Independence, Missouri is one of the 28 places in the United States with a patriotic name. These names range from Liberty to Eagle to Independence, Freedom, American, Patriot, Unity and Prosperity. Only one of the towns is in Pennsylvania – New Freedom - more about New Freedom later... I want to share three places with you.

Independence, Missouri is known as “Queen City of the Trails.” Settlers traveling to California, Oregon and the Santa Fe Trail used this area to depart from. It was at this point that water vehicles could not navigate farther west on the Missouri River. The Independence area was originally inhabited by Missouri and Osage Americans. The Spanish and a brief tenure of French followed. It became part of the U.S. with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

It was named after the Declaration of Independence. It became an important city in the quest west when founded in 1827. It is located on the south bank of the Missouri River and is the fourth largest city in the state, located in Jackson County.

Independence was heavily involved in Civil War battles. In 1862, control of the area was taken by the Confederacy. Then, in 1864, there was another southern victory. The toll was deep and it never really regained the prosperity it once knew.

The Latter Day Saints (LDS) movement started to infiltrate the area. There was tension and conflict with their arrival, and they were driven from the area. In 1867, some returned and made their headquarters there.

President Harry S. Truman and his wife, Bess, were born, reared and married in Independence. Both are buried there, and the Truman Library & Museum is located there. The Independence courthouse houses Truman’s former courtroom and office. The courthouse was modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

The ethnic makeup of this area is predominantly white (85.7 percent) and African American (5.6 percent); the remaining percentage is a combination of several other ethnic groups.

American Fork, Utah is another place with a patriotic name. It is located north of the Utah Lake and was originally named Lake City - in 1860 it was renamed.

This town had a rapid growth; one reason was the building of the Columbia Steel Company in the 1940s. Seasonal hunting and fishing are a large draw to the area and add to the economy.

A majority of the population, today, is that of the Mormon Church (LDS). It was in 1851 that they started to settle in American Fork and still remain.

New Freedom, Pennsylvania was originally named Freedom. It was changed to New Freedom when they discovered another town with the name of Freedom. New Freedom is located in York County bordering on the Mason-Dixon Line and was incorporated in 1873.

Early growth was due to industry and the railroad. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes destroyed vital railways and bridges. Located midway between Baltimore, Maryland and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, it has become a residential commuter community.

The York County Heritage Trail runs through New Freedom. As small as New Freedom is (two square miles), there are several popular places to check out. Once on a trip to New Freedom to visit family friends, we had to cross into Maryland via the highway, then double-back into Pennsylvania on small local roads.

The Fourth of July is a real celebration to our freedom. It is time to have fun, to share with family and friends and enjoy good foods.

Red, White & Blue Pizza Flag

• 1 cup Mozzarella cheese

• 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce• 11 ounce tube Pillsbury refrigerated thin crust pizza

• Coarse salt• 4 small purple potatoes, sliced thin with a mandolin

• 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 7 slices baconUsing a cooling rack, arrange bacon fat and place rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in a cold oven - set oven to 400 degrees - time for 20 minutes. Remove the bacon from the oven, keeping the oven on. Heat the oil in a skillet, add the sliced potatoes until brown and slightly crispy (7 minutes or so). Add sprinkling of salt. Drain the fat from the baking sheet and flip it over. Lightly grease underside of baking sheet. Roll out dough and place on baking sheet. Trim edges if necessary. Prebake for 6 minutes. Remove dough from oven and spread the Alfredo sauce over the crust. Arrange the potatoes in the upper left hand corner of the dough – by over laying or laying side-by-side. Arrange the bacon to the right and under the potatoes like stripes (you may have to cut a few). Sprinkle the cheese between the bacon stripes. Sprinkle a little cheese on potatoes to create stars. Bake pizza an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted, brown and bubbly. Allow to set for several minutes before cutting.

Red-White-Blue Dessert In A Jar

• In Mason-type pint jar with lid

• 1 package red gelatin – make according to package

• Whipped cream• Blueberries Fill jar half way with prepared gelatin – chill to set. Before serving top with whipped cream – the type that comes in pressurized can the best. Sprinkle fresh or sun-dried blueberries on top. If desired, cap and refrigerate until served.

Red-White-Blue Strawberries

• Somewhat large strawberries with stems

• White melting coating• Tube of blue icing gel

Wash and dry strawberries. Melt white melting coating. Dip each strawberry half way into coating. Place on wax paper and allow to set-up. With blue icing gel, make designs on the white coating.

CELEBRATE LIFE EVERY DAY!Let me hear from you: Search YouTube for Look Who’s Cooking as well as for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.”

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