Friday, February 17, 2012

Celebrate "President's Day" With A "Lemon Meringue Pie"

Monday, February 20th, is President’s Day. On this day we celebrate the birthdays of George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln. These two President’s were very instrumental in the formation of our country, the United States of America.

George Washington was born, February 22, 1732. He was the leader of the Continental Army in the American Revolution, presided over the writing of the Constitution; he became the 1st President of the United States, and was regarded as the “Father of Our Country”. Abraham Lincoln was born, February 12, 1809. He was the 16th President and led his country through the American Civil War, preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and promoting economic and financial modernization. He was a country lawyer, and an Illinois State Legislator, plus a one term member of the House of Representatives.

Did you ever think about whom Washington and Lincoln really were? What they really thought about, what were their hobbies, and what did they like to eat? Yes, we know mostly about their official Presidential life, but what about who they really were as men.

Washington as a young man had red hair. He did not wear a wig, instead he powdered his hair. Washington had great physical strength. He was praised for his riding, which also benefited his hunting, his favorite hobby. George was an excellent dancer and enjoyed the theater. He drank in moderation and disliked gambling and profanity. Even though he grew tobacco, he eventually stopped smoking. Washington suffered from problems with his teeth throughout his life. His false teeth were not wood, but made from elephant ivory, held together with gold springs. George Washington is often associated with cherries, which he loved. He also loved a variety of fruits and fish. He would rather eat a simple meal than a fancy one. He ate heartily, didn’t have much dessert, and drank a few glasses of Madeira Wine. He was very fond of nuts, especially hazelnuts, he would buy them by the barrel. When he had guests he would have a table filled with Presidential foods such as beef, veal, turkey, fowls, hams, puddings, fruits, nuts, figs, raisins, a variety of wines, and punches. By no means were these dinners simple. If you would like to read some of Washington’s family recipes, they were recorded in “Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery” by Karen Loft Hess, Columbia University Press.

As a young man, Abraham Lincoln enjoyed wrestling, playing ball, athletic activities, but his humor and storytelling ability is what separated Lincoln from his peers. He did not have many friends, but enjoyed the friendship of men. Abraham’s favorite hobby was reading. He believed in education and self education. Lincoln would often borrow books and when he was faced with a problem, he turned to books searching for answers and comfort in times of high stress. He enjoyed writing poetry, going to the theater, and he often recited Shakespeare word for word. Mr. Lincoln grew up on the frontier, were he ate very plain food. When Abe was young his diet consisted of cornbread, mush, bacon, eggs and milk. Lincoln’s breakfast was an egg and a cup of coffee; at lunch he barely ate a biscuit, a glass of milk, and a plate of seasonal fruit, especially apples. He never outgrew his love of wild game, fish, nuts and berries. He enjoyed his vegetables cooked soft and his meats cooked well, with not much seasoning. Abe loved sweets such as pies, cakes and puddings, but did not like beer or liquor. One of the few entrees that would tempt Lincoln was his wife’s recipe of Chicken Fricassee. One of Lincoln’s favorite treats was gingerbread, which his mother would make for him. If you would like to read about Lincoln’s favorites, there is a book that I would recommend, “The Taste Is in My Mouth a Little…Lincoln’s Victuals and Potables” by Wayne C. Temple

My recipe this week is one that honors our President’s, “Lemon Meringue Pie”. I remember my mom making this pie when I was young. It is so light and the lemon flavor is so refreshing. It is made with Jell-O Lemon pudding. Hope that you enjoy celebrating our “Presidents” and have a piece of Lemon Meringue Pie.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Prep time: 25 minutes

1 box Lemon-Jell-O pudding and pie filling
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of water
2 egg yolks
2 cups of water
1 baked 9 inch pie shell

Mix contents of package with sugar, water and egg yolks. Stir in 2 cups of water. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Cool for 5 minutes, stirring twice. Pour into cooled, baked 9 inch pie shell.

3 egg whites
1/3 cup of sugar

Beat 3 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 1/3 cup of sugar, beating until stiff. Spread over filling sealing to the edge of pie crust. Be generous as the meringue will shrink when baked. Bake at 350° F 10-15 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Cool at room temperature 4 hours, then refrigerate. Serves: 8

Till Next Time……….

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