Tag Archives: holiday

stars and stripes.

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The designer of our current 50-star flag was Robert Heft. It was 1958 and there was some talk that Alaska and Hawaii were going to officially become states 49 and 50. One of his high school teachers capitalized on the current events of the day and had his students design a new flag incorporating the two new states. Inspired by Betsy Ross, (and cutting up his parents’ flag), Heft did just that, arranging the stars so it wasn’t very evident that he had added any. His teacher gave him a B-, saying that the design was unoriginal. When Heft balked at the grade, his teacher told him that if he could get the flag adopted by Congress, he would bump the grade up to an A. Heft jumped at the opportunity, sent the flag to his congressman, and after a long campaign and a refusal to give up,  he ended up getting the flag approved. Heft got his ‘A’ as promised. Since then, Heft’s original homemade flag has flown over every single state capitol building, over 88 U.S. embassies, and over the White House for five administrations. He is now deceased, but has left behind a design with 51 stars ready to go if the need arises.

 

happy 4th of july!

 

 

 

credits: mental floss, quora, wiki, readers digest

bunny slippers.

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happy easter to those both near and far

hoping we can gather together again before too long

 

“bunny slippers remind me of who i am. you can’t get a swelled head if you wear bunny slippers. you can’t lose your sense of perspective and start acting like a star or a rich lady if you keep on wearing bunny slippers. besides, bunny slippers give me confidence because they are so jaunty. they make a statement; they say, “nothing in the world does to me can ever get me so down that i can’t be silly and frivolous.”

-dean koontz

 

 

image credit – Eli Halpin, Carrot Cake in Blush

sweet thing.

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Theories abound as to the origins of Russian cake. The popular legend goes that it was created by a New Orleans baker who ran out of ingredients to bake a proper cake for the Russian Grand Duke Alexis when the latter visited New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 1872. But the late food historian Michael Mizell-Nelson put this theory to rest, writing that there was no documentation to confirm this story. Mizell-Nelson offered instead that Russian cake may have been an offshoot of the raspberry trifle, or even the Austrian/German punschtorte. The latter features a “punch” of cake and biscuit scraps mixed with rum, cocoa, and jam that gets sandwiched between layers of sponge cake. Another inspiration for the Louisiana Russian Cake may have been the Charlotte à la Russe, a popular dessert in the 18th and 19th centuries, in which a cake mold was lined with stale bread or cake then filled with cream or trifle and set with a layer of gelatin. 

Today’s Russian cake is rich and moist, and bakers advise moderation in its enjoyment. It is soaked in rum, padded with jam, and covered in a dense layer of icing topped with sprinkles, making for quite the sugar bomb. Sometimes anise extract is used to enhance flavor. While this is decadent, it pales in comparison to some versions: A recipe for a giant Russian cake, found in the archives of The Times-Picayune from the 1980s, and submitted by a reader from Lafayette, called for 15 pounds of cake leftovers and serious carpentry skills. A mold made of a customized bottomless wooden frame that was 14 inches long, 10 inches wide, and seven inches deep would first need to be made. The cake scraps, along with two glassfuls of jelly, four and a half cups of sugar, a bit of rum, and two boxes of white cake mix, yielded a 21-pound Russian cake. Sometimes (only sometimes), there really can be too much of a sweet thing.

“a party without cake is just a meeting.” ~Julia Child

 Happy Mardi Gras!