Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese Cookbook - 100th Anniversary" - Garden Macaroni Salad for Flag Day

Date I made this recipe:  June 14, 2015 – Flag Day!

The Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese Cookbook – 100th anniversary by The Kraft Kitchens, Consumer Affairs Department
Published by:  Kraft, Inc.
© 1981
Purchased at BCPA – Bloomington Crime Prevention Association – annual book sale, June 2015
Recipe:  Garden Macaroni Salad – p. 45

Yesterday was Flag Day and I know you all know this because your calendar likely told you so.  And this is a good thing because otherwise, many a holiday would fly under the radar, unnoticed by one and all.

Andy and I don't have a flag to fly for the occasion (my parents did though, and I think at last count when I cleaned out their house was four – impressive!), but in my book, we had the next best thing:  a Philadelphia cookbook, from Philadelphia Cream Cheese, to honor the only, the only, the flag-sewer herself, Betsy Ross who hailed from Philadelphia. 

I sincerely hope that high school history classes cover Betsy Ross and her flag, but in case they didn't, here's a little tutorial:  Betsy (Elizabeth) Griscom, born January 1, 1752 in Philadelphia, died January 30, 1836, in Philadelphia, is credited with creating the American flag although according to Wikipedia, no concrete proof exists to show she did.  Well, let's just give her the benefit of the doubt, shall we?  I mean, we can look out our windows and see flags everywhere so somebody figured out how to sew them and if not Betsy, then who?  Exactly.

Surprisingly, Betsy was married three times  and whoa! -  I do not recall getting this information in any of my history classes! Husband number one was John Ross – thus her last name – and their marriage turned out to be controversial in that she was a Quaker and he was an Anglican.  The Quaker religion did not want its members marrying outside the Quaker faith and she was expelled from her family and her friends.  Seems a tad harsh but she got the last laugh when she and John Ross started and ran upholstery business which is how she likely acquired her valuable sewing skills. (By the way, I could not type "John Ross" without inserting the last name of "Ewing" from the TV show, Dallas. I can't help it, my brain just goes there.)

After John Ross died in 1776, she married husband number two, Joseph Ashburn, but alas, he died in 1782.  So onto husband number three she went, John Claypool, who managed to last 34 years with Betsy before dying in 1817.  Good heavens.  Betsy though, lived until the ripe old age of 84, and so thank goodness for that!  Men did not fare all that well in the early years of this country's founding.  (The source for most of this information came from

As to the flag, it was rumored to have been created after a visit by George Washington, or at least that's the story that's told at the Betsy Ross house in Philly.  Hey, it works for me.

Given that I seem to have a cookbook to mark every occasion, I am sad to report that I didn't have anything for flag day nor did I have – like I thought I had – a Philadelphia cookbook.  I could have sworn that I had one from the Philadelphia Museum of Art but it turns out the cookbook was from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  Well – oh-so-close, am I right?  

Left without a good, bona fide source, I turned to Martha Stewart, who had she been alive at the time, might have instructed Betsy on how to sew the flag together because Martha is like that you know.  In fact, Martha has probably sewn her own flag, but only after dyeing the fabric she probably wove with her own two hands into red, white and blue, using fruits like raspberries and blueberries grown on her property in Maine.  Actually, I am sure she would have left the "white" fabric alone as that is how it would have been done back then and our Martha is a stickler for detail. 

Anyway, the best recipes I could find befitting a Flag Day observance were from Martha's American Food cookbook (as yet unused) .  Up for consideration was a Chicken Pot Pie (very colonial) as well as a Mile-High Apple Pie (very American) but the making of each of these would have had me in the kitchen for days on end and so I passed.  I mean, not to whine, but for the pot pie, I would have had to capture and pluck a chicken cook the chicken separately and then all the vegetables separately and then make a crust separately and...and...and....zzzzzz.  Same with the pie; silly Martha wanted me to peel 5 freaking pounds of apples for this mile-high pie.  I should think not.  Still, it was my only hope until....

...I spied The Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese Cookbook I had set aside for the 4th of July.  Screw that!  We needed a Flag Day-related recipe and we needed it now.  This was a Code Red if we ever saw one.  And so I made the Garden Macaroni Salad recipe on Flag Day, bought a rotisserie chicken from Kowalski's to go with it and ta da – dinner!

Now if you've read my last two blogs, you are probably thinking that I was all kinds of crazy to make yet another dish with cream cheese but folks, the third time was the charm.  This was easy and delicious.  And although I had my heart set on making this salad, everything else in the book looked awesome, most especially, and I know you will laugh, the Frosted Sandwich Loaf found on p. 35.  I remember seeing these sandwiches in many a cookbook while I was growing up and loved them because they were just so pretty!  My mom may have made them for a bridge party once or twice although I can't recall for sure.  Yet another mystery – like Betsy Ross' flag-making – that will go unsolved.

I don't think you can go wrong with any recipe in this book – well, except for Peppermint Cheesecake (p. 124) but that's because I hate peppermint – but I will surely double back come the holiday season to make some of the cookies and bars for my annual holiday party – yum!

So here you go and unless I find another Flag Day-related cookbook for next year, this may be it folks so make it and enjoy it!

Garden Macaroni Salad – 6 to 8 servings
2 cups (7 oz.) elbow macaroni, cooked, drained
1 cup chopped cucumber
½ cup chopped green pepper
½ cup radish slices
2 tablespoons chopped onion
½ teaspoon salt
1 8-oz. pkg. Philadelphia Brand cream cheese
¼ cup Kraft mayonnaise
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon Kraft Prepared mustard

Combine macaroni, cucumber, green pepper, radishes, onion and salt; mix well.  Combine softened cream cheese and remaining ingredients, mixing until well blended.  Add to macaroni mixture; mix lightly.  Spoon and gently press into lightly oiled 6-1/2 cup ring mold; chill several hours or overnight.  Unmold onto serving plate.  Garnish with cucumber slices and radish roses, if desired.  Variation: Substitute lightly oiled 9-inch springform pan with ring insert for ring mold.*

*Ann's Note:  Or, you could pull out the ring mold, in this case my mother's, look at it, decide it's too much work to oil (!) and just leave the macaroni mixture in the bowl you mixed it in. 

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