Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Reminder and a List

If you missed the Tart Day Give-Away, get your "tush" over there right now and leave a comment. How else will I be able to mail The Best Summer Drinks to you? Hey, it's by Ray Foley; the publisher of Bartender Magazine. I have two to give-away and anyone can WIN!

Monthly Food Celebrations

By know means is this list complete. However, I'm sure you will find a favorite day to celebrate:)
  • 1. National Food Safety Awareness Month
  • 2 National Chicken Month
  • 3. National Honey Month
  • 4. National Rice Month
  • 5. National Mushroom Month
  • 6. American Breakfast Month
  • 7. Hispanic Heritage Month
  • 8. National Mango Week
  • 9. National Biscuit Month
A note about National Chicken Month: You still have time to get your entry in for the Winning Taste Recipe Contest held by Pilgrim's Pride. Entries must be in by September 30, 2009.
"Introduced in 1989, the Winning Taste Recipe Contest is one of the country’s longest running chicken recipe competitions and is among the most widely recognized creative cooking contests in America."

Daily Food Celebrations

Waffling Waffle Week: Digging deep into the crevices of the online world, can be awfully daunting. Take Waffles for example. I waffled around with an assortment of Waffle Days way back in March. No Waffling-Waffle Day satisfied my curiosity. How 'bout yours. However, National Waffle Week has me questioning those divots. There are those who claim National Waffle Week is the first week in September. Others proclaim the second week of September as National Waffle Week. The decision is yours.
  • 3rd-History tells us that the ritual of afternoon teas was started by Anna, the Dutchess of Bedford. September 3, is her birth date. Celebrate with a Victorian Tea.
  • 4th -September 4, 1920 is the day New York food Columnist and cookbook author Craig Claiborne was born.
  • 4th-François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand was born today. Although, some say Sept. 14th, he was a writer, politician and diplomat. A food enthusiast, he also coined the name of a cut of tenderloin (the Chateaubriand steak).
  • 4th-Do you know who invented the Ice Cream Scoop? It was Alfred L. Craille. He was born on September 4, 1866.
  • 5th-National Cheese Pizza Day! is September 5.
  • 5th-The Battle Creek Sanitarium, in Battle Creek, Michigan, first opened on September 5, 1866 as the Western Health Reform Institute. Cereal anyone?
  • 6th-September 6, is the birth date of cookbook author Catharine [Catherine] Esther Beecher. The Beecher Tradition.
  • 6th -The first Piggly Wiggly opened; September 6, 1916 at 79 Jefferson Street in Memphis.
  • 7th-It's Salami Day! I kid you not:)
  • 7th-Inventor Luther Crowell was born today in 1840. One of his many inventions was for a machine which could produce a square-bottomed grocery bag. Gee, I wonder if he knew "Lady Edison?"
  • 7th-Labor Day (2009)
  • 8th-Today we celebrate Euell Gibbons; The Father of Modern Wild Foods. Did you know Euell Gibbons was once the spokesperson for Post Grape Nuts? Look see...
  • 9th-Another memorable ice cream date is celebrated in September. September 9, 1843 is the day that Nancy M. Johnson of Philadelphia, PA received her patent for the "Hand-Crank Ice Cream Maker."
  • 9th-Harland Sanders was born today in 1890. Who was Harland Sanders? Ask the clerk the next time you visit KFC!
  • 10th-According to the Emeril website, September 10th is National TV Dinner Day. Who “invented” the TV dinner, anyway?
  • 11th-Proclaimed by President Bush in 2002, today is Patriot's Day!
  • 12th-It's National Chocolate Milkshake Day!
  • 13th-It's National Peanut Day and International Chocolate Day!
  • 13th-Don't forget Grandparents' Day is September 13, 2009. Grandparents' Day is always celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day.
  • 13th-Happy Birthday Uncle Sam. Yes, there was a real Uncle Sam and September 13th is the day he was born! You know, we'll be celebrating Ice Cream Cone Day on September 22, why whip up these Uncle Sam Ice Cream Cones and celebrate!
  • 13th-Milton Hershey was born on September 13, 1857, in a farmhouse near the Central Pennsylvania village of Derry Church. Celebrate with a Birthday Kiss...
  • 13th-Okay just one more tasty morsel to celebrate on September 13th. It's Fortune Cookie Day!
  • 14th-Cream Filled Doughnut Day is celebrated on the same day as Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin was born. How apropos...Chinese chef, Joyce Chen, was also born today.
  • 15th-It's Chicken Lovers' Day!
  • 15th-I couldn't find much documentation for these two food days celebrated supposedly on September 15th, National Creme De Menthe Day and National Linguini Day. Sounds good to me!
  • 17th-It's National Apple Dumpling Day!
  • 18th -Ahoy there...Not only is today Mushroom Picking Day, it is also Talk Like a Pirate Day and National Plah-Doh Day!!! Arg...
  • 20th-Sir James Dewar inventor of the Dewar flask in 1892, the original thermos bottle, was born today in 1842. Have a Toast to Dewar!
  • 20th-Today is your day. You can celebrate National Punch Day or, National Rum Punch Day. The choice is yours:) National Rum Day was in August:)
  • 21st-Don't quote me on this. Today just may be National Pecan Cookie Day and, National Banana Day.
  • 22nd-It's Ice Cream Cone Day!!! The first ice cream cone was made in New York City by Italo Marchiony on September 22, 1896.
  • 22nd-Hanson Goodrich was born September 22, 1836. Who was Hanson Goodrich? Well, there are those who credit him with the invention of percolator. Thank you Mr. Goodrich; "Father of the Percolator," I still perk my coffee to this day!!!
  • 22nd-Some say National White Chocolate Day is September 23rd. Are you willing to "suffer" if today is indeed National White Chocolate Day? I know I'm not.
  • 23rd-Great American Pot Pie Day; sponsored by Marie Callender is always celebrated on September 23rd. Chicken Month, Pot Pie Day. Do I smell a Chicken Pot Pie steaming?
  • 24th-National Cherries Jubilee Day; Hip hip Hooray!
  • 26th-Fitness guru Jack LaLanne was born today in...drum roll...1914!! That means he's going to be 95 years young this year!!! (2009) I need some Fountain of Youth Cookies!
  • 26th-Not only is September 26th the birthday of John Chapman aka Johnny Appleseed, it is also Native American Day. Native American Day was proclaimed by President Ronald Regan and is celebrated on the fourth Friday in September each year. In South Dakota, Native American Day is celebrated on the second Monday is October.
  • 27th-September 27th is National Chocolate Milk Day. Not to be confused with Chocolate Milk Powder Day, National Chocolate Milk Day is in September and the other is in April.
  • 27th-A grand toast to food writer (and many more tasty feats:) Clementine Paddleford born today in 1900. Her culinary journalism was second to none!
  • 28th-I'm not exactly sure why September 28th is National Strawberry Cream Pie Day but who am I to argue? Oh, it's also Drink Beer Day; I think.
  • 29th-Sit down, relax, grab a cup of coffee. Ready? Celebrate National Coffee Day at the Virtual Corkscew Museum. They have 3 cool pieces of coffee advertising.
  • 29th-Happy Michaelmas! Where's the Goose?
  • 30th-Whisper a Happy Birthday today to Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis; The mom who put Mother in Mothers' Day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Tart Day for a Give-Away

