29 Oct 2015 – Restoration of Historic Barnes House at Montclair Community Library

On 29 Oct 2015, the Montclair Community Library in Prince William County held a ribbon cutting ceremony.  The community has waited for this library to be completed since the early 1990s!  Following is a picture of the new library.

 

Montclair Public Library Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - 29 Oct 2015

Montclair Public Library Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – 29 Oct 2015

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28 Oct 2015 – Uncle Nick’s Cookies (Pizzelle)

There is a story that goes along with this recipe.  When my husband was a child at Grandma Flagella’s house, she would make NICKs.  It was only years later we learned the ordinary name, Pizzelle.  Grandpa’s brother Nick made two Pizzelle irons, one for his wife and one for our Grandma which had the name NICK built into the iron. The iron was black and heavy with two long arms, you made one NICK at a time, putting the iron on an open gas burner on the stove, then flipping it over to cook the other side.  Grandma would do a few then order her grandchildren into a line, and we would take turns like at a playground slide doing one or two cookies then running to the back of the line.  No one could eat a NICK until a large bowl was full, and Grandma bought the bowl to my Grandpa bowing down as she offered the cookies to him.  He always refused with a loud “NO!” turning his torso away with his arms folded.  Grandma flashed a mischievous smile, then we could dive in.  I asked my mother the story about grandma’s grin.  But that’s enough for now.  Eat your NICKs!
Ingredients
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup butter melted and cooled
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp vanilla or anise, also can use almond flavoring
Instructions
  • Mix all ingredients together and let rest.
  • Heat Pizzelle iron until hot.
  • Place a tsp. of batter into the center of the iron, count 30 seconds to see if they are the color you want (depends on your iron) remove and place on wax paper to cool.
  • Store in metal tins – 3 lb coffee cans work well.
  • Do not make when raining they will not be crisp.

26 Oct 2015 – Alexandria, VA – Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial

As you know, I live near Washington D.C. which is full of history!  I recently discovered a historic site in my local area that I think is worth a post, the Contrabands and Freedman Cemetery Memorial in Alexandria, VA.

During the Civil War, there were many slaves that fled to Alexandria for freedom and a better way of life.  There were so many freedmen (called contrabands) moving to this area because of the Union occupation, that it created a refugee crisis.  Many arrived destitute, in ill-health, and hungry.  Initially, the government placed the contraband in barracks, but disease ran rampant and many died.

In 1864, after hundreds had perished, the Superintendent of Contrabands ordered that a property on the southern edge of town, across from the Catholic cemetery, be confiscated for use as a cemetery.  

In the first year, burials included those of black soldiers, but African-American troops recuperating in Alexandria’s hospitals demanded that blacks be given the honor of burial in the Soldiers’ Cemetery, now Alexandria National Cemetery. The soldiers’ graves were disinterred and moved to the military cemetery in January 1865.  The last burial in Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery took place in January 1869.  (Source:  Contrabands and Freedmen Memorial)

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24 Oct 2015 – Italian Black Pepper Cookies

Solo-on-a-plate
Ingredients:
  • 2 to 2/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
 Directions:
  • Put flour in a bowl, make a well & add the oil, eggs, salt, fennel seeds, black pepper, and baking powder.
  • Mix well with a wooden spoon to form a large ball, then just take a pinch at a time & twist or braid also can roll into balls. Can make them large or small.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  • You may frost with powdered sugar icing if you wish.
Directions for Powdered sugar Icing (makes a lot so you may want to cut in half):
  • 1  box of powdered sugar
  • A few tablespoons of milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or anise flavoring
  • Combine sugar, milk and flavoring in a medium bowl, stirring well until you dissolve all the sugar – (I use a whisk)

24 Oct 2015 – Wakes In The Home

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When my mother Alice was growing up, wakes were actually held in the homes. When a family member died, the funeral home prepared the body, placed it in the casket, and delivered it to the home.  During the wake, friends and family would come to pay their respects.  The wake was a celebration of life with food and drink.

My mother remembers her great-grandmother (Laura Washington) and grandfather (Joseph Brown) having a wake held in their home.  Based on the time of the funeral, the body would be delivered to the home the day before, and be available until an hour or two prior to the funeral which was held in the church.

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