A tasty turn on the usual chocolate chip cookie includes delicious dried cherries. The recipe is on the prior page.
Updated February 2009
Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Page 3: Origin Of The Washington’s Birthday Holiday
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Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12 and George Washington was born on February 22; and for more than a hundred years, in many states, the birthdays of those two great presidents were celebrated as separate holidays.
- In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, intended to create more three-day weekends for federal employees by moving the observance of three federal holidays—Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day—from fixed calendar dates to designated Mondays; and by establishing Columbus Day as a new federal holiday, also also to be observed on a Monday instead of his fixed birthday.
- From 1971 forward, the observance of Washington’s Birthday was changed from February 22 to the third Monday in February—a change that guaranteed that Washington’s Birthday would never again be celebrated on his actual birthday of February 22, as the third Monday in February will never fall any later than February 21. However, it was still called officially Washington’s Birthday.
- What about Lincoln? Early efforts to implement the Uniform Holidays Bill in 1968 proposed that the Monday of the three-day holiday be renamed “Presidents’ Day” to accommodate Lincoln’s Birthday as well; but the passed version of the bill provided only for the relocation of Washington’s Birthday. Although Lincoln's Birthday had never been designated a federal holiday, it was observed as a state holiday in many parts of the country.
- After a new federal holiday was created to honor the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1986, some states dropped the observance of Lincoln’s Birthday as a separate holiday in order to maintain a fixed number of paid holidays per year (and others never observed it in the first place).
- As a result, there is no consistency in observations across the U.S. except for federal employees. States are not obligated to observe federal holidays; they may pass their own. Some states still observe Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays as separate holidays, some states observe only Washington’s Birthday, some states commemorate both with a single Presidents’ Day (or Lincoln-Washington Day).
Cookie portrait of George Washington by RollingPinProductions.com. They’ll turn your own
portrait into cookies, too.
- An attempt to clear up some of this unfortunate mess and give back recognition to Washington and Lincoln was made through the introduction of the “Washington-Lincoln Recognition Act of 2001.” However, it failed to clear subcommittee and died without being voted upon.
The Myths About Washington
To dispel the major myths about George Washington:
- Much of what schoolchildren were taught about George Washington
for hundreds of years is false. According to MountVernon.org,
he did not have wooden teeth: He had false teeth, but they were
made of cow’s
teeth, human teeth and elephant ivory set in a lead base with
springs that allowed him to open and close his mouth. They fit
poorly and distorted the shape of his mouth—and were much more uncomfortable
than wooden choppers would have been.
- Washington did not throw a silver dollar across the Potomac River. Not only is the Potomac more than a mile wide and an Olympic discus champion might falter at that distance, but there were no silver dollars when Washington was a young man.
- Lastly, he did not chop down the cherry tree and then say to his father, “I cannot tell a lie.” Ironically, this story is itself a lie, made up by Mason Weems, an early biographer of George Washington (and a parson, no less), to illustrate Washington’s honesty.
It would also be a lie for Washington to proclaim cherry chocolate chip cookies his favorite, as neither hard chocolate nor the recipe existed in his lifetime...but we conjecture that had he had the opportunity, he very well might have said so. Perhaps even proclaimed it the national cookie!
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