Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #3 - Today in History

Reading the Declaration of Independence to the Army
On the evening of July 9, 1776 General George Washington assembled the Continental Army to hear a declaration approved by the Continental Congress.  The declaration called for American independence from Great Britain.  Independence had been voted for on July 2nd, and the Declaration signed on July 4th.  Now it was time for the General to read these words - words thought about and argued about and fought about and finally put to paper - to the men who would sacrifice their lives to bring a desire into reality.  An excellent summary of that evening is here:  George Washington's Mount Vernon   or
So while we celebrate July 4th as Independence Day in the United States, the true test and action happened following that July 9th evening.  George Washington, born February 1732, had been a congressman from Virginia but resigned that position when Congress formed the Continental Army and appointed him commanding general on July 14, 1775.  Having resigned his congressional position, General Washington was unable to participate in or sign the Declaration of Independence.  His actions, however, and his leadership as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War insured that independence was not just a declaration but a way of life.  He became the first president of the United States in 1789 and served until 1797.  He presided over the convention that drafted the United States Constitution.  He died in December 1799.
Young George Washington lost his father when George was only eleven years old.  There is a story that George's father once gave him a hatchet and six-year-old George used that hatchet to cut down a cherry tree.  When confronted by his father young George confessed.  As the story goes, George's father, touched by his son's integrity and honesty, felt that possessing those qualities far outweighed the value of a cherry tree.

So for the Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #3 - Today in History we will honor George Washington with Washington's Cherry Tarts from the January/February/March 1951 CBS Homemakers Exchange Recipes. 

The ingredients are assembled and we're using small cake pans.  The recipe calls for placing a hatchet cut from pastry on the top of the tart and we've made this paper template.
The pastry is called Stir-N-Roll.  It couldn't be simpler with flour and salt blended, and then cooking oil and cold milk added.  While a nice dough forms it does flake away easily while handling.  What is great about that, though, is how flaky it is when it bakes!  Mix the canned cherries with sugar, flour, and cornstarch, spoon into the pastry shells, dot with butter, cut the little pastry hatchets using a small knife, and the tarts are ready for baking.
20 minutes later, a bubbling, sweet tart!
And then it's time to eat!

So as we eat our Washington's Cherry Tarts we think about the freedoms we enjoy.  We remember, as children, pledging our allegiance to our country every day.  In 1942 Congress had formally adopted the Pledge of Allegiance and the last change was made in 1954 when the words "under God" were added.  Each morning as school began all of us children would stand and face our flag, put our hands over our hearts, and say the Pledge.  So on this day in history we say thank you to George Washington and all those who take action for what they believe to be right, and for those who continue to do so.
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God,
with liberty and justice for all.
Historical Food Fortnightly
The Challenge:  #3 Today in History - Make a dish based on or inspired by a momentous occasion that took place on the day you made it.
The Recipe:  CBS Homemakers Exchange Recipes Jan/Feb/Mar 1951
     Stir-N-Roll Pastry and Washington's Cherry Tarts
The Date/Year and Region:  1951 United States
Time to Complete:  45 minutes
Total Cost:  $2.00
How Successful Was It?  Patrick thought he hated cherries.  Turned out he loved these tarts!  That's success!
How Accurate Is It?  Completely, including the hatchet.
P.S.  Is George Washington the reason there are cherry trees planted in Washington, D.C.?

Happy eating!
Patrick and Jeanette


  1. Those are so cute! And I love a good cherry pie or tart.

    1. Thank you so much! It really was delicious!

  2. Happy Independence Day! I love the hatchet! The tarts are cute. The story of Washington and the cherry tree is false. It came from a 19th century schoolbook to teach lessons about virtue. The cherry trees in Washington are a gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912.

    1. Thank you! And thank you for all the information! Do you think the Tokyo major had heard the cherry tree story?