Monday, February 16, 2009

It's Snack Food Month!

Maybe you've heard, February is National Snack Food Month. Maybe you haven't heard, tomorrow February 17th is World Cabbage Day. What's a girl to do? Cabbage, Fritos® , or both? You decide.

Choice #1: Cabbage

Cabbage has been around for ages. Like Jennie host of Straight from the Farm, I pretty much steered away from cabbage until I was introduced, rather haphazardly, to Savoy Cabbage. Take a look at Jennie's adaption of Savoy Cabbage Slaw With Applesauce Vinaigrette, which she digresses may well be labeled a salad rather than a slaw. You too may change your mind. Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book gives this account of Savoy Cabbage:

...The name of the Savoy cabbage was introduced into the English language by Henry Lyte in his Niewe Herball of 1578. This was not an original work, but a translation of the Dutch Cruydeboeck, and the name was a direct translation of the dutch savoyekool (kool as in coleslaw, etc.) Sir Anthony Ashley, of Wimborn St. Giles in Dorset, is recorded as planting in England the first cabbages from Holland, which may have been Savoys or perhaps the white, smooth, hard packed cabbage that we still call Dutch cabbage to-day...
I wonder if the cabbage knows
He is less lovely than the Rose;
Or does he squat in smug content,
A source of noble nourishment;
Or if he pities for her sins
The Rose who has no vitamins;
Or if the one thing his green heart knows --
That self-same fire that warms the Rose?

Not only does cabbage have the "nasty" habit of being good for you, Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C, some vitamin A, and contains significant amounts of the amino acid, glutamine. Glutamine is said to have anti-inflammatory properties. In its raw state, cabbage contains iron, calcium, and potassium. Cabbage is also high in vitamins B1, B2, and B3, cabbage and its family of cruciferous vegetables hold high esteem in folklore and Halloween.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage,
concludes that it will also make better soup.

~H.L. Mencken~

Cabbage Recipes

Have I got a recipe for you. It comes from a cookbook titled Secrets of Palm Beach Cookery published in 1987. The author, Skippy Harwood is/was food editor for the Palm Beach Daily News. I just couldn't resist including this recipe for Cabbage Crepes because, it has a distant relation to the cabbage farms of Long Island. Don't pooh pooh it until you take a look. It's surprisingly "fashionable."

The Old English name for February was "Sprout-Kale" or "Sprouting Cabbage Month, since cabbage, if properly sheltered, begins to sprout in the garden this time of the year.
"Society expects every man to have certain things in his garden.
Not to raise cabbage, is as if one had no pew in church."

The Pilgrim Cook Book (1895)

Harvesting recipes for stuffed cabbage is an easy task via the world wide web. I found a GREAT recipe @ No Fear Entertaining So, I think I will leave you with Cabbage Two Ways by Rebecca of Cooked Books, while I dip into the history of corn chips.

Choice #2: Fritos®

Gary Allen @ Leite's Culinaria has a wonderful article titled Dipping Into the History of the Super Bowl Favorite which gives some answers to "when dips for chips" became popular. Really cool...Here's the scoop:

...Meanwhile, in 1932, a young Texan name Elmer Doolin bought the rights to a variation on fried corn tortilla strips. He added an "s" to the Spanish word for "fried," and called them "Fritos® ." After World War II, Doolin's business grew to the point where he decided to sell franchises. Herman Lay's company bought the first one. By 1961 the two companies had merged, forming Frito-Lay, the largest snack-food manufacturer in the country...

Historically, The Birth of the Frito; begins in Texas. In an interview with Doolin descendants, we learn about the "secret ingredient" and a few "family" recipes one which includes chocolate!

During the Depression in the 1930s, Charles Elmer Doolin had a confectionery in San Antonio. Always an innovator, he got a bug to put some kind of corn snack on his counters. Tortillas staled, so Doolin went on a mission. At a gas station, Doolin found a Mexican man making an extruded corn chip out of masa, frying it and selling little bags of the fried corn chips. They were Fritos® , "little fried things" — the beach food of Mexico...Doolin bought the patent and 14 customers from the man and began to make the chips in his own kitchen at home, with his mother perfecting his recipe.

So who was this Mexican man who inspired Charles Elmer Doolin and his family to take the plunge? It just may be a former cafe owner by the name of Gustave Olguin who wanted to return to Mexico. That chip of info is mentioned in the Texas Monthly if you read the entire article:)

Fritos® in the Hands of the Doolin Family ...The four Doolins began making these early Fritos® in the kitchen of their home at 1416 Roosevelt Avenue. During the day, Elmer searched for high-quality corn, hand-washing it and grinding it. At night, after the family would hand-roll, thin, and deep-fry the dough made from that corn, they would pack it in five-cent bags, which Elmer would go sell throughout San Antonio the following day. The family could produce approximately ten pounds of Fritos® in an hour...

It is said, Earl Doolin the brother of Charles, converted a potato ricer to initially produce the tortilla shaped dough that would become the Fritos® chip. I did a quick search at google patents and it appears he did come up with a few later inventions which helped the manufacturing of Fritos® . I've decided to delve into those inventions at a later date. I'd much rather share a 1946 Fritos® souvenir booklet from the Texas State Fair with you.

Get Acquainted with Fritos®...The very first time you open a kitchen fresh bag of Fritos® , you'll understand why they're a universal favorite. Here are tempting golden morsels of corn, cooked to a golden brown in pure corn oil...and deliciously salted. Fritos® are inviting to look at, crisp and crunchy--just as good for you as they are good to eat...

