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July 2012

What's Your Near-Disaster Kitchen Story?

Broken_pan
We’re on vacation again. This time, on the New Jersey shore, chilling beachside with part of my extended family. We’re packed into a tiny, er, rustic, home that’s long been a favorite of my mother’s, and swapping (more or less) cooking duties. It’s no High Hampton Inn experience (doing dishes are a prime leisure activity here, and I have to mix my own drinks) but it’s always fun to see family and sit down for some meals.

I’m working out of a heavily worn kitchen, though this year they’ve put in a new stove. Lo and behold, though, it heats with the power of a Bic lighter. Tonight it took me an hour to boil a pot of water for corn. Talk about slow food!

As I’m with my family and I’m relaxing (or at least trying to), I won’t be blogging very much. I’ll leave you with a little story from a week ago, back home in Brooklyn, when I almost burned my eyebrows off.

I was making my usual spaghetti alle vongole, and I had just added the wine, covered my trusty Le Creuset, and given it a good shake to settle the parsley and garlic. I then lifted the lid to take a peek, and suddenly there were flames in my face. I leapt backwards, and in doing so, dropped the cover on the floor, shattering the little black knob on its top.

I watched as the flames licked the inside of the pan and I waited. I was pretty sure they would burn themselves out. Plus, I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Somewhere in the kitchen we have a fire extinguisher, but I wouldn’t have been able to find it then.

Sure enough, the flames subsided, and I exhaled. The only explanation I could come up with was that the pan was dirty. Just before cooking the clam sauce, it had been holding that week’s Blognese sauce. Usually, when I make my Bolognese, I skimp off much of the fat from the beef about midway through the cooking process. That way, it is a bit healthier, and the little orange pools of fat that congeal when the sauce cools never materialize. That weekend, I had forgotten to decant the fat, and the pan was full of those rich and delicious deposits.

I had been a bit lazy about washing the pan out, and I think there must have been beef fat still lining the inside of the pan. That’s the only way I could explain the flames. Do you have any good stories about near disasters in the kitchen? If so, I’d like to hear them.


Pinta Comes Up With a New Way to Combine Strawberries and Ice Cream

Strawberry_Ice_cream_cone
Last Sunday, we came home from the beach (super close, super fun Jacob Riis Park, yet again) and I whipped up a summer seafood feast of spaghetti alle vongole (with flounder and pesto for Pinta, who doesn’t like clams) and for dessert we had a bit of ice cream that Santa Maria felt inspired to buy.

She bought Häagen-Dazs vanilla and chocolate (is there any other? what’s not to like about the premium, fictitiously Scandinavian ice cream that first came out of Brooklyn the year of our nation's bicentennial?), and as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I partook in just a tiny bit. I customized my vanilla by crushing the tiniest bit of dark chocolate into it. Voila, instant chocolate-chip ice cream.

But what I really want to talk about is what Pinta, my five year old decided to do with her ice cream. She’s crazy about fresh fruit, and as we had some ripe strawberries on hand, she—entirely on her own—stuffed a bunch in the bottom of a waffer cone, asked her mother to top it with vanilla ice cream, and made for herself a most delicious, most healthy dessert. According to Santa Maria, the keeper of all things sweet around the house, there was but a tablespoon of ice cream on that cone.

Pinta was quite please with it, and after she had licked the ice cream off, she took a spoon to the strawberries, before polishing off the cone by hand. If you are looking for a healthy and delicious summer dessert, look no further.  Do you have a favorite, healthy, summer dessert? If so, I'd love to hear about it. 

Pinta's Strawberry Ice Cream Cone Creation

  • Fresh, ripe strawberries, washed and sliced
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Ice cream cones
  • Dark chocolate, optional

Put the sliced strawberries into the base of cone, and top with a bit of ice cream and a tiny chunck of chocolate, if so desired.

Enjoy!


Three-Bean Salad Recipe

Three_bean_salad
Recently, I had the far-too-rare-these-days chance to see old friends not once but twice in one weekend, and I was delighted. The first occasion was a friend’s barbecue, and I knew that was going to be fun. My friend is a great cook and he kept everyone happy with fish, hot dogs, and burgers off the grill. It was a perfect summer evening.

The second occasion was a trip to the beach the following day, and culinarily I knew that it was going to be a bit trickier. The words “Pot Luck” tipped me off. For me, “Pot Luck” means “Cook or go hungry.” It’s hard for me to trust that a bunch of other folks are ever going to be able to feed me properly, especially when that bunch of folks is so loosely organized that it can barely settle on which beach to go to.

After much back and forth, we agreed on Jacob Riis, and I took matters into my own hands when it came to the food. I made enough three-bean salad to feed an army. I’m not sure how I settled on the idea for a three-bean salad, but the idea came to me, unbidden, shortly after I heard those words “Pot Luck.”

