22 February 2011

22 February - George Washington; Cherry Pie; Punch

Weather: If it is cold on St. Peter's Day, it will last for a while.

The night of St. Peter shows what weather we shall have for the next forty days.

If it freezes on February twenty-second, there will be forty more freezes.
Today is the feast of the Chair (Cathedra) of Saint Peter at Antioch.

Holy church halloweth the feast of S. Peter the apostle, and this day was S. Peter honorably enhanced in the city of Antioch, and set in the chair as a bishop.  The Golden Legend
George Washington, first President of the United States, was born today in 1732 at his father's plantation of Pope's Creek (the site of which you can visit), the first child of Augustine Washington's marriage to his second wife Mary Ball.

Actually, it was the 11th of February when he was born, but the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752 and the loss of 11 days moved his birthday to the 22nd.  Our Congress has been moving it around since then, which is why Washington's Birthday and Washington's Birthday Observed are usually on two different days.

Before he was 16, he transcribed a list of Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior, of which there were 110.  You can read the list here at the Colonial Williamsburg site; as stated there, the original spelling is unchanged.

The offenses to which he refers haven't been eradicated nor even changed much in the last couple of centuries. These listed below are transgressions against Civility and Decent Behavior which I have seen in the last week: 

2d When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usualy Discovered. [Scratch your nether parts in private, please] 

5th If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkercheif or Hand before your face and turn aside.  [We are still asking people to do that! Still!] 

7th Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Drest. [Although sometimes it is hard to figure out if they are half-dressed or if it is the prevailing fashion.] 

18th Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unask'd also look not nigh when another is writing a Letter. [And this can be updated to no texting or carrying on conversations on your cell-phone while in company.  The rest of the company is not entertained by this, I assure you.] 

23d When you see a Crime punished, you may be inwardly Pleased; but always shew Pity to the Suffering Offender. [In charity, pray for the person.  Shrieking with glee when a sinner is pilloried is unbecoming to a civilized person.  Excoriating those who pray for or show pity to the offender is equally unbecoming.] 

38th In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physicion if you be not Knowing therein [Also, if you are not a lawyer, don't give legal advice; the same if you do not know canon law] 

50th Be not hasty to beleive flying Reports to the Disparagement of any. [The media has its own agenda.  Don't be so quick to burn people at the stake based on media reports.] 

65th Speak not injurious Words neither in Jest nor Earnest Scoff at none although they give Occasion. [And if you insult somebody and are called on it, please don't hide behind "It's just my sense of humor; nobody understands it".  We understand all too well.  Believe me.] 

74th When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and disturb not the Audience if any hesitate in his Words help him not nor Prompt him without desired, Interrupt him not, nor Answer him till his Speech be ended. [Of this, I am often guilty.  I think this will form the basis of my Penance Box for Lent this year.] 

79th Be not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof. In Discoursing of things you Have heard Name not your Author always A Secret Discover not. [And if you don't know for certain that Hiram Daugherty (born 1809) is the son of Hiram Daugherty (born 1801) (and it is hard to see how he could be) please don't publish it for everyone on the Internet to copy to their family tree.  Trying to correct the enormous number of mistakes created by that one error is work for a lifetime.]
In his honor, a CHERRY PIE would be an appropriate today, even though that whole thing about the cherry tree was made up after his death.  If you haven't already, you can read Parson Weem's 'biography' of George Washington here (the cherry-tree incident is in the 2nd chapter).

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. 
Drain two 16-ounce cans of tart cherries (at this time of the year, the colonists would have used preserved cherries, dried or bottled.  Go thou and do likewise). 
Line a pie plate with pastry (made or bought.  This is a two-crust pie).

Mix together 1-1/3 cups of sugar and 1/3 cup of flour.  Stir in the drained cherries.

Pour cherry mixture into pastry-lined pie plate.  Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract and dot with 2 tablespoons of butter.  Cover with top crust [a lattice crust is very eye-appealing]; seal and flute the edges.  If you aren't using a lattice crust, cut several slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake about 35 to 45 minutes. [And remember to cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil to prevent them from over-browning; remove the foil 15 minutes before the pie is done.]

A suitable toast to Mr. Washington would be with a glass of PUNCH from a 1764 recipe:
Take of Fair Water two Quarts, pure Limejuice a Pint, treble-refined Sugar, 3 Quarters of a Pound, or better, mix and perfectly diffolve the Sugar, then add of choice Brandy 3 Pints ftirring them well together, and grating in one Nutmeg.

Mix together 2 quarts of water and 2 cups of lime juice (about 16+ limes, if you are using fresh juice).  Pour this over 1-1/2 cups of sugar and mix well to dissolve.  Stir in 3 pints of brandy and grate 1 nutmeg over it or stir in about 2-1/2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg.

[A cup or two of that, and you can take on a whole regiment of redcoats.]

Actually, the author considered that recipe old-fashioned (by 1764 standards) and suggested that the punch could be made more a la mode by making a few changes: To the above Quantity of Water, 6 Lifbon Lemons, no quite fo much Sugar, one fixth Part of the Spirits, and the Nutmeg to be omitted.

[It may be a la mode, but it sounds pretty dull compared to the old-fashioned recipe.  Give me a robust punch or give me death!]