It’s April in New England, where we love to celebrate Patriot’s Day, and some of us tend to get a little nostalgic about everything ‘military’ and our family members who have served.
Today I was imagining a scenario of significance in my life…
My Dad had just arrived home from Vietnam. An air traffic controller in the service, handsome, hopeful and quick to find love; and he found what he was looking for in the slightly older, dark-haired beauty I would one day come to call “mom”.
Not too long after, their love child is me.
Apparently, I was conceived in the free spirit of 1969, in the lust and freedom of the time. I love that. No, I REALLY love that. I hope it was at Woodstock while Richie Haven’s was playing ”Freedom” or while Janis Joplin was playing “Piece of my Heart.”
Or, better yet, when they got home – maybe my father made her a romantic dinner and they listened to Ray Charles’ singing ‘Makin’ Whoopee.”
It’s strange, even as we grow older ourselves, to imagine our parents having the same type of smiles, trials, adventures, emotions, worries, joys and complexity of lives that we’ve experienced. That whole piece we missed before we were born, when they were carefree and young in a world just as wonderful and crazy as our own (but in such different ways).
Now it’s a lifetime later, the circle has come around again, and I have a handsome, hopeful of my own. I hope my parents experienced some of the beautiful things we have…the traveling, the inside jokes, the funny moments and the happy tears…and I hope that you will, too.
In the meantime – go make some some ‘Whoopee’ (pies) of your own 🙂
Recipe: “Whoopee” Pies
- 2/3 cup Crisco
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- 2 1/2 cups Marshmallow Fluff
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- To make cookies, beat 2/3 cup of vegetable shortening with 2 cups of sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until the mixture is creamy.
- Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
- Whisk together 4 cups of flour, the cocoa powder, and baking soda
- Beat the flour mixture into the vegetable shortening mixture, alternating with the milk.
- Drop dough by tablespoon onto baking sheets, about 2 inches apart, making the cookies as round as possible.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes.
- Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add in vanilla and salt. Beat in fluff until incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Refrigerate filling until slightly firm, about 30 minutes.
- Dollop 1/3 cup filling on center of flat side of 6 cakes.
- Top with flat side of remaining 6 cakes and gently press until filling spreads to edge of cake.
Tip by the New England Innkeeper:
I recommend Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa! It is inexpensive and has great chocolate flavor with a lot of depth.
Patriot’s Day is a civic holiday that commemorates the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which began the Revolutionary War. It is celebrated on the third Monday of April in Massachusetts and Maine – schools, libraries and some government offices are closed for the day. The Boston Marathon, which is the country’s oldest marathon dating back to 1897, is always held on Patriots’ Day, allowing schoolchildren and other workers who have the day off to attend. Aside from the marathon, the day is often marked by Revolutionary War reenactments, in which people dressed as Minutemen recreate the initial battles of the Revolution.