According to the folks @ Live Everday Like a Holiday, August 29 is always National Lemon Juice Day. Here's the twist, it just so happens that I have two recipe books to give-away written by the "ultimate authority" on bartending; Ray Foley.

Ray Foley publisher of Bartender Magazine has been a bartender for over 20 years. Mr. Foley is the founder of the Bartenders Foundation Inc., as well as the author of Bartending for Dummies and our Give-Away for today; The Best Summer Drinks.

Many bartenders agree that freshly squeezed lemon juice is an essential ingredient for cocktails. Mixed drinks are often served with a wedge or slice of fresh lemon as a garnish. Some even suggest freshly squeezed lemon juice added to clear, clean water is just as essential as a remedy for a hangover.

Personally, I don't go through any gyrations in order to squeeze the last bit of tart juice from a fresh lemon. I use a reamer. There are those who "swear" by the microwave method; high power 30 seconds. Then there's the rolling on the counter method while pressing gently on a lemon that has been brought to room temperature first. I tried that once, I don't like it. I'll stick with my reamer!

The Give-Away

The Best Summer Drinks is an inexpensive little gem filled with 500 summer cocktail and appetizer recipes submitted by the world's best bartenders. When Danielle from Source Books asked if I would offer a give-away just in time for Labor Day, I was more than glad to oblige. I don't have very many cocktail resource books in my collection. I'm pretty much a wino:) Not really, I just prefer wine to most drinks although, recently I have become more adventurous when it comes to mixed drinks.

I have somewhat of a peculiar reason for totally enjoying The Best Summer Drinks. It's all in the names. I LOVE recipes with quirky names. They may sound "normal" to you but when I come across a drink called a Dirty Banana it brings a smile to my face while tugging at my curiosity. It was fun for me to browse through the alphabetical list of cocktails. Names like Swaying Skirt Martini and Perfumed Pomegranate appeal to my "fashionista" self. 360 Chocolate Sunset and Cocoberry Pie invoke my sweet tooth. Well, you get the idea.

Today, I've chosen two recipes from The Best Summer Drinks for Lemon Juice Day. The first is called Lemon Champagne Punch.

Lemon Champagne Punch
Juice 6 lemons
1 cup sugar
1 bottle white wine
1 bottle pink champagne
1 bottle club soda
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup curacao or another orange flavored liqueur
In a punch bowl, combine lemon juice and sugar, and stir. Slowly add the wine, champagne, soda, brandy and curacao. Makes 11 cups.

The next cocktail recipe is called Lemon Chiffon.

