Wednesday, 19 February 2014 18:48

President's Day and Cherry Pie

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Family Storytelling, President's Day, Cherry PieHave you ever stumbled upon a gem of a story that was hidden away?  My sister and I uncovered a box of old cassette tapes (anyone remember those) that had me and my siblings singing, telling stories, performing piano pieces, etc.  A treasure trove of stories all waiting to be shared.  Here is one of my favorites, and we end with pie!

Does anyone else remember when we didn't celebrate President's Day, but had 2 "holidays?"  Washington's birthday, and Lincoln's birthday.  While I applaud the idea of a holiday to celebrate all our Commanders-in-Chief, I sometimes miss the focus that used to be given to 2 great men.


I have fond memories of patriotic programs performed in the elementary schools "cafegymatorium" with children in straight lines; half in tri-corner hats, and the other half in stove-pipe hats and fake beards.  Young voices would raise in choruses of "When Washington was President, a long, long time ago..." and then move on to, "When Lincoln was our President a long, long time ago... (if anyone remembers the rest of that song, I'd love to hear from you!).


One year, my brother was chosen to recite the well-known story of George Washington and the cherry tree, where it was revealed to us all that the Father of our Country couldn't tell a lie.  He was very excited to participate in the program.  My mom had the amazing foresight to take a tape recorder to the program, and record what happened for all posterity.  What was said that day has gone down in our family lore, and is told over and over.  Now, picture in your minds, a chubby 7 year old boy (who couldn't say his "R", very well) telling the following story.


"When George was a little boy, he chopped down his dad's cherry tree.  When his dad came home from work he said, 'WHO CHOPPED DOWN MY CHERRY TREE?!?'  Then George said, 'I can't believe my eyes.  I did it."


From that day to this, every year on President's day, we celebrate with a re-telling of that story and a delicious slice of cherry pie.  


For your pleasure, here is my recipe.  I've also included it as a PDF download here.


Cherry Pie

Original recipe from the Lion House Cookbook

Pastry for 9-inch pie

2 1/2 Tbs. quick cooking tapioca

1/8 tsp. salt

1 C. granulated sugar

3 C. water-packed cherries, drained, with juice reserved

6 drops of red food coloring

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1 Tbsp. butter


Line a pie plate with the bottom crust.  Set aside.

Combine tapioca, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.  Measure 1/2 cup of the reserved cherry juice and add to the bowl, along with the cherries, food coloring, and almond extract.  Mix well.  Let stand about 15 minutes and then pour into pie shell; dot with butter.

Roll top crust on top of pie and crimp.  Cut slits in the top to vent the steam.  Brush the pie crust with milk, and sprinkle with a small amount of granulated sugar (this gives the crust a nice shimmer and crunch).  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

Makes 1 pie.

Last modified on Thursday, 06 March 2014 13:16

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