Author Archives: The Historical Homemaker

Today in American History 🇺🇸

Today in American history…Andrew Johnson married Eliza McCardle on May 17, 1827. He was 18 and she was 16 years old when they were married in the small town of Warrenton, Tennessee.

Andrew and Eliza were wed by a local justice of the peace, Mordecai Lincoln. How ironic in that Mordecai was a relative of Abraham Lincoln – which some years later, would have such a huge impact on their lives.

Eliza Johnson was known to have had a calming effect on her husband – especially during the trying times of his troubled presidency.

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(Photo Credit: National Park Service)

Today in American History 🇺🇸

Today in American History…Madeleine Albright was born on May 15, 1937 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She was the first woman in US history to serve as Secretary of State and served under the Clinton administration as the 64th Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001.

“If you look at my life, generally, I’ve been put in situations that were difficult and which I conquered.” – Madeleine Albright

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National Chocolate Chip Day

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day. Here is a delicious recipe from former First Lady Laura Bush’s own personal recipe collection.

Beginning in 1992, Family Circle magazine has organized a political bake-off during every presidential election year. It was already a popular thing for the presidential candidates wives to release their family recipes during the campaign to help them become more relatable to the voters. Family Circle magazine then decided to “up the ante” by publishing cookie recipes from the wives of each presidential candidate and asked their readers to try baking both and then vote on their favorite cookie.

It’s interesting that the results of the bake-off have almost always predicted the winner of the presidential election – except for a minor few.

Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookie was in competition with Tipper Gore’s Ginger Snap cookie during the 2000 presidential election and won!

and well…the rest is history 🍪

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Happy Birthday, George Washington 🇺🇸

Today in American history…George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 at Popes Creek in Westmoreland County, Virginia to Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington. He once reflected on his mother by saying, “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

George Washington served two terms as the first President of the United States from April 30, 1789 until March 4, 1797 and has been famously referred to as the “Father of our Nation” for his distinguished leadership in the formative days of our new country.

“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” — George Washington

(Paintings by Gilbert Stuart)

Today in American History…Susan B. Anthony was Born

Today in American history…Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. She was one of our Nation’s greatest social reform and women’s rights activists and was one of the most prominent leaders in the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Her hard work and determination ultimately led to the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which allowed women the right the vote.

Remembering Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was born in 1818 during the month of February. Since he was born into slavery, there weren’t accurate records of the excact day of his birth. He chose to celebrate his birthday on February 14th remembering that his mother called him her “little Valentine.” In later years while reminiscing about his mother, he wrote:

“…My mother and I were separated when I was but an infant. … It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age. … I do not recollect of ever seeing my mother by the light of day. She was with me in the night. She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone.”

After escaping from slavery, he became a famous speaker, writer and a national leader of the abolotionionist movement. In later years, he remembered his first taste of freedom when arriving in New York City:

“I have often been asked, how I felt when first I found myself on free soil. And my readers may share the same curiosity. There is scarcely anything in my experience about which I could not give a more satisfactory answer. A new world had opened upon me. If life is more than breath, and the “quick round of blood,” I lived more in one day than in a year of my slave life. It was a time of joyous excitement which words can but tamely describe.”

During his lifetime, he wrote three autobiographies. In his first published book in 1845, he described his life as a slave in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. In 1855, My Bondage and My Freedom was published. His autobiography, LIfe and Times of Frederick Douglass was published in 1881 and revised in 1892.

Happy Birthday, President Lincoln!

Today in American history…Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. He is truly my personal favorite in that I’ve always admired his strength and tenacity to succeed. Coming from humble beginnings and born in a log cabin in Kentucky, he taught himself at a young age to read and write. He would eventually become a famous lawyer, served a term as a US Representative from Illinois (1847-1849) and then as our 16th US President (1861-1865).

Mary Todd Lincoln quite often made a “white cake” for Abraham Lincoln while they were courting and it was one of his favorites after they were married. She made it for special holidays and especially his birthday. It was also served on their table at their home in Springfield, Illinois for a reception on the evening he was first elected to the Presidency. So, I like to imagine they would have had it today as well – to celebrate his birthday.

Here is a recipe from the book, Lincoln’s Table, by Donna D. McCreary and was adapted by Janice Cooke Newman. We’ve enjoyed making it several times and it’s something you can even make in your own kitchen. How wonderful for us to be able to enjoy something the same way Abraham Lincoln once did.

Happy Birthday, Mr President! 🇺🇸

Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake

1 Cup blanched almonds, chopped in a food processor until they resemble a coarse flour
1 Cup butter
2 Cups sugar
3 Cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 Cup milk
6 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
confectionary sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan.
Cream butter and sugar. Sift flour and baking powder 3 times. Add to creamed butter and sugar, alternating with milk. Stir in almonds and beat well.

Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter. Stir in vanilla extract.

Pour into prepared pan and and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Turn out on a wire rack and cool. When cool, sift confectionary sugar over top.

A basic white frosting sprinkled with almonds was also popular.

Photo Credit: The Historical Homemaker