Lemon Chiffon
1 oz. Finlandia vodka
1/4 oz. triple sec
1 oz sweet and sour mix (Dissolve 1 tsp. sugar in 3 oz. water. Add 2 oz. lemon juice)
Fresh lemon wedge for garnish
Pour liquids into a glass. Squeeze the lemon and drop into the glass.

Would you like to win a copy of The Best Summer Drinks? Personally, I think it would make a GREAT host or hostess gift. I'd put it in a basket with two glasses and perhaps a few sample size liqueur bottles, dress it up a bit and save it for an emergency gift. Me! I'm keeping mine! Did I mention I have two of these books to give-away today? Well, I do and it's real easy to be in the running. Just leave a comment about a new drink you discovered this summer. It doesn't have to be a cocktail. It can be any beverage that made a lasting impression on you this summer or any other summer for that matter. It doesn't matter where you live. If you send me your address, I'll be HAPPY to send it to you! I'll be choosing two winners September 3; the Thursday before Labor Day weekend. If you would like to include a link in your comment to a beverage you conjured up on your blog this summer, be my guest!!! Happy Lemon Juice Day and Good Luck!

I explored the many health benefits of lemons a while back while researching a post about the invention of the lemon squeezer. If you would like to visit it, it's called Squeezing the Lemon. It's a short post and includes a recipe for Lemon Cake Top Pudding.

1. Squeezing the Lemon: Who invented the lemon Squeezer (previous post)
2. What Can You Do With Lemon Juice?
3. Limonada, lemonade or limeade (whole fruit blender recipe)
4. Preserving a Slice of California
5. Bartender Magazine
6. LunaCafe’s Triple Lemon Doodles (Awesome!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy Can-Opener Day!!!

While I'm quite satisfied with the explanation as to why today is National Waffle Day, I am not so convinced as to why today is also Can-Opener Day or Knife Day for that matter. At least National Waffle Day celebrates the invention of the waffle iron on the day it was patented by Cornelius Swartwout; August 24, 1869. As far as I can tell, Can-Opener Day should be celebrated on January 5th in the US and July 13, in Britain. Why? Well, it was on January 5, 1858 that Ezra J. Warner was awarded patent #19063 titled an "Instrument for Opening Cans."

(google patents)

The can-opener is not without its share of controversy. For openers, the can opener was invented some forty years after the can. Peter Durand invented canned food in 1813. "Why the delay in the invention of the can-opener" you might ask. Simple really, people were just following the directions they were given right on the can; "Cut round the top near the outer edge with a chisel and hammer."

In 1858 Ezra J. Warner of Waterbury, Connecticut, patented the first can opener. An intimidating combination of bayonet and sickle, Warner's invention was nonetheless eagerly adopted by the U.S. military during the Civil War. Household use of the can opener increased when William W. Lyman added a wheel for continuous operation in 1870. Although his design relied on the lid of the can being punctured first, and the opener being specifically adjusted for cans of different sizes, it no longer meant opening a can of peaches was as risky. (source)

It isn't necessary for me to continue the debate as to who was the first to invent the can-opener and to be perfectly honest, that's just fine with me. There's an excellent PDF file available from research pod with contains illustrations and a more detailed look into the history of the can opener. It tells of both Robert Yates and Ezra Warner's inventions. It also explains how "domestic can openers were supplied with cans of "bully beef." If you want to see a better picture of a Bully Beef can-opener, I found one at toolmonger "The webs first tool blog." (Their words not mine:)

Poppy Cannon & The Can-Opener Cook Book

"...Armed with a can opener, I become the artist cook, the massive creative chef."

I missed Poppy Cannon's birthday on August 2, so, I thought I would make up for it by sharing a few recipes from a cookbook by her titled The Can-Opener Cook Book published in 1951. The copy shown is a third printing; 1953.

You may have heard me complain every once in a while about the lack of information available online in regard to authors, especially cook book authors. Such is not the case with Poppy Cannon. Since, I am trying to keep this post short, I will save what I have discovered about her until next year and share it on the day she was born. I will tell you however, she was a huge campaigner of short cut cooking which is quite surprising when you try to imagine that she and Alice B. Toklas authored a book together titled Aromas and Flavors Past and Present. There's a quick reference to Poppy Cannon in this recent article (2004) by Ann Hodgman where she explores the abiding question What's for Dinner "Convenience foods have been doing battle with old-fashioned cooking for half a century. Which side is winning?"

This cookbook solves the problem of those who demand gourmet cooking in short-order time. The menus and recipes show how the hurried and even inexperienced cook, using the prepared mix, the jar, the frozen-food package, or the canned product as a base, can produce delectable, impressive dishes. (The Can-Opener Cookbook)

Selecting a recipe from The Can-Opener Cook Book is surprisingly difficult. This book is a favorite of mine from my collection. When I first opened it, Im sure I heard a snap in my head. I'm not sure if it was because my mind was already in the "can" spirit or if it was the crisp newness of the book. It is in better condition than some of the cookbooks I've recently browsed on the store bookshelves. That was many years ago. It is also one of the books I have anticipated sharing anxiously. You may think it is because of the recipes. In a way it is. What I find most engaging about this book is the Introduction.