I got started a few days before the trip to the beach. I looked through Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything.” I checked “The Food 52 Cookbook.” I scanned the Internet. Strangely, I couldn’t find a half decent recipe for a three-bean salad. I found lots of odd but apparently popular suggestions to use canned green beans. Talk about a horror.

I decided on kidney, garbanzo (chick peas), and black beans, and, in the interest of saving time, I figured I could get two cans of each and be done with the salad in about ten minutes. Then I looked at the price of the organic beans: $1.72 a can at my coop. What the?

So I bought dried beans in bulk to save money. Later did the math on what I saved: about $6. It took me two hours to cook the beans (more on that in a moment) so I saved $3 an hour. Perhaps it is not really worth it by a simple dollar measure, but I couldn’t wrap my head around paying more than $10 for the beans alone. I would have felt silly about being so thickheaded, but the home-cooked beans were a revelation. They were incredibly delicious, and they would have been worth it at three-times the price.

The kidney beans and the black beans held their own, but it was the chick peas that settled it for me. I never really liked canned chick peas, finding them kind of bland and slimy, but my home cooked garbanzo beans were so nutty tasting and flavorful, I could have eaten them plain, as a snack.

I wasn’t sure about quantities, and, after some further research, decided to cook a cup of each, which gave me a huge bowl of beans. There seems to be no end to the discussion of how to best cook beans. Presoak? Salt? No salt? I was momentarily nervous, but then just decided to wing it. I cooked each cup with three cups of water, and I just cooked them until they were done. The kidney beans were ready in about forty-five minutes, and the garbanzo and black beans took longer. I realized it’s not even necessary to measure the water. Just keep them covered and drain them when they are done. They should be soft but not falling apart, with a little crunch to each one. Stir them a bit as they cook. It’s not hard. You can do it.

I added chopped red pepper, red onion, and cilantro, and I was finished. For a dressing, Santa Maria (an expert in these things) suggested plain white vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. She was right on the money. The salad was tasty and delicious, and it fed more than six adults, with leftovers for my lunch the next day.  

Three-Bean Beach-Day Salad

  • 1 cup dried Black Beans
  • 1 cup dried Garbanzo Beans (chick peas)
  • 1 cup dried Kidney Beans
  • 2 whole red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 whole head of cilantro, diced
  • 1 large (or two small) red onions, diced

Rinse the beans carefully.

Using three pots (or working sequentially) cook the beans—each variety at a time—in about three cups of water. Cover, bring to a boil, and turn down to a simmer. Stir them occasionally to keep any from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add more water if necessary. Drain them when cooked (break into one or two with a fork or knife and look at its inside—it should be moist all the way through, and not yet at the point where it’s collapsing and turning to mush). It will take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours for each pot of beans. You can do this the day ahead of time.

Cool the beans and combine them in a large bowl.

Add the other ingredients, and dress to taste with olive oil and white vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: the salad stores well, either dress or undressed, for a few days. 


Double the Butter, Double the Fun! A Scotch Shortbread Recipe and More

Short_Bread
Over the weekend, I heard from a reader who said that the Dutch Baby recipe on this site has taken him back to his childhood, and he was delighted to be able to make the treat for his own children. That recipe, of course, came from Santa Maria, and in the spirit spreading more joy, I asked her to write about the desserts she made on Friday.

I'd say that I'm the Jack Sprat of desserts, but I have been know to make one or two. And Santa Maria does far more than just bake and make chocolate sauce. She makes kale chips, and does homework with the kids. Here's her post:

I love treats, I love hanging out with my girls, and I love Stay at Stove Dad.  After a very hectic work week, by Friday afternoon it was time to enjoy the lazier rhythms of summer vacation. The girls and I decided to bake Scotch Shortbread and make a fresh blackberry tart to welcome Stay at Stove Dad home and give him another use for a delicious but neglected container of crème fraiche that's been hanging around the fridge.

The shortbread recipe is quite similar to the pate sucree recipe in many of our cookbooks, so I decided to make one batch of shortbread, then use 2/3 of the dough to make thinner shortbread squares (I prefer them not too doughy, tender in the center, crispy on the outer edges); and then to use 1/3 of the recipe as the pate sucree for the tart (just needs the addition of half a beaten egg).

If this sounds complicated, it is NOT.  It is VERY EASY!!  If you’ve got the butter softened in advance, it will take you FIVE MINUTES.  Really.  Yum!!  We had so much shortbread we took happy packages to two of our neighbors, Cyd and Ivy, and Ivan and Sandy.

It was good to hear from Jordan S. that he loved the Dutch Baby recipe and that it was a big hit with his family – and it inspired me to share some more recipes for my favorite treats. 

