Let’s Celebrate

By: Jane Weinke, curator of collections/registrar on April 28th, 2021

Celebrating milestones has always been part of my culture. As a family, we celebrated religious achievements, sporting events, school programs, and birthdays – any reason to come together for food and fun.

April is birthday month in my family. In my immediate family, my brother celebrates first on April 5, sister Jill on April 10, and my birthday is April 15. Often, Easter also is celebrated in April.

By April 15 the family was done with cake; so was I. At Eastertime a local bakery created special egg-shaped sweets about the size of cupcakes. They were moist cakes coated with a tasty, colorful glaze. As a child, I loved those.

I don’t remember exactly when Mom found my favorite birthday treat, a pecan pie recipe, but it remains a favorite to this day. Our family designated it pecan pie, but its proper name is Ritz Cracker Pie. I suspect she believed no one would eat it knowing crackers were an ingredient.

It’s not the typical gooey mixture but a meringue base filled with ground crackers, pecans, and shaved chocolate, baked and then served with whipping cream. It’s chewy, crunchy, and the topping adds a cool, sweet sensation.

Although April 15 is past, here is an image of my 2021 birthday pie, honoring my milestone sixty-fifth birthday.

Ritz Cracker Pie

3 egg whites
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
20 crushed Ritz crackers
3 ounces shaved milk chocolate
½-1 cup chopped pecans
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat egg whites and baking powder until stiff.
Gradually add sugar to beaten egg whites, mixing on low until combined.
Stir in vanilla.
Fold in crackers, chocolate, and nuts.
Spread into a well-greased pie pan.
Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

The current Woodson Art Museum exhibition, Beyond Artworks: Artists & Their Stories, on view through June 6, is another reason to celebrate. The exhibition honors nearly forty-five years of thoughtful acquisitions enhancing the Museum’s collection. Not only are the artworks outstanding but the stories offer visitors ways to discover amazing facts about artworks and reasons to celebrate. Follow these links for a virtual tour via images and and overview video and visit soon and often this spring.

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