If you're new to Charlotte -- say, within the last 200 years or so -- you may not know about the city's former reputation as "A Very Trifling Place."
Yes, the city of booming business was once considered to be nothing special. President George Washington visited in 1791 as part of a southern tour following the Revolutionary War. It was he who made that infamous pronouncement about "Charlotte Town" in his diary.
Granted, back then we had no swanky restaurants, no pro sports, no international airport. But the crossroads of what would become the bustling commercial district at Trade and Tryon streets had already been established where two rough-hewn trade routes intersected.
Perhaps those early residents imagined a future beyond the definition of a trifle as a small, insignificant thing. Or maybe they took solace in the pleasures of the other kind of trifle: an English cake covered in layers of fruit, jam, and luscious cream. We may never know for certain, and that's one frustration with history. But here's a red, white, and blue recipe to help celebrate Independence Day. It comes to you from that once-tiny place that grew to become what today is now the 17th most-populated city in the U.S.
Not so trifling, after all.
Red, White, and Blue Berry Trifle
- 2 pints of strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced; 1/4 cup reserved for garnish
- 2 pints of blueberries, washed; 1/4 cup reserved for garnish
- Heavy cream to equal 4 cups whipped, or two containers of frozen dessert topping
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fruit jam, any kind
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of whiskey to flavor, if desired
- Fresh mint leaves, slivered almonds, or shredded coconut for garnish
In a trifle dish or medium-to-large glass bowl, place half the cake cubes. Top with half of the berries, either mixed or separated by type. Set aside. Combine the jam and whiskey, then drizzle half of the mixture over the fruit. Spread with half of the whipped cream or topping. Repeat the layers of cake cubes, berries, jam mixture, and whipped cream. Garnish with the reserved berries and other toppings.
Serves 8 to 12