Monday, February 23, 2009

George Washington's Birthday Dinner

"George Washington, Our first President, Father of our country!"
Anyone else's children sing that song endlessly? My older ones surely did.

I try to create little celebrations for my two youngest wherever possible, especially where it involves feeding people and not much else. Ol' George isn't getting any ink this year (no disrespect to Abe intended, but, hey, he'd have had no Union to save without George), bu
t we always celebrate George Washington's birthday with authentic George Washington food. Or at least, if it's not authentic, it's correct for its era, nearly 300 years ago.

My little guy likes ham, or at least as much as the little stinker likes any food (which is not much). So, yesterday we set off to buy a ham George Washington would have loved (they do call them "Virginia hams", after all!), along with proper side dishes.

So, here's most of George Washington's birthday dinner:

Glazed Virginia ham, heart attack potatoes, asparagus, applesauce, and (not shown) corn bears. The older kids concurred: George would definitely have wanted corn bears for his birthday!

And for dessert: Praline kisses. Yes. I had to use some of James Beard's praline powder somehow. It looked lonely on the door of the fridge. Maybe these aren't something George Washington did eat, but he could have. Surely there were plenty of nut trees in Virginia, and he had plenty of eggs, and I put red and blue colored sugar on them to make them
festive. So, we called them authentic, and everyone enjoyed them.


4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup praline powder

Beat the egg whites until stiff; add the extracts and sugar and beat one minute more. Beat in the praline powder. Line one or more baking tray with waxed paper or parchment, and drop in heaps on the paper. Bake at 325F for 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned, and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the paper. Makes about 24.

Happy Birthday, George Washington!


buffalodick said...

I saw a show once on that period's foods. Some was quite the same as today, but other stuff is lost to time..

Paula said...

Man oh man, I need to pick up the pace in the "good mommy" department! You are so good to your kids, and this celebration provides evidence for that! How clever! My picky eaters like ham, too, but they wouldn't touch that green stuff. Your praline kisses look great. Here's a cooking 101 question for you ... how do you save the egg yolks? Do you put them in the fridge? I remember reading somewhere to cover them with water, but that seems odd. What do you do?

Pam said...

What a fun tradition. I haven't had baked ham in years - it sounds so good.

cidell said...

What a neat family tradition.

The Blonde Duck said...

Those look so good! I love ham. Too bad Ben doesn't.

Tatersmama said...

Mmmmm. it all looks so good!
But I have to wonder if George could have eaten pralines with his false teeth?
Not that I know of any other way of eating nuts, other than with your teeth.
They look goooood though!!

Jan said...

I love baked ham, great for leftovers too. I'm sure George would have loved your praline kisses, I bet the kids did.

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

What a fantastic idea MArjie. You always do such clever things with your children. The meal looks scrumptuous! I love the pralines kisses. What a feast.