Who chopped down that cherry tree? I cannot tell a lie…it was NOT George Washington! While the myth about young George cutting down his father’s favorite fruit tree has persisted in the public consciousness for more than two centuries, it never really happened.
A contributing writer for the popular McGuffey Reader series named Mason L. Weems published a story for boys meant to show the type of heroic character Washington had at a young age. That is, if he did something such as chop down his father’s favorite cherry tree, young George would be brave and honest and admit it to his father. Even though advertisers and school bulletin boards continue to promote the myth to this day, there is no historical basis for the story.
On the other hand, George Washington did love cherries, and they were often featured in both family meals and large gatherings at his Mt. Vernon estate in Virginia where he and Martha frequently entertained.
For President’s Day this year, why not help your family learn more facts about the remarkable “Father of Our Country”? And while you’re sitting around the table, try these updated versions of two favorite traditional recipes.
Black Cherry Pork Chops
4 – 6 boneless pork chop medallions
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
Dash of black pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 Tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped green onion
½ teaspoon chopped parsley
1 ½ cups fresh black (Bing) cherries, halved and pitted
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
½ cup chicken broth (or beef for a heartier flavor.)
1 Tablespoon honey
Mix together the cornstarch, salt, pepper, and dried rosemary. Lightly coat both sides of each pork chop. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat and lightly brown the pork chops on both sides until done (about 5-7 minutes). Set aside.
Melt butter in the skillet and sauté the chopped green onions. Add the broth, vinegar, honey and mustard. Blend well. Stir in the cherries and let simmer on medium low for about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Put the pork chops back into the skillet and spoon the cherry sauce over each. Continue to simmer about 2 more minutes. Garnish with another dash of rosemary.
1 cup toasted almonds – chopped
½ cup dried cherries – chopped
1 cup rice crisp cereal
2 Tablespoons butter
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside. In medium bowl, toss together the chopped almonds and chopped cherries. Set aside. Using a heavy bottomed sauce pan or double-boiler, melt butter on lowest heat. Slowly add the bag of chocolate chips, stirring gently until melted and smooth. Fold in the almonds and cherries. Finally, add the rice crisp cereal and stir gently until all is coated with chocolate. Remove from heat and quickly spoon out small mounds on the wax paper. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes. Enjoy!