Scotch Shortbread (Joy of Cooking)

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • 1 cup butter (ie 2 sticks)- warm to room temperature, approx. 70 degrees, so it’s easy to cream but not melting
  • 2 cups flour (I sift it directly over the creamed butter)
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar (also sifted directly over the butter)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt.

Blend the ingredients together then press into an ungreased 9x9 pan  ***I used only two thirds of the batter for these.***

Prick the top with a fork (see picture).  If the fork is lifting up the dough, dip it into cool water between pricks.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle, if you wish, with a tiny bit of powdered sugar.

Pate Sucree Tres Vite!

Take the remaining third of your shortbread dough and add ½ a beaten egg (I used a whole beaten egg and it was too much – made the pastry a little eggier than I wished).  You can use the rest of the beaten egg in some fried rice or just cook it in a skillet for a quick protein hit which you probably need anyway if you’re a busy parent.

Press the dough into a tart pan.  I used a small 8”diameter pan (it would be fine to have the pastry thinner as well, so you could use a slightly bigger pan).  Gently press in fresh blackberries (or whatever summer fruit you have on hand – I imagine plums would be quite tasty), and bake in the oven  (also at 325 degrees) for 45 minutes.

It was a minor tragedy that we did not have whipped cream on hand to serve with the blackberry tart.  Perhaps you will plan more wisely!

Blackberry_tart

 


Grits Ain't Groceries: What Do you Do with Yours?

Grits are the gift that keeps giving. This evening I learned that my mother—Irish born and longtime resident of the Northeast—has been eating them for years. This was news to me. They are not something I grew up on, and I love her impulse to try new things. I still remember the day, in the late seventies, when I stood by her side, my head probably just reaching past her hip, and tried a “new” fruit from New Zealand, the Kiwi. I never did like them much, but I’m glad to have inherited her taste for fresh and healthy food.

Grits have given pop music at least a couple of hits. In 1955, Little Willie John recorded Titus Turner’s “All Around the World,” which has a set of delightful opening lines:

Well, if I don't love you baby

Grits ain't groceries, eggs ain't poultry

And Mona Lisa was a man

You can hear Little Willie John’s recording here:

 

Later, in 1969, Little Milton took those opening lines and renamed the song “Grits Ain’t Groceries,” and took it back to the charts. His rendition is here:

 

And what I want to know: what do you all do with leftover grits? My mother cooks a batch for herself that lasts a few days, and the leftovers get hard and dry. I think that’s what it’s supposed to do, and that there must be some recipes for either fixing them or turning them into something else. Any suggestions?

 


A Summer Salad

Summer_Salad1

In “A Moveable Feast,” Hemingway wrote “hunger was good discipline,” and I’ve long known what he’s meant. I’ve also always found his passages about viewing art in Paris with an empty stomach to be extremely moving:

There you could always go into the Luxembourg Museum and all the paintings were sharpened and clearer and more beautiful if you were belly-empty, hollow-hungry. I learned to understand Cezanne much better and to see truly how he made landscapes when I was hungry. I used to wonder if he were hungry too when he painted; but I thought possibly it was only that he had forgotten to eat. It was one of those unsound but illuminating thoughts you have when you have been sleepless or hungry. Later I thought Cezanne was probably hungry in a different way.

But Hemingway was in his twenties at that time, and I’m not. Now that I’m older, I say it’s not the hunger that’s good discipline, it’s the cooking. Cooking needs clarity of mind, because without it, you will fail. I can guarantee that. I know at least a day, or more, ahead of time, what I’ll be eating for lunch, dinner, and breakfast (though not in that order). The clarity of mind I bring to cooking I try to bring to my life. It’s a good meditative exercise to pay close attention to things.

On Monday, my first day back at work after being away, I knew I’d be hungry when I came home from the office. So I roasted a chicken as soon as I woke up (well, as soon as I came home from a run). As we ate breakfast, the kitchen was filled with the scent of roasting rosemary and garlic. It was odd, but enticing. (I even nibbled a few of the crispy wings before going to work, and when I was brushing my teeth that morning I thought—did I have bacon this morning? No, it was the crispy chicken skin.)

I washed a head of Romaine lettuce, too, and stored it in the fridge. Later that day, Santa Maria put on a pot of rice, and when it was time for dinner, I sliced an avocado, caramelized some red onions, and in homage to Tamar Adler, tossed the chicken, the lettuce, and all the fixings together into one rich and delicious salad.

I served all the elements—the rice, the salad, the sliced chicken, etc.—family style, so the kids could eat what they wanted. It worked very well, and the salad was perfect for the weather. I’m not going to give you a recipe for this one, but I’m going to give you some advice: Pay attention to what you have in the cupboard, and with some chicken, rice, avocado, onion, and whatever else you might have on hand, dinner will never be far away. 