I'm not quite sure about that claim after all, it was 1942 when the book was copyrighted.

...Trans fat was first developed in the 1940's by adding hydrogen molecules into vegetable oil, which partially hardens the oil which can be used in a variety of foods. It gives foods a better taste and extends their shelf life. Up until about 1990 it was considered safe because it was produced from vegetable oils but ongoing research soon discovered that trans fats increase cholesterol levels...source

Just in case you didn't get the message:

Food scientists began experimenting with trans-fats in the 1940's. They found that by altering the structure of some fats, they were able to increase the shelf life of packaged foods. These altered fats were called trans-fats... Examples of hydrogenated oils include shortening and hard margarine. Manufacturers value trans-fats because they increase the shelf life of food, are inexpensive, and increase the stability of flavoring agents in processed foods. Some trans-fat is found naturally in animal-based products, but synthetically produced trans-fat is much more dangerous...source

Fritos® Recipes

You can only imagine the pickings of Frito dishes in this booklet of Fritos recipes. Not only are they from 1946, they are also "souvenirs" from the Texas State Fair! If a snack is supposedly a light meal then Fritos® Creamed Cabbage may just be your desire. Or not...Hey, it's World Cabbage Day, I must include a combination. Don't you think? Anyway, this recipe appears to be very similar to everyone's favorite; String Bean Casserole topped with those canned fried onions and mushroom soup. Seriously, it sure resembles it to me.

Frito Creamed Cabbage: Cook cabbage in boiling, salted water, until tender. Drain off water and place cabbage in buttered baking dish. Cover with a white sauce made of milk, butter, and flour. Cover top of cabbage with Frito crumbs (made by rolling or grinding Fritos® ) Bake in moderate oven for 30 minutes. Note: I take moderate to mean 350 degrees:)

Every recipe in the book does not include Fritos® as an ingredient. As a matter of fact, many of the recipes simply include Fritos® on the plate. There are seasonable Fritos® recipes, and "Tangy Foreign" Frito recipes such as Italian Spaghetti and Chinese Chop Suey which don't use Fritos® at all. On the other hand, the Assyrian Frito Tamales, another cabbage dish, not only includes two cups of Fritos®, the recipes suggests serving Fritos® right along side the dish. Here's the recipe.

Well, it is National Snack Food Month, after all. What does this booklet offer as a Fritos® snack? Surprisingly, not much. May I suggest the Frito Sandwich Spread, Fritos® Au Gratin, Frito-Kett or simply the Frito Sunflower Dip.

The Frito Pie Celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2007. Its inventor was none other than Daisy Dean Doolin. Don't tell me you don't know the legend of the Frito Pie. It's become a popular dish to celebrate on National Corn Chip Day in January. Although, Amy from the blog Dinner for a Year & Beyond celebrated National Corn Chip Day with this crispy recipe for Frito Chicken.

FYI: Doritos® tortilla chips were introduced nationally around 1966 by Frito-Lay now a division of Pepsi. Literally translated into Spanish, "doritos" means "little bits of gold."

And what's one of my favorite snack foods? Brussels Sprouts! I LOVE roasted Brussels Sprouts! For a quick snack I take frozen Brussels sprouts, coat them in olive oil and roast them in the oven until they are more than crisp. They pop in just as comfortably as any chip I know and, they taste a whole lot better not to mention calories and nutrients. If I want to get a bit fancier, I add some balsamic vinegar, just a drop, some seasoning, garlic for me, and let the sprouts thaw in the marinade. I've tried all kinds of seasonings and I'm yet to find one I don't like.



  1. Lots to think about in your post today. Cabbage - I've got my first ever batch of homemade sauerkraut going--we'll see if I get up the nerve to eat it when it's finished. Fritos do mean Frito Pie to me--we used to get it at the softball parks when we were kids--they would split open a small bag of Fritos, put chili on top and then some onions and maybe cheese. Yum! And I do remember dipping Fritos into Pace Picante Sauce before Doritos or Tostitos were so popular. I've got some Brussels sprouts growing in my garden and your roasted Brussels sprouts recipe sounds so good I'm going to try it!

  2. I like cabbage! Braised red cabbage is yummy.

  3. I'm all about the fritos. I can eat BAGS at a time.

  4. louise!!! cabbage crepe?! wow!!! i'm going crazy. it must be really good!

  5. I'm a cabbage fan.
    My husband is a big-time fritos fan. He'll eat them with and in everything!

  6. Hi Kathy,
    I have never been able to bring myself to "put up" my own sauerkraut. Probably for the same reasons you mention. I don't think I would ever dine on it:) I'm almost ashamed to admit, I have NEVER had a Frito Pie. I know, it almost sounds criminal. I'm not really much of a junk eater. Actually, I'm not much of an eater at all. I'd say I'm more like Lincoln than Washington LOL. Now Brussels sprouts are a different story. I hope you do give them a try. I really enjoy them roasted as a snack. Thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad you're feeling better...

  7. Hi Jan, I agree braised cabbage is yummy!

    Hi ducky, I had a feeling you were a Fritos gal!

    So are Brussels sprouts jenn. Now you got me to thinkin... Roasted cabbage?

    hi acey,
    at first it may seem odd but i think it is worth a try. especially since you are on the way to regained health...

    Sounds like a perfect blend to me Recipe Girl!

  8. Others say that too much cabbage intake can cause goiter. Do you believe that?

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise