It’s become a tradition at Food Safety News to take a break on major holidays by hosting a virtual potluck or picnic, held entirely online for our far-flung staff.


So we’re celebrating Independence Day 2011 by once again sharing our dishes – Mary’s farmers’ market veg dip, Cookson’s garden-fresh potato salad, Suzanne’s Aunt Sandy’s spinach and strawberry salad, Helena’s apricot-rosemary halibut, Andy’s Everyman’s Gumbo, Dan’s Fried Ice Cream Cake Sticks and Gretchen’s coconut berry lime cake.

We’re often asked if writing about foodborne illness makes us reluctant eaters. Far from it. We relish good food and all the healthy choices available. To us, food freedom means the right to spend our grocery dollars with growers and producers who see safe food-handling practices not as an inconvenience or cost, but as a responsibility to protect their customers and the public health, and therefore an essential part of doing business. Independence Day is a good day to think about freedom from fear.

Have a food-safe Fourth of July.

The Food Safety News team 


My family isn’t known for our cooking, so every year at the Fourth of July potluck, our assignment is dessert (something we actually are good at, so make this recipe without reservation). We always try to contribute something red, white and blue. After much taste testing this spring, here’s the sweet treat that earned this year’s coveted spot on the table. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sub in your favorite berries. 



– 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

– 1 3/4 cups plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

– 2 teaspoons baking powder

– 1/2 tsp coarse salt

– 1 cup packed sweetened shredded coconut

– 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

– 3 large eggs

– 3/4 cup buttermilk

– 2 tsp finely grated lime zest, plus 2 tbsp lime juice

– 3 cups mixed berries (we use raspberries and blueberries)

– 3 tsp amber rum or orange juice


Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9×13 pan. In large bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 c flour (reserving the tsp), baking powder, salt and coconut. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer (on high), combine butter and 1 c sugar, scraping down sides as needed, until fluffy — about 4 mns. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Set mixer to low and add flour in 3 additions alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk, and beat until combined. Stir in lime zest and juice. Pour batter into dish. Smooth top with small offset or rubber spatula. 

In medium bowl, toss together 1 tbsp flour, 1 tbsp sugar, berries and rum. Scatter berry mixture over batter. Bake until cake is golden at the edges and a toothpick comes out clean — about 35 mns. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 mns.

Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Recipe from Everyday Food.