, making sure that each piece is saturated with the marinade and let sit overnight in fridge.

Place chicken on grill, bone side down and baste with the marinade for the first half of cooking time. While it is cooking, combine and heat Browning Sauce ingredients on the stove. Baste the chicken the last half of the cooking time with Browning Sauce. Use leftover sauce to serve with the chicken. Serves 8. 

Hamburger and Grilled Chicken Slider Bar 

Small ground beef patties seasoned with salt and pepper

Grilled chicken breasts, cut in half

Slider buns (available at local grocery stores)

Optional Toppings:

American and Swiss cheese slices

Crisp cooked bacon



Sautéed mushrooms


Lettuce, tomato and onion slices

Mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce and mustard

Shape burgers to fit buns. Grill burgers and toast buns. Serve burgers and grilled chicken on slider buns with assorted toppings.

Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob

Nell Samford

The corn cooks in the husk without pre-soaking. Remove from oven and pull back the husk, and the silk will come off with it.

6 ears of corn on the cob or more if they fit in your oven.

Water for rinsing corn

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Rinse ears. Place corn cobs in middle rack in oven. Bake for 30 minutes. 

Remove corn cobs. Pull back husks and use the husk to hold the corn. 

Parmesan Okra

Julia Pipes

1 lb. fresh okra, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

2 Tbsp. olive oil

¼ cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs

2 tsp.  Greek seasoning, optional

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Sauté okra in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp and tender.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and seasoning, and cook, stirring often for 3 minutes.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.

Whole Tomatoes in Herb Vinaigrette 

6 whole tomatoes


2/3 cups salad oil

1/4 cup vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Garnish: lettuce, chopped green onions and parsley

To peel tomatoes, drop each one in boiling water for a few seconds and then in cold water. The skins will slip off. Cut out stem core.

Mix vinaigrette ingredients. Add tomatoes and marinate for several hours or overnight. 

Place tomatoes on a bed of lettuce. Drizzle vinaigrette over each tomato. Garnish with green onions and parsley.  

Layered Peach Dessert

You can omit the fourth layer of the dessert.

First Layer

2½ cups self-rising flour

2 sticks butter, softened

1 cup chopped pecans, optional

Mix flour and butter together; add pecans. Press into the bottom of a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool.

Second Layer

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

8 oz. Cool Whip

Combine ingredients and spread over cooled crust.

Third Layer

4 cups sliced fresh peaches

Spreads peaches over second layer; refrigerate.

Fourth Layer (optional)

1 cup sugar

4 Tbsp. flour

4 Tbsp.  peach Jell-O

1 cup water

Mix together and cook over medium heat until clear and thick. Cool. Pour over peaches.

Chill overnight.

Easy Peach Ice Cream Pie 

Can also use filling in a graham cracker crust.

Coconut crust:

3 Tbsp. butter

1 can (3 ½ oz.) flaked coconut


2 cups chopped fresh peaches

1 to 1 1/2 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened

Chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Melt butter in a 9-inch pie plate in a 350 degree oven. Mix in coconut and press onto bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake for about 12 minutes or until coconut is lightly brown. Chill.

Add peaches to ice cream and pile into chilled crust. Sprinkle a few nuts over top, if desired. Freeze until ready to serve.

Mom’s Peach, Blueberry or Blackberry Crisp

Amy Grilliot

The topping is much thinner, sweeter and crispier than a cobbler.   Can substitute blueberries, blackberries or any fresh summer fruit!

6 to 7 medium sized peaches (peeled and sliced) or blueberries or blackberries

¾ cup sugar

½ cup all-purpose flour

5 Tbsp. butter

Vanilla ice cream, optional

Place sliced peaches in a single layer in a greased 9 x 9 casserole dish.  In a mixing bowl “cut” together sugar, flour and butter until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle over peaches. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until topping is brown and crisp. Serve with ice cream, if desired.

Fresh Peach Pound Cake

Good served with vanilla ice cream.

3 cups  all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 sticks butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups chopped fresh peaches

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 10-inch Bundt pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar, shaking out the excess. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in vanilla and beat well.

Add flour mixture gradually, beating constantly until blended. Fold peaches into the batter. Spoon into prepared pan. 

Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack to cool.