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Dear Customers,

                 Today is President’s Day if you’re reading this on-line!  Or, it was Monday (2 days ago) if you had to wait to get the Moneysaver in your mail a day late due to Monday’s federal holiday!  Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was February 12th and George Washington’s not till the 22nd but due to the magic of creative schedule manipulation (aka The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971), both days have been rolled into one – the third Monday in February!  And to add further insult to injury, President’s Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. Presidents – past and present!

                Depending upon your political affiliation, you’re probably like most Americans in that you can think of several presidents you don’t mind honoring on President’s Day and an even greater number of them that you’d definitely exclude.  I suppose that’s the inherent problem with a “catch-all” celebration.  In trying to appeal to everyone, no one is completely satisfied.  Other than no mail, no government and no school, this holiday is most noted for, of all things, retail!  Every car dealer, clothing store or furniture retailer takes advantage of the occasion to run a special weekend President’s Day Sale-a-Bration!  Apparently sleeping on a new mattress is the perfect way to pay homage to our commander-in-chief.

                While myths regarding George Washington abound, my personal favorite was always the one where a six-year old Washington replied under questioning, “I cannot tell a lie, I cut down your cherry tree, Father”!  If this actually happened it was never historically documented and is instead attributed to one of Washington’s first biographers, Mason Locke Weems, writing long after his death.  In the biography, The Life of Washington, the cherry tree story didn’t even appear until the fifth edition published in 1806, seven years after Washington died.   What were Weem’s motives for his fabrication?  Profit was most likely the chief reason, but Weems also felt it painted the father of our country in a very favorable light and cast him as virtuous role model for the nation’s youth. 

                Oddly enough the cherry has withstood the centuries becoming the everlasting symbol of Washington’s birthday.  We have homemade cherry pies, cherry fry cake donuts, cherry flavored cookies, etc in our bakery and cherry pie filling is on sale in our grocery ad.  While canned pie filling is convenient to use, if you want to bake a truly delicious cherry pie for your family (or just for yourself) you need to step it up a little bit.  My mother began using two cookbooks as a young bride in the mid 1930’s; The Betty Crocker Cook Book and the Better Homes & Gardens Cook book.  Both are still available and the Betty Crocker “Picture” Cook Book even has the same pictures and drawings used in the original edition – featuring housewives in dresses and aprons!

                To start with you need (3) 15oz cans of sour, pitted cherries.  The kind that are packed in water and found with the canned fruits.  They’re expensive but you’ll be able to taste the difference.  Drain the cherries and dump into a bowl, add 3 tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca, 1 ½ cups sugar and ¼ teaspoon of almond extract.  Let this mixture stand for 5 minutes before pouring into your pie crust.  Add the top crust and put a few slices in the top for ventilation.  Bake at 400°F for 40 to 50 minutes until the crust is golden brown.  Cool before serving.  Is it a little more involved than opening a can of pie filling or thawing a frozen cherry pie?  Yes – but it’s obviously worth it.  Once you taste this, you’ll be a cherry pie fan for life!  Happy birthday, George . . . and thanks.