More on Grits and a Shrimp Grits Recipe

Gumbo grits 070
I loved the grits they served at the High Hampton Inn, and I ate them almost every day for breakfast. If I had things my way, I would have eaten them three times a day. I thought they tasted just like polenta, and when I mentioned this to the executive chef, he chuckled at me and said, “But no, they’re grits.” I asked what the difference was, and he said grits were made with hominy. When I asked him about the difference between hominy and regular cornmeal, he chuckled some more and said he had no idea.

According to “The New Food Lover’s Companion,” a nifty dictionary of food items edited by Sharon Tyler Herbst, the term grits “actually refers to any coarsely ground grain such as corn, oats, or rice.” The book points out that it is “commonly used to mean “Hominy” grits.

Hominy, according Herbst, is “one of the first food gifts the American Indians gave to the colonists.” It is “dried white or yellow corn kernels from which the hull and germ have been removed. This process is done either mechanically or chemically by soaking the corn in slaked lime or lye.”

At the High Hampton Inn, they used Adluh Stone Ground Yellow Grits, and I’ve written to them to see what they say about grits. I'll let you know what I learn. In the meantime, my post on Friday about the Southern staple drew a nice reply from a friend of mine in Pennsylvania, Anne Corr. An instructor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State, she also runs Cook Like a Chef, a summer cooking camp for kids, and writes for The Centre Daily Times, her local paper.

Her latest article is all about Louisiana cooking, and as it turns out, if she was cooking I could have eaten grits for lunch and dinner too. Here’s her recipe for one of her favorite dishes, shrimp grits.

Shrimp Grits

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 pound 25-30 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup minced scallions (these are called “shallots” in Baton Rouge)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 4 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon Cajun or Creole spice blend, optional Hot sauce to taste

 

Place water and grits in a 2 quart saucepan and slowly bring it up to a boil, whisking occasionally until it gets thick, and then vigorously while it boils for a minute. Remove heat and season with salt and pepper to taste and add the butter. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a sauté pan and add the shrimp when hot. Stir and cook until just pink and firm to the touch. Add the scallions, garlic, parsley and lemon juice and give it a stir. Hit it with some Cajun spice-bam!-if you like. Pour the grits into a large shallow bowl and top with the shrimp. Serve with hot sauce on the side.

Makes 4 servings.


Waterfalls and Adluh Stone Ground Yellow Grits

Waterfall
We’re back from vacation, and, wow, did we have a good time. We were in the emerald mountains of North Carolina, where we splashed beneath waterfalls such as the one pictured above, hiked jagged mountains, swam in a pristine lake, and ate, and ate and ate. We stayed at the High Hampton Inn, a ninety-year-old resort with a dress code (coats and ties for dinner and collared shirts other times; thank goodness for UNIQLO!). There was a never-ending buffet of prime rib, trout, salad, tomatoes, and enough desserts to make Twiggy pre-diabetic.

We were there with Santa Maria’s brother and his family, to celebrate the fiftieth wedding anniversary of her parents. We ate all our meals together, and the food was a large part of the conversation. My brother-in-law’s family is gluten sensitive and doesn’t eat meat. They brought their own pastas and breads and the staff was very accommodating.

Still, everyone was very excited about the buffet food and returned for second and third servings, even of the desserts. I enjoyed it, but kept to myself my thoughts on how I might have prepared things a little differently. Two things happened that I’ll never forget. The first thing was that a few days before we left, while on our umpteenth trip down the buffet line, Nina told me she was hungry for my home cooking. She said she missed my Bolognese. We had it last for dinner yesterday, on our first night home.

The second thing was the grits they served for breakfast every morning. They were creamy and crunch and (on the days they didn’t over salt them), incredibly mouthwatering. They were made with Adluh Stone Ground Yellow Grits, and I’ll have more on them shortly. This Northern boy thought they were polenta, and I was set straight. Right now, I have to go for a run, and work off some of that prime rib. 


Happy Fourth of July!

33-1196545384
What better time than the Fourth of July than to talk about freedom. Santa Maria plans on reading the Declaration of Independence to the girls this morning, and I'm getting sprung from the kitchen for a few days. We're off on vacation for the next week or so, and there are two things I know about where we're going--that I won't be doing any cooking (we're headed to an all-inclusive hotel with Santa Maria's family, to celebrate her parent's fiftieth wedding anniversary) and that there may or may not be Internet access. I'm not sure how much blogging I'll be able to do over the next few days. In the meantime, I leave you with the text for the Declaration, in case you feel inspired. Here's the transcription:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
Delaware:
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
Massachusetts:
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
Connecticut:
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton