Thursday, June 24, 2010

Apple Date Nut Brownies and James Madison


These brownies were probably the easiest recipe I have made from the book yet!

One of the biggest ingredients is dark brown sugar which is combined with butter in a saucepan over low heat. Then I beat in an egg, and vanilla extract.

I added flour, baking powder and salt to this mixture, and then added in apples (which had been tossed in flour), dates, and pecans.

All this went into a greased pan, and then baked for 35 minutes. Easy!

They were sooooo good when they were done, we can't seem to stop eating them! (That's why the picture shows them half gone already lol)

These were in the section of James Madison, our 4th president.

To be accurate, this recipe was not written by the Madisons, but there was a cookbook called Montpelier Hospitality filled with this history and traditions of the Montpelier home where both James and Dolley lived, so it is possible that they did enjoy these brownies.

In any case, Dolley loved to throw parties, and one of the main things that she is remembered for is how she loved to entertain. They probably originally met at one of her parties, she would throw parties for the wives of the Cabinet, and even when they had to live in a small space because the White House had burned down, she still threw parties! (They were called "Mrs. Madison's squeezes").

James Madison is known as the "father of the Constitution." He is also well known for being in office and strongly supporting Congress to start the war of 1812 with Britain. During this war, the White House was taken by the British and set on fire.

He was the shortest president to date at 5 feet, 4 inches and weighing only 100 pounds! Its weird for me to think of a president as that much smaller than me!

He was a bachelor until age 43 when he met widowed Dolley, and married her and adopted her then 2 year old son, who they raised together.

Only James Madison and George Washington were presidents who also signed the Constitution.

He was the first president to wear pants instead of the older fashion of breeches (which stopped right below the knee).

And I think the most interesting fact I found (though like a bad blogger, I can't remember where now) is that at the end of his life he started editing previous papers that he had, like letters, including changing what Thomas Jefferson wrote to him. Apparently he wanted to improve his legacy after he was gone.

After reading through his quotes, I also found that he was an extremely strong supporter of the separation of church and state. He had seen what damage forcing people to follow a certain church or religion had done in Europe, and he wanted to ensure that it was avoided in the United States.

Some of his quotes:

An interesting, and controversial quote- America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity. That part of America which had encouraged them most had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture and the arts.
James Madison

As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.
James Madison

If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
James Madison

Let me recommend the best medicine in the world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant country, in easy stages.

James Madison

The capacity of the female mind for studies of the highest order cannot be doubted, having been sufficiently illustrated by its works of genius, of erudition, and of science.
James Madison
(Wow! For someone of that era to say something like that is really cool!)

The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.
James Madison

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