I guess I was actually thinking about Barbara Fritchie. I am forgetting my fifth grade history lessons. Barbara Fritchie, was from Frederick, and the Whittier poem about her is from the Civil War. Betsy Ross, equally sentimentalized and linked to our nation’s flag, was from Philadelphia, where she sewed the first flag, the Stars and Stripes, in 1776. Or maybe 1777. History is a little vague about this Colonial American legend.
I remember reading a fifth grade-level bio about Betsy Ross, where she smartly showed George Washington (who came to her upholstery shop, to personally discuss the flag situation with her) the beauty and economy of motion required to make a five-pointed star, when he and Congress had wanted six-point stars. It was easy to trim a five-pointer out of fabric, which she demonstrated with aplomb. I suppose it is a daydream worthy of a hardworking seamstress. http://historicphiladelphia.org/betsy-ross-house/what-to-see/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw6IfoBRCiARIsAF6q06u-QI74ao7rqysARw6DSqRL6XLQhkQxM2mrbOAdTCxaQlEB2caAhkEaAt0BEALw_wcB
Flag Day commemorates the day that the United States adopted this flag design (maybe sewn by Betsy Ross – her grandchildren waited 100 years before making their claims on the flag’s origins) on June 14, 1777. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day. And so it goes.
I have decorated our window boxes and the pots of unhappy geraniums on the front porch with lots of little American flags. I am waiting for the Fourth of July before I break out the bunting and flag swags. I am also waiting until the Fourth rolls around before I start to bake (or assemble) labor intensive flag-inspired dishes. I think Betsy Ross would agree with me – speed and efficiency are required. And so, instead, tonight Mr. Friday and I will indulge in a couple of Betsy Ross-inspired cocktails. But you might want to be a little splashier with your patriotic gestures, so here are a couple of red, white and blue recipes to get you started.
This first recipe is pretty easy, and colorful. But HUGE! If you are having a neighborhood Flag Day Fete it will be perfect. You can substitute whipped cream or vanilla pudding for the custard. Vanilla ice cream works, too. It all depends on what kind of Friday you have had. Simplify!
Betsy Ross’ Berries
3 pints cleaned raspberries
3 pints cleaned blueberries
Creamy Custard Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
4 beaten eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In large saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, sale and milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil; stir and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir a little cooked custard mixture into 4 beaten eggs; return eggs to saucepan; stir well to blend thoroughly. Stir in sour cream and vanilla; blend well. Remove custard to medium bowl, cover and refrigerate until serving. Makes 3 cups.
In large bowl, gently mix together both berries. Portion about 1/2-3/4 cup berries into individual serving dishes; top each serving with about 1/4 cup Creamy Custard Sauce. Makes 12-16 servings.
Patriotic Angel Food Cake
The Classic Fourth of July Sheet Cake
Betsy Ross Burgers – of course!
Our Flag Day option:
Betsy Ross Cocktail
2 ounces Cognac
3/4 ounce Ruby Port
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Grated nutmeg, as garnish
Shake with ice.
There is another cocktail recipe from Epicurious that calls for a raw egg yolk. Your call – but I am not inclined to try that one. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/betsy-ross-200071
Betsy Ross (and Barbara Fritchie), we salute you!
‘“Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country’s flag,” she said.
A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;
The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman’s deed and word:
“Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!” he said.’
-John Greenleaf Whittier