Saturday, June 14, 2008

Flag Day Recipes

It's Flag Day!

There's going to be a quiet celebration over at the National Flag Day Foundation in Waubeka Wisconsin, birth place of National Flag Day. The celebration honors the ladies of the Veteran Ladies Auxiliary. What a wonderful website they have. It's filled with history especially interesting is the story of 19 year old school teacher Bernard John Cigrand. In 1885, he had his students write essays on what the flag meant to them. Intersting...I've added a few other links below that share the history of Flag Day, including flag etiquette and a link which claims a list of "high quality flag and patriotic-related sites available on the internet."

I thought it might be fun to celebrate Flag Day with a few recipes from American Cookery Magazine. If you're looking for recipes, I posted a recipe for Betsy Ross Pound Cake and Betsy Ross Cake below. Plus there's more recipe links in the resource section.

My collection of American Cookery Magazines (formerly the Boston Cooking School Magazine...) is my personal favorite part of my cookbook collection. I've been wanting to celebrate them in June because it was in June of 1896 that The Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science And Domestic Economics first issue appeared. Below is an editorial from the 1908 June-July issue.

"The Cooking School Magazine is now twelve years old. The present number is the first of a new volume. In its special line of endeavor the magazine has come to hold a place secondary to no other. From the first issue in June 1896, an even, steady growth in favor and esteem has marked its progress. A helpful, progressive spirit has inspired its every endeavor. In the reliable, everyday service, which it aims to render in the household, the magazine today has few rivals, none, perhaps, of equal influence and authority. Advertises have ever found the pages of the magazine a safe and sure medium in which to represent articles of real worth and utility. The actual results received by them have most invariably justified the confidence they have placed in the patronage. The favors of our patrons are highly esteemed, and a continuation of the same in the future is earnestly solicited by us. In no way can our readers cooperate with and aid us so much, in extending the useful service of the magazine, as by bringing it favorably to the notice of neighbors and friends. Were the number of our readers twice or thrice as large as it is at present, we could render them even better service than we are now doing. In numbers there is strength. We consider that nothing is too good to set before the readers of The Cooking School Magazine"

Betsy Ross & the American Flag

Did Betsy Ross really sew the First American Flag? Oh, I don't know. Does anyone really know? The whole story seems to be one of those urban legends, perhaps the first. There's quite a debate as to whether it was sewn by Betsy Ross or inspired by Francis Hopkinson. I'm sticking with Betsy. After all, I did a report on her when I was in grade school. Before we get to the recipes, perhaps we should discuss the make up of the American Flag.

The colors of the flag denote the struggle for freedom. The stars represent the colonies. The red color, which is separated, signifies the separation of America from the rule of Great Britain. The pointed stars represent the colonies under united governing body. The designing and colors spread over the flag, manifest loyalty, honor and essence of patriotism that kindled in the hearts of those who fought for freedom. Therefore, Flag Day recognizes the work of those who created such an amazing piece of work that displays patriotism and independence.

Previous to Flag Day, June 14, 1923 there were no federal or state regulations governing display of the United States Flag. Flag abuse seems to run rampant between the holidays of Flag Day and the 4th of July. Bakeries design flag cakes, donut shops sell flag donuts. I've even seen flag cookies. So, is a cake decorated with a flag drawn with icing a violation of the Flag Code? Although, there is nothing specific in the Flag Code regarding the use of the American flag as food. It does say:

"No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America.""... It should not be ... printed or otherwise impressed on ... anything that is designed for temporary use and discard." The icing on a cake would generally be eaten, digested, and "discarded" in a most disrespectful way. We suggest that it is an inappropriate display of the flag. source

There's quite an array of recipes on the internet with Betsy Ross in their title. I have listed a few below. I was delighted to find the following Betsy Ross Pound Cake recipe in Aunt Caroline's Dixieland Recipes.(1922) which is available online here.

Betsy Ross Pound Cake
One pound of flour
Three-fourths pound of butter
One pound of sugar
Twelve eggs
Cream butter and about two-thirds of the flour together. Beat whites of eggs to a stiff froth, beat yolks of eggs and sugar together until very light. Mix thoroughly all the ingredients, stirring in last the loose flour. Bake in a slow oven until done.
Betsy Ross Cake As promised, below is a recipe for Betsy Ross Cake published in the 1936 June-July issue of American Cookery Magazine. I find recipes like this in paragraph form to be a bit confusing sometimes. I suggest reading through the recipe first before beginning. The recipe reads as follows:

Betsy Ross Cake: A patriotic cake designed for use on Flag Day uses thirteen stars as the decorative motif.

