Details for FAMILY FOCUS COVER 4
How do aerial fireworks work? Fun facts about fireworks Americans love ﬁreworks. After the Continental Congress passed a resolution to declare independence from England (which was actually on July 2), the founding father John Adams wrote that the event would forever after be commemorated with “illuminations” across the country. His prediction has proven correct so far. Here are just a few fun facts about America’s favorite way be festive on the Fourth of July. • Fireworks are made with gunpowder, so you’d think we invented ﬁrearms before ﬁreworks. In fact, the reverse is true. Gunpowder was used for ﬁreworks in the 10th century in China whereas the ﬁrst recorded use of gunpowder for weapons is from the 11th century. • Although ﬁreworks have been used in China for a long time, the aerial shell that bursts in the sky was invented in Italy in the 19th century. • The Walt Disney Company uses more ﬁreworks than any other organization in the world. It also is the second largest purchaser of explosives. Only the United States Department of Defense buys more. This Fourth of July, celebrate the country with a tradition almost as old as the country itself: see a ﬁreworks show! • Blue is the most difﬁcult color to make in ﬁreworks. The Declarations of • Americans have been using ﬁreworks to commemorate the founding of the country from the very beginning. Fireworks displays on the Fourth of July were recorded before the United States was even ofﬁcially the United States, in 1777. Independence? The Fourth of July is one of the most important holidays in the United States. For Americans, it commemorates the colonists’ decision to declare their independence from the British king and his empire and found their own nation. Thomas Jefferson, although he was the third president of the United States, will perhaps be best remembered for having expressed the colonists’ grievances with the king in one of the most famous documents in American history, the Declaration of Independence. In American lore, we tend to think of Jefferson as having written the Declaration in a burst of inspiration on the Fourth of July in 1776. Did you know, however, that there were in fact several drafts of the document? Although Jefferson did the majority of the writing in June of 1776, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and other members of the Continental Congress suggested various changes. Finally, the Congress ofﬁcially accepted the document on the fourth of July. Jefferson had been working on the ideas that made up the Declaration for some time, but not all of them made it to the ﬁnal draft. Perhaps most famously, a condemnation of England’s role in the slave trade was objected to by some members of the Congress and left out of the ﬁnal draft. Fireworks are an essential part of every Fourth of July celebration. But do you know how they actually work? To make the spectacular effects of aerial ﬁreworks requires the ingenious use of one ancient ingredient: gunpowder. Although gunpowder was traditionally a mixture of sulphur, charcoal and saltpeter, modern versions can use a lot of additional ingredients to produce different effects. Every aerial ﬁrework, however, needs six components: • A mortar, a tube of plastic or metal that contains the initial propulsive explosion and directs the ﬁrework into the sky. • A container that holds the main explosive as it ascends, sometimes made He called it from simple things such as paper and string. • A lifting charge, which propels the container from the mortar. • A fuse that is ignited with the lifting charge and timed to set off the main ﬁrework in the air. • A bursting charge in the middle of the container that is set off by the fuse. • Stars, small explosives inside the container that are specially arranged around the bursting charge and made of different chemicals to produce different colors and explosive effects. Using these simple parts, experts make the elaborate shows we enjoy every Independence Day. Different conﬁgurations of stars in the container and different kinds of explosives for the stars can create all sorts of different effects, combined and timed to create a dazzling, rhythmic display. macaroni Did you know that the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, helped popularize macaroni and cheese in the United States in the early 19th century? Although Jefferson’s version of mac and cheese was simply fresh pasta covered in butter and Parmesan cheese, today we typically make a pasta casserole with a cheese sauce. Ingredients • 1/2 cup bread crumbs For the cheese sauce: • 1 tbsp. melted butter • 1/4 cup unsalted butter • 1/4 cup all-purpose ﬂour • 3 cups very cold milk • 1 tsp. mustard powder • A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce • A pinch of nutmeg • Paprika to taste • Salt and pepper to taste • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese For the casserole: • 16 oz. elbow macaroni • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese Step 1: Make the cheese sauce 1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. 2. Whisk in ﬂour until a paste forms and cook for three minutes. 3. Add mustard, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, salt, pepper and paprika (if desired); cook for two minutes. 4. Slowly whisk in the milk; cook until mixture has thickened and remove from the heat. 5. Whisk cheese into sauce and set aside. Step 2: Construct the casserole 1. Cook macaroni according to directions on the box. 2. Put the macaroni and cheese sauce in a casserole dish and mix to combine. 3. Mix butter and breadcrumbs. 4. Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese and breadcrumb mixture over the pasta 5. Cook in a 400° oven until golden brown on top and heated through (about 20 minutes). 6. Let cool for at least ten minutes and then enjoy!