Something new has been added to the age-old saga of good eating. America, never before gastronomically renowned despite its wealth of excellent ingredients, burgeoning larders, fertile farm lands, herds and flocks, has developed epicurean interests-but with a difference. Our cooking ideas and ideals have their roots in many lands and cultures, but our new way of achieving gourmet food can only happen here-in the land of the mix, the jar, the frozen-food package, and the ubiquitous can opener.

The introduction is six pages. Perhaps, the best six pages of can opener domestic history in a cookbook.

At one time a badge of shame, hallmark of the lazy lady and the careless wife, today the can opener is becoming a magic wand, especially in the hands of those brave, young women, nine million of them (give or take a few thousand here and there), who are engaged in frying as well as bringing home the bacon.

I relate with the above passage, intimately. When I was growing up in the fifties, we hid our can opener! I kid you not. My father, despised can openers and canned food. Not only did he "forbid" it, he also detested frozen foods, prepared cake mixes, anything in jars with the exception of pickles; no relish! I know for a fact, he pretty much lost the battle. By the time I was in elementary school, things had changed, although, he would never admit it. (We're Italian:) Every pay day for years, under one arm he would have tucked a brown paper bag hiding either canned peaches or canned fruit cocktail. Under the other arm would be a half gallon of Neapolitan Ice Cream. (just plain ol' vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Thankfully, we didn't worry about cholesterol in those days:) Sunday night was My-T-Fine Chocolate pudding night. I can't remember if we were "allowed" to eat it while watching the Ed Sullivan Show or The Perry Como Show. I do remember standing over the stove stirring and stirring so the "boxed" pudding wouldn't burn. And, who could forget licking the spoon and scraping the bottom of the pot?

To the rescue comes the manufacturer of so-called ready-to-serve foods. Actually, at least in gourmet terms, they are not quite ready to serve, but they do provide the basis for any number of prideful, even complicated, specialties...Armed with a can opener, I become the artist cook, the massive creative chef.

You too may be scoffing the use of prepared mixes etc. You may also think the recipes in this book are outdated. Personally, I don't think so. On the contrary, incorporating healthy alternatives has never been easier. As the summer wanes, many are wondering what to do with the fruits of their labor. It's reflected in some of the blogs I visit. Some are canning, pickling, and preserving while others are freezing all sorts of blends in anticipation of a long and cold blustery winter:) My feeling is, as long as I am controlling the ingredients I have available, I can afford to buy the ingredients I crave. If it is less expensive to buy the pre-made pie crust, than it is to "make it from scratch" and time or desire are of the essence, I will buy it. I have a balance.

Escoffier demands over and over again slowly simmered, painstakingly clarified white or brown stock. On the back of every gourmet range, the stock pot never ceased to simmer--that was in the old days. But now, canned consomme or chicken broth provides an admirable answer. For greater economy, bouillon cubes or meat extracts, plus hot water, may be used. (Ed Note: Nay on the cubes.)

Suggestions are also extracted.

In the canned stewed department, there is much that is interesting. Although such stews are notoriously under seasoned to appeal to the average palate...they can be transformed with a rinse of red wine, a clove of garlic, parsley, half a bay leaf, and a flicker of mixed herbs to make something akin to Le Boeuf en Daube as served in France...

The second section of the introduction is simply titled The Recipes. In this section, Poppy Cannon once again illuminates the ease of short cut cooking.

In each case we have tried with a few lines of introduction to explain our reasons for including each particular recipe. We have tried also to describe as well as mere words can the appearance and the flavors of our various dishes. Far too many recipes--fine recipes too--are printed to rest unknown, unnoticed, and untasted within the covers of a book simply because modern authors lack the persipicacity of those old-time ladies who in their handwritten recipes more often than not would title a recipe not merely Veal Loaf, for instance, but Aunt Mame's Special Veal Loaf--very light and fluffy. They might add, "Men of this family have always loved a loaf fixed this way with a hard-boiled egg in the center..."

Many of the suggestions offered for the planning of A Quick Gourmet Meal still hold true today.

Contrast: texture, flavor and color (a smooth and creamy dish must be served along with something crisp; chicken a la king, for example, goes well insdie a ring of julienne potato sticks.) green peas, sliced tomato, golden corn-the rich brown of a grilled lamb chop.) (a bland food requires a piquant accompaniment--a pork chop for example is at its best with something cool and fruity, such as applesauce or pickled peaches.)

Can you tell I'm hungry???
Drama: Drama enters not only in your choice of dishes, silverware, and centerpiece, but also in the napkins, the tablecloth or mats, the color of the candles, the color and shape of the water glasses. All these things can add tremendously to the enjoyment of a meal.

Whenever you plan a meal just for yourselves or for company don't attempt too much. Keep it simple--confine your efforts to one or two dishes and make them very, very good...No matter how simple it is, never try out a new dish on a new audience. Even the greatest of chefs has a dress rehearsal before an important dinner.

I now know why I save pickle juice. I've been know to have at least five jars of pickle juice in the fridge. I would combine them all to make sauerbraten. That reminds me, I haven't made sauerbraten in years. You just heat the vinegar mixtures, just to get the chill out. Set your sauerbraten meat in a big non-reactive bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over the top. I use to buy different pickles just to have a variety of pickle juice. All pickle juices are not the same you know:) Don't forget to have a box of ginger snaps on hand, it makes GREAT sauerbraten gravy!!!

You may not be in the mood for sauerbraten just quite yet. For me, it's one of those meals to serve on a chilly night especially during winter. However, how about this recipe for Spiced Carrot Sticks?

Spiced Carrot Sticks: Once you've tried this recipe you'll never again throw away the spicy liquor from a jar of pickles! Scrape and cut crisp young carrots into strips about 3 inches long and not more than 1/4 of an inch thick. Cover with the spicy vinegar from a jar of pickles and allow to stand overnight in the refrigerator. (If you haven't enough liquid to cover the carrots, stretch it by adding vinegar and water, half and half.) At serving time, Drain and arrange on a plate or serve in a bowl, with or without crushed ice.

 A delightful warm weather soup with an unusual garnish.
You Will Need:
bottled clam juice
canned vegetable cocktail (I prefer the glass:)
Tabasco Sauce
Combine equal parts icy cold clam juice and very cold canned vegetable cocktail (V8?), season with a little extra salt and pepper, if desired, and a few drops of Tabasco sauce. At serving time, Serve in glass or china cup or bowl, adding to each portion a spoonful of crushed ice and a spoonful of finely cut, unpeeled cucumber. Note: If you have no ice-crushing machine you can crush ice cubes by placing them in a small canvas bag and hitting several times with a hammer or any other heavy object. 1953 remember:)

Have you ever experienced a Blushing Bunny? "Don't let the whimsical name deceive you--it's a hearty luncheon or supper dish."
You Will Need
condensed tomato soup
sharp American cheese
toast, crackers, or English muffins
Combine 1 can condensed tomato soup, 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup sharp American cheese finely cut or shredded, 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard, the yolks of 2 eggs well beaten. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and mixture is thickened. Fold in stiffly beaten whites of 2 eggs. At serving time, serve immediately on toast, crackers, or toasted English muffins. Makes 6 servings. Ed Note: There was a time when it was almost "criminal" to have a child who didn't eat eggs and not to do something about it. Hop in Blushing Bunny!

I never made it to the boat show. I had a minor fall and sprained a ligament in my leg. I did, however, have a friend drive me to PA. YAY PA!!!  What better place to rest:) After, I mosey outside to see how my thirsty plants are doing, you'll find me sitting in my favorite chair with my leg elevated:) Don't worry, I'll still be visiting "the" blogs:) Enjoy Can-Opener Day!!!

1. National Waffle Day @ Mr. Breakfast
2. Cornelius Swartwout
3. Waffle Iron Patented
4. No Waffling-Waffle Day (quick previous post with waffle recipes)
5. First, lever-type can openers @ wiki
6. Research Pod (PDF file)
7. Walter Francis White and Poppy Cannon Papers
8. Fruit Cocktail: Does it Suck?
9. Fruit Cocktail Meringue Pie

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Introducing, Peppermint Patty!

Peppermint Patty's birthday may not be until October but I just couldn't wait that long to share this recipe for Peppermint Patty's Prune Whip. I found it in the Peanuts Cook Book with recipes by June Dutton and cartoons by Charles M. Schulz. Why today? Because, today is the day Peppermint Patty made her Peanut's debut!!!

1. [Peppermint Patty] Mint-Chocolate Brownies (one more brownie for Brownie Month)
2. Peppermint Patty Brownie
3. Peppermint Patty Frosting
4. Peppermint Patty Cocktail
5. York Peppermint Pattie (website)

Christopher Robin Milne

Shame on me, I missed Christopher Robin's birthday yesterday. Perhaps these recipes will sustain you. They were gathered from The Pooh Cook Book by Virginia H. Ellison; illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard.
Tomorrow is National Sponge Cake Day! As for me, I'm off to the boat races! Enjoy!
1. Winnie the Pooh Day (previous post with recipes:)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mr. Hires and the Black Cow

Once upon a time, long long ago at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Charles Elmer Hires, a Philadelphia pharmacist, introduced Hires Root Beer to the world. Young Charles was an adventurous sort of lad and quite the gifted entrepreneur and although he was the first to commercially bottle root beer, he did not invent it.

