Think coffee is just for drinking? Think again.
By Donna Zitter Bordelon
President Andrew Jackson added coffee to the official military food rations in 1832. In Civil War soldiers’ diaries, the word “coffee” was used more than the words “bullet,” “cannon,” “slavery,” “war,” “Lincoln” or “mother.” Apparently, they loved their coffee. In Union soldier Ebenezer Nelson Gilpin’s words, “Nobody can soldier without coffee.”
Union soldiers were regularly issued coffee beans. Many regiments were even issued special rifles, one per 100-man company, that had a coffee grinder built into the butt stock. On the other hand, the Confederate army was cut off from coffee-import sources, and usually had to substitute chicory or burnt corn for the precious beans. To the Confederates, coffee became as highly prized as shoes.
Union soldiers at the bloody Battle of Antietam, which began before daylight, didn’t have time to eat breakfast. By afternoon, a 19-year-old commissary sergeant from Company E of the 23rd Ohio Infantry assembled volunteers to man a mobile field kitchen, serving food and coffee. Who knew then that this sergeant would become our 25th president — William McKinley. Could lack of a cup of Joe have been the reason the South lost the war?
A “Cup of Joe” is a nickname for a cup of coffee, and one theory traces its origin to a Navy veteran. Near the beginning of WWI, U.S. Navy Secretary Josephus “Joe” Daniels issued a ban on alcohol on all Navy ships. The strongest drink a sailor could get on board was a cup of coffee. In protest, sailors angry about the ban started to call a cup of coffee a “Cup of Joe.”
From the foxholes and trenches of combat zones to the offices of the Pentagon, coffee has been and still remains a military staple. Treat a veteran to a cup of coffee on Nov. 11, or better yet, brew your favorite to serve. Or try the following coffee egg cream for some “Joe” cool.
COFFEE EGG CREAM
1/2 cup coffee syrup
Coffee syrup: 1½ cups strong, hot coffee and 1 cup sugar
In a small pot, combine coffee and sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Cool and store covered in the refrigerator.
2/3 cup very cold milk (preferably whole milk or half and half)
2/3 cup seltzer or club soda
In a tall glass, put the syrup and milk. Stir briskly. Add the seltzer or club soda and continue to stir, just in the bottom of the glass, until head of drink foams like a head of beer.
The following coffee cake goes well with a Cup of Joe.
SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE
1/4 lb. butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chopped nuts
3 tsps. Cinnamon
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
Mix all topping ingredients to use as directed.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch pan or a tube pan
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Mix together the sour cream, baking soda and vanilla. Set aside.
Alternately add the flour/baking powder mixture and the sour cream mixture to the butter and sugar in the large bowl, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Pour a little less than one-half of the batter into the prepared pan.
(Batter will be thick. Smooth or ribbon onto prepared pan.)
Sprinkle one-half of the topping mixture over the batter.
Add the remaining one-half of the batter and sprinkle with remaining topping.
Bake about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Eat well, live long, enjoy!
Hats off to our veterans!
(Questions or tips can be sent to Donna Zitter Bordelon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)
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