Honoring Memorial Day in the US

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women, who have died in military service for the United States. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day and it is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season.

What do people do?
It is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at half mast from dawn until noon. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. Memorial Day is combined with Jefferson Davis’ Birthday in Mississippi.

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Jefferson Finis Davis was the President of the Confederate States of America during the entire Civil War, 1861 to 1865.

Memorial Day has become less of an occasion of remembrance. Many people choose to hold picnics, sports events and family gatherings on this weekend. This day is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season for cultural events. For the fashion conscious, it is seen as acceptable to wear white clothing, particularly shoes from Memorial Day until Labor Day. However, fewer and fewer people follow this rule and many wear white clothing throughout the year.

Public life
Memorial Day is a federal holiday. All non-essential Government offices are closed, as are schools, businesses and other organizations. Most public transit systems do not run on their regular schedule. Many people see Memorial Day weekend as an opportunity to go on a short vacation or visit family or friends. This can cause some congestion on highways and at airports.

Background
Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers, who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women, who died in any war or military action.

Soldier decorates tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery with American flags

A soldier honors his fellow countrymen by decorating their tombstones with the American flag at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. The current name for this day did not come into use until after World War II. Decoration Day and then Memorial Day used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, on which it fell. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. This meant that that, from 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May. However, it took a longer period for all American states to recognize the new date.

Memorial Day

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

Soldiers in Heaven

Little Jake asked his mother during the Memorial Day Parade: “Mamma, don’t soldiers ever go to heaven?”

“Of course they do!” protested his mother. “What makes you ask?”

“There are so many soldiers with beards but I never saw any pictures of angels with beards.” he replied.

The mother responded “Oh, that’s because most vets who go to Heaven get there by a close shave.”

 

Angel Waiting by Artist Todd Kasovetz

Angel Waiting by Artist Todd Krasovetz. For a copy and/or more information, click here.

 

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Let us remember as we fall asleep this Memorial Day those who fight and the many that have died to protect our freedom.

 

 

 

National Taffy Day – May 23rd!

Here are today’s five food facts about Taffy: Salt water taffy was “invented” in Atlantic City in 1883. Modern technology allows confectioners to produce 1,000 pieces of taffy a minute. In one hour enough pieces of taffy are made to cover one third of the length of Atlantic City (about […]

via May 23rd is National Taffy Day! — Foodimentary – National Food Holidays

Founding Fathers (and First Lady Dolley Madison) Favorite Dessert

Chef Walter Staib of A Taste of History shares this vanilla ice cream recipe.  According to Chef Staib the founding fathers were critical in bringing the dessert to America, even First Lady Dolley Madison was a fan.  One respected history of ice cream states that, as the wife of U.S. President James Madison she served ice cream at her husband’s Inaugural Ball in 1813.

Vanilla Ice Cream

ice cream with peaches and raspberry sauce

This vanilla ice cream is pictured with sauce and almonds, which you may add or change to include your own toppings.

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed

Directions:

  1. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice water and setting a slightly smaller bowl atop.
  2. In a medium sized sauce pot, bring the cream, half of the sugar, and the vanilla beans and pod to a simmer
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl whisk together egg yolks and remaining sugar until light
  4. Slowly add hot cream to egg mixture, ¼ cup at a time, whisking all the while.
  5. Return the pot to the stove and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Transfer the custard to the ice bath and cool it, stirring occasionally, until it is cool to the touch. Remove from ice bath, cover, and refrigerate until cold.
  7. Spin in ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

 

DOLLY MADISON’S PEPPERMINT STICK ICE CREAM

Yield: 2 quarts
Ingredients:

Dolly Madison ice cream

20th century advertising co-opted Madison’s reputation for serving ice cream in the United States White House
Photo by Private Collection

  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 c. whole milk
  • 3/4 c. light corn syrup
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 c. cream
  • 4 drops natural peppermint extract
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  • 3/4 c. peppermint candy, crushed

 

Directions:

  1. Mix the sugar and cornstarch in the top of a double boiler.
  2. Stir in the milk, syrup and eggs.
  3. Cook over boiling water, stirring all the time for 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Chill.
  4. Stir in cream, extract and coloring.
  5. Freeze in a 2 quart ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. When partially frozen, add crushed peppermint and continue frequently.

 

Dolley Madison’s Cheese Straws

The following recipe is credited to First Lady Dolley Madison.

First Lady Dolley Madison

First Lady Dolley Madison

Dolley Payne Todd Madison (May 20, 1768 – July 12, 1849) was the wife of James Madison, President of the United States from 1809 to 1817.

According to Wikipedia, she was noted for her social gifts, which boosted her husband’s popularity as President. In this way, she did much to define the role of the President’s spouse, known only much later by the title First Lady – a function she had sometimes performed earlier for the widowed Thomas Jefferson.

Dolley Madison also helped to furnish the newly constructed White House. When the British set fire to it in 1814, she was credited with saving the classic portrait of George Washington.

In widowhood, she often lived in poverty, partially relieved by the sale of her late husband’s papers.”

Ingredients: 

  • 4 c. sharp Cheddar cheese, finely grated, room temperature
  • 1 c. butter, room temperature
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper

Directions: In a bowl, cream cheese and butter together. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly to form dough.

Roll out dough on a floured board to 1/4″ thickness.  Using a sharp knife, cut into strips about 1/2″ x 4″ wide.  Place strips on an un-greased baking sheet.

Bake 400°F for 8 minutes until golden brown.

Yield: 6 dozen

Calories:  70 calories per serving

Source: Famous White House Recipes, The American Collection Cookbooks, Volume 1

The History of Armed Forces Day courtesy of “History by Zim”

The blog “History by Zim: Beyond the Textbooks” offers an informational account of how this honor began.

 

On July 26, 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 which consolidated the military branches under the Department of Defense’s control.  In late August 1949, …

Source: The History of Armed Forces Day