Many writers on root beer have credited Charles E. Hires as the inventor of root beer, but that is not quite correct. Long before Mr. Hires started marketing his product various forms of root beer have existed. In fact, root beer dates all the way back to colonial settlers. The colonist had made a beverage known as small beer. Basically, this was a normal beer that was drank very soon after bottling, and since fermentation hadn't progressed very far the beer was far less alcoholic than normal beers. Another problem the colonist faced was a lack of barley in which to make their beer so they used pretty much anything that would ferment. They soon found that by adding large amounts of sugar (actually molasses) that they could get just about anything to ferment. It wasn't long before they made a small beer out of various local herbs, barks, roots and berries. This was the first root beer.

Charles Elmer Hires was born in Elsinboro Pennsylvania (some say Elsinboro New Jersey) on August 19, 1851. As a son of a farmer, Charles was quite sure he did not want to spend the rest of his life toiling the soil like his father. Instead, he began experimenting with powdered roots and extracts developing medicinal syrups and tonics when he was probably suppose to be milking the cows. 

Personal Life: Charles Elmer Hires was born on August 19, 1851, on his family’s farm outside of Roadstown, New Jersey. He was the sixth of 10 children of John Dare Hires and Mary (Williams) Hires, who counted among her ancestors Martha Washington, wife of President George Washington. Despite such distinguished ties, the Hires family was not a wealthy one. Young Charles had very little formal education and held his first job before he reached his teens.

Hires was married twice, first to Clara Kate Smith in 1875 and then, following her death in 1910, to Emma Waln in 1911. 

Hires was a Republican and a devout Quaker who financed the restoration of the Merion Meeting House in Merion, Pennsylvania, where William Penn had worshipped. He even wrote a book about the project entitled A Short Historical Sketch of the Merion Meeting House (1917).  source

In addition to root beer, Hires made considerable money from the manufacture and distribution of condensed milk. The venture began in 1899 and blossomed into a wholly separate business for Hires. He eventually sold this condensed milk company to the Nestle Company in 1918, after having built more than 20 milk plants in various regions of the United States and Canada.

The story of Mr. Hires and the development of Hires Root Beer is a bit frothy at times and buried in a foam of inconsistency. I've tallied up a timeline gathered from a variety of sources. You will find additional information and resources below. 

1843-According to the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed), the earliest print reference to "root beer"was published in 1843. 
Nathaniel Hawthorne mentions both "root beer"and "ginger beer" in his House of Seven Gables" (1851)
1851-Charles Elmer Hires born.
1863-Charles E. Hires works as a drugstore boy at a pharmacy in his home town. He's paid $12 per week.
1867-1869-Charles Hires attends night classes at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science.
1870-Charles works as a Pharmacist’s Apprentice in Philadelphia. Using $400 he saved while working he opens his own pharmacy while living on the premises. He packages and begins selling the mix, Hires Herb Tea, at his pharmacy.
1875-Charles Hires marries Clara Kate Smith. They spend their honeymoon on a New Jersey farm. (some believe it was while he was on his honeymoon that he first tasted "root tea." The tea was a blend of sixteen wild roots and berries similar to a beverage consumed by Native Americans for many years prior. Charles persuaded his hostess to part with the recipe:)
1876-After several years of development, Charles E. Hires begins marketing kits for home brewers, stating that his recipe is the “Greatest Health-Giving Beverage in the World.” Hires Root Beer Extract is introduced at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, which took place between May 10, 1876, and Nov. 10, 1876. (A package of Hires extract sold for 25 cents, and it made five gallons of root beer; a wholesome temperance drink)

In the years following the Exposition, Hires continued to market his drink to the temperance crowd, and he also developed a liquid extract or syrup for use in soda shops. He began to ship root beer in kegs, and he even patented a dispenser called the "Hires Automatic Munimaker" that he sold to the soda fountains that were popping up everywhere. (source)

1879-The Hires Root Beer Company loses the patent for the name “Root Beer.”
1888-Charles E. Hires markets a preparation in liquid form for making root beer. This preparation was called "Hires Improved Root Beer." One package was sufficient to make five gallons of beer. Subsequently the name of this package in liquid form was changed to "Hires Household Extract."
1893-Hires offers convenient pre-mixed carbonated bottles of root beer for the first time. They are supplied by The Crystal Bottling Company and distributing to local retailers. The demand for the drink skyrockets (the recipe supposedly consisted of sugar or honey with such ingredients as sarsaparilla, sassafras, licorice extracts, vanilla and wintergreen)

Hires Root Beer quickly became a sensation. By the early 1900s, many homes in America had Hires Root Beer Kits, which allowed families to brew their own root beer by mixing dry extract with water, sugar and yeast at a cost of five cents per gallon. Despite the success of the home kits, Hires decided that he could sell more root beer if people didn't have to brew it. He later developed liquid concentrate and soda fountain syrup, as well as bottled root beer.

1893-August 19, 1893 the first National Black Cow Day!! (now what would a Black Cow be without Root Beer?)
1904-Hires markets, sells, and advertises a fountain syrup for making root beer. He spent $100,000 a year in advertising the syrup. Annual sales reach more than $500,000.
1906-June 26, 1906-The word "Hires" is registered as a trademark.
1913-How Charles E. Hires Laid the Foundation for His Commercial Success-Opportunities Come to All-The Philosophy of a Successful Merchant published in the American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record. (online copy @ Hires Root Beer Extract a Success Story.)
1937-Charles Elmer Hires dies in Haverford, PA.
1960-FDA bans the use of Sassafras oil in foods and drugs. (Sassafras oil was the key ingredient in root beer before 1960.)

Hires may have been the most successful early root beer producer, but he was not the first to make root beer in the U.S.A. Root beer was first developed in the U.S.A. and was brewed by many prominent soft drink and mineral water bottling plants as early as 1830. Ginger beer was the principal predecessor of root beer, and was made in England a hundred years earlier. There may be 8,000 different English stoneware ginger beer bottles, but no root beer bottles. Ginger beer was their favorite national beverage up until around 1930, when Coca-Cola became available world wide. "There were at least 45 known brewers of root beer prior to 1870. The term root beer may have originated around 1780. Doctor Chase used the term root beer in his 1864 book: Dr. Chase's Receipt Book and Practical Physician Donald Yates

The Black Cow

Celebrate the Wort Moon: Make Your Own Root Beer! Then, Make Your Root Beer Floats to celebrate National Black Cow Day which just so happens to be Today!

From the Washington Post This Week in History:

On Aug. 19, 1893, Frank Wisner, owner of a soda shop in Cripple Creek, Colorado, made the first root beer float. Inspired by the snow-capped Cow Mountain, Wisner called the drink Black Cow Mountain. It later was shortened to Black Cow. One variation of the recipe includes chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

What exactly is a Black Cow? From The Dictionary of American Food and Drink by John F. Mariani.

Any variety of ice-cream sodas made with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Usually the soda itself is either chocolate, sarsaparilla, or root beer (called a Boston cooler), and the name refers to the mixture of dark soda with the white dairy item floating in it. If made with chocolate soda (that is, seltzer, milk and chocolate syrup), it might be called a Black-and White, especially in the East. In the 1930s plain root beer sometimes went by this term, as did chocolate milk in the 1940s, especially at lunch counters.

Around the middle of the 1950s a favorite expression Anyone for a Black Cow? once again echoed across the East coast. Hires began marketing their Root Beer with such slogans as "Try a Real Black Cow It's Moovelous Just add vanilla ice cream to glass of ice cold Hires Root Beer" and the classic Soda Fountain Ice Cream Soda was once again at the top of the billboard. It didn't matter whether it was a Black Cow or a Brown Cow as long as it was a Root Beer Float!

Now, I know, many bloggers have all ready celebrated Root Beer Float Day this month. I've chosen today to celebrate because August in also National Inventors' Month and I thought it would be "cool" to "shake it up a bit" and celebrate National Black Cow Day! What better way is there to do that than serve you a few recipes which include root beer soda.

Root Beer Float Cake
Homemade Root Beer Floats
Root Beer Bundt Cake
Root Beer Cookies

The Homemade Root Beer recipe below may be just a tad outdated. It was harvested from a vintage Yeast Foam advertising leaflet probably distributed in the early 1900s by The Northwestern Yeast Company of Chicago. If you really want to try your hand at making your own home made root beer, you're better off following that first link.

Home Made Root Beer

Vanilla Ice Cream recipes are fairly easy to dig out online. One of my favorite classic recipes for Vanilla Bean Ice Cream was posted by The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond in July 2009. I've chosen to include a more vintage recipe from Elsie's Book of Magic Recipes published by the Borden Company in 1942. You see, today, also happens to be the day Gail Borden obtained his patent for condensed milk.

Elsie the CowCondensed Milk recipe

1. Hires RootBeer Facts
2. Colonial American beverages: Root Beer (food timeline)
3. Root Beer: Have Some, My Dear (excellent article)
4. The First Root Beer
5. Root Beer Float Cupcakes @ A Southern Grace
6. Hires Root Beer Celebrates 125th Anniversary
7. Hires and the Root of Root Beer
8. Does Hires Root Beer Date Back 120 Years?
9. Local Historians Argue Over the Root of Hires
10. The Federal Reporter 1912 p.890
11. Hires Trade Cards
12. Hires Root Beer by Don Yates (member of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors PDF file)
13. Locavore Liqueur: Philadelphia’s new colonial "Root Tea"
14. Homebrewers Outpost (supplies)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Celebrating Davy Crockett

I was but a tot when Disney "recycled" the legendary career of the "King of the Wild Frontier" in the made for TV episodes starring Fess Parker as Davy Crockett. So, it comes as a bit of a surprise to me when relatives "whip" out a picture of me in front of a New York City tenement clad in a Davy Crockett jacket straddling a three wheeler; bicycle that is. I'm sorry, I can't give you much more detail. First, I don't have a copy of that picture and second, it's in black and white.

I leave this rule for others when I'm dead, 

Be always sure you're right—THEN GO AHEAD!

It occurred to me just this past week that I really should get a copy of it or at least have someone scan it on over. After all, I do have two grandkids whom I'm sure will get a big kick out of it someday. Heck, if I had it right now, I would have shared it with you all! I'm sure it's my recent camping trip which is causing this wave of backwoods legend nostalgia. Thing is, I have no recollection of ever being a Davy Crockett fan. I didn't even own a coonskin hat! How can that be? For the youth of the 1950s and 60s, the "Crockett Crave" was all the rage.

...Davy Crockett was our hero. And to prove it, we all went out and bought coonskin caps. About 100 million dollars worth of raccoon caps sold in one year certainly qualifies as a fad of serious ecocnomic proportions...(fiftiesweb.com)
Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, 
Greenest state in the land of the free, 
Raised in the woods so he knew every tree, 
Kilt him a b'ar when he was only three. 
Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier! 
From "The Ballad of Davy Crockett"

Many songs and tall tales have been sung about folk heroes like Davy Crockett. Some of them are based on fact with exaggerations, and some are completely fiction. The legend of Davy Crockett was indeed born on a mountaintop, but he did not kill a bear when he was only three. And his name was David Stern Crockett, not Davy.

As historical persons go, Davy Crockett was a real man who became a legend during his lifetime.

American frontiersman, born in Greene county, Tennessee, on the 17th of August 1786. His education was obtained chiefly in the rough school of experience in the Tennessee backwoods, where he acquired a wide reputation as a hunter, trapper and marksman. In 1813-14 he served in the Creek War under Andrew Jackson, and subsequently became a colonel in the Tennessee militia. In 1821-24 he was a member of the state legislature, having won his election not by political speeches but by telling stories. In 1827 he was elected to the national House of Representatives as a Jackson Democrat, and was re-elected in 1829. At Washington his shrewdness, eccentric manners and peculiar wit made him a conspicuous figure, but he was too independent to be a supporter of all Jackson's measures, and his opposition to the president's Indian policy led to administration influences being turned against him with the result that he was defeated for re-election in 1831. He was again elected in 1833, but in 1835 lost his seat a second time, being then a vigorous opponent of many distinctively Jacksonian measures. Discouraged and disgusted, he left his native state and emigrated to Texas, then engaged in its struggle for independence. There he lost his life as one of the defenders of the Alamo at San Antonio on the 6th of March 1836; probably he was one of six executed after the battle. (source)

His enduring popularity is attributed to among other things, his wanderlust for exploring the western frontier, his wild adventures, his reputation as a great hunter, and his participation in the Battle of the Alamo.

No man can make his name known to the forty millions of this great and busy republic who has not something very remarkable in his character or his career. But there is probably not an adult American, in all these widespread States, who has not heard of David Crockett. His life is a veritable romance, with the additional charm of unquestionable truth. It opens to the reader scenes in the lives of the lowly, and a state of semi-civilization, of which but few of them can have the faintest idea.
Following the defeat of Santa Anna’s Army and Texas Independence, a Nashville publisher put out the first edition of the "Davy Crockett Almanac" and it was a huge success in no small part due to Crockett’s martyrdom at the Alamo. Over the next 20 years, various publishers put out over 55 issues of the Almanac, which included so many tall tales about the Tennessean’s exploits, that he faded into the background of American folklore as almost a mythic figure. (source)

Frontier Recipes

It is said, "Davy Crockett stands for the Spirit of the American Frontier." It seems to me, the best way to celebrate Davy Crockett's birthday (August 17, 1786) is with some genuine frontier recipes. Thrown in with a few cowboy vittles and shreds of beef jerky and we have all the fixins needed to honor the "king of the wild frontier." By the way, if you're looking for even easier treats to embellish your Davy Crockett celebration, I've left a few recipe links in the resource section. I suggest you try the Davy Crockett Bars or the Davy Crockett Cookies:)

Just in case the hunter in you hasn't fully bloomed, I have chosen a few dishes not quite on the wild side and a bit more "fiftyish." The following recipes come from a cookbook titled The Wonderful World of Cooking by Edward Harris Heth. Published in 1956 by Simon and Schuster, The Wonderful World of Cooking offers recipes for Springtime Breakfasts, the Garden Harvest, the Fisherman and Hunter, and for Midnight Buffets and Holiday Dinners. The following recipes come from chapter four; the Hunter.

Wild Rice Recipes
Wild Rice Casserole: Boil as much wild rice as is wanted until done. Fry 4 or 5 strips of bacon until crisp, drain and crumble. In a good bit of butter, cook several chopped onions, some diced celery and parsley until transparent but do not let it brown. Mix all together, including the butter from the pan, and add a good supply of sliced stuffed olives and some pieces of black olives. If the mixture is not moist enough, add a little broth or more melted butter. Top with browned buttered bread crumbs and heat through in a hot oven.
Wild Rice & Mushrooms in Sour Cream: This is especially good with duck or pheasant. Fry 1 lb. whole mushