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Strange family celebrates unusual Fourth

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Submitted Photo Fireworks aren’t part of the July 4 family photo this year for the Strange family. Instead, Corban, 9, and brother Josiah, 11, make pancakes using a historic recipe, which their mom says is heavy on the nutmeg.

The members of one local family are celebrating this July 4 in a unique way.

They are going back in time a bit by immersing themselves in the food and history of the 1700s, when the United States first gained its independence from Britain.

The Strange family has been history aficionados for a while.

The group — which includes parents Angela and Aaron, and sons Josiah, 11, and Corban, 9 — volunteers for the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico, and Josiah is the most active among the family members and the youngest docent for the historical organization.

“They embrace every opportunity to celebrate, relive and educate on the rich history of the area,” said Amy McVay-Davis, executive director of the Historical Society.

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The family also has home-schooled the children for more than six years, so they are used to finding different ways to explore a theme, including cooking and art projects, Angela Strange said.

“We do these type of things throughout the year for home-schooling and just for our lives as a family,” she said. “We decided this year to do some extra things for the Fourth of July to show the kids what we are celebrating. There are a lot of things we can’t do right now, but there are a lot of things we can still do. We can look back and try to live out our history, which is something we try to do as a family anyway.”

The family plans a group meal for the Fourth that will include homemade ice cream made with a hand-cranked machine, and for the past couple of days, they have been making different dishes using family traditions, as well as old-time recipes they obtained from the social media site of an Indiana company that promotes histories and products from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Family recipes include baked beans and Boston brown bread, while the historic recipes were used for donuts with lemon cream, omelets, pancakes and pot roast.

“We discussed how the pancakes are a little different because they don’t have the chemical leavening like we do now, and some of the ingredients that are a little odd, like putting nutmeg in everything,” Strange said.

The family also has been learning about Independence Day and the Revolutionary War by reading poetry from the era, listening to readings of the Declaration of Independence and watching “Liberty’s Kids,” an animated historical kids’ series that explores Colonial America from 1773 to 1789 from the perspective of many youth connected to Benjamin Franklin, including a slave.

“Whenever we study a subject, we really try to live it as much as possible,” Strange said. “We do a lot of reading and get the experience of what it was like to be a part of that. We can’t do that with everything. There is only so much time, but we do the best we can to pull that in.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.