Betsy Ross Cake
To prepare the cake, cream 1/2 c. butter and add gradually, while still beating, 1 cup of sugar. Sift 3 teaspoonfuls of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 2 cups of flour. Add alternately with 1/2 cup of milk. Beat all together, add 1 teaspoonful of vanilla flavoring and fold in the whites of 3 eggs which have been beaten stiff. Pour into two 9 inch layer pans, well greased, and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
For the third layer of cake, cream 1/4 cup of butter, add gradually 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 square and 1/2 of unsweetened chocolate which has been melted cool. Next add the yolks of 2 eggs which have been beaten until thick and lemon colored. Sift together 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoonful and 1/2 of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoonful of salt. Add alternately to the first mixture with 1/4 cup of milk and 1/2 teaspoonful of vanilla. Bake in one 9 inch layer pan at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
Remove the layer cakes from the pans and cool. Arrange them with the chocolate layer in the middle. Spread Butter Frosting between layers and over cake. Decorate with 13 stars made of tiny red candies and fashion the date with candies. Light 13 red and white candles in the center.
Butter Frosting: Cream 3 tablespoonfuls of butter and add 3 cups of confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoonful and 1/2 of vanilla and enough warm milk to make frosting of the right consistency to spread well.

There are so many things I wish to share with you from this issue of American Cookery but alas, that is not possible today. A few highlights from this issue include, an article titled A Cup, A Plate, a Dish, a Bowl which discusses Horace Walpole and china collecting, Picnics Then and Now, and Yes, I'll Have Six Nice Alaska Reindeer Chops, Please. Take my word for it, those are just a few of the "tasty" articles. I did find another recipe I would like to share. I am under the impression that June 15th is National Lobster Day. I don't know, there seems to be a debate as to whether it is the 13th or the 15th. Whatever day it is, I thought I would include a scanned recipe for Miriam's Baked Stuffed Lobster. The recipe comes from Miriam's Tea House which was in Rye, New Hampshire. Also included in this scan is a recipe titled Williams Inn Cream Roquefort Dressing which you may find interesting. Just as a note, if you have a hankering for yet another recipe from the Williams Inn, Lydia over at The Perfect Pantry has a recipe posted for Boston Brown Bread. As a last touch, I have included another scanned page (click any images to enlarge) from the same issue of American Cookery. It's titled Patriotic Days. It is a menu selection to celebrate A Shore Luncheon, A Buffet Supper or simply Red, White Blue. Enjoy Flag Day!

1. History Of Flag Day
2. Traditional Ways to Wave Old Glory
3. Flag Rules & Regulations
4. Long may it wave! (best website for links)
5. National Flag Day Society
6. Important Dates in the History of the American Flag Recipe: Flag Cake
7. Betsy Ross and the American Flag
8. Francis Hopkinson
9. Betsy Ross - Facts versus Fiction
10. National Lobster

1. Betsy Ross Cake
2. Betsy Ross Berries with Creamy Custard Sauce
3. Betsy Ross Cocktail
4. Betsy Ross Punch


  1. I love all the Betsy Ross recipes - just right for Flag Day (I forgot about Flag Day, since I have lived in Canada for roughly half my life now). And those American Cookery magazines are perfectly splendid! How lovely to have them...

    Hope your foot is improving BTW -

  2. I only have a few issues of the American Cookery magazines. I do wish I had more. Interesting and informative post, as always!

  3. Hi Lidian

    Thanks so much for dropping in.

    I thought about waiting til July 4th but Flag Day and Betsy Ross recipes just seem to blend so well together.

    Now, if I could start on the Godey's!

  4. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for visiting and thank you for the kind comments.

    American Cookery Magazines are getting so difficult to find. I'm thinking about trading my duplicates for those I still need but, I hate to part with any.

  5. I will have to try the Betsy Ross Cake - I really enjoy recipes named for historic figures. You've also got me curious about the American Cookery magazine.

  6. Hi T.W.

    The magazines are just filled with all kinds of interesting tidbits. They are indeed my favorites!

    I'm hoping someone bakes the Betsy Ross cake for the 4th of July. Any volunteers?

  7. I see there are two complete sets of American Cookery Magazine from 36 and '37 for 12.00 each on ebay. Is that a good price? I would like to have some copies they sound very interesting.

  8. Hi Rochelle,
    Thanks for dropping in. Let me put it this way, if I didn't already have those almost completed years (I'm missing 1 from each year:) You would have competition on eBay. $12.00 for a complete set sounds like a great buy to me. You won't be disappointed. I've seen 1 issue go for as much. Also note, the June/July issues are usually combined as one. Good LUCK! Let us know how you do.

  9. Thanks for sharing Betsy Ross Pound Cake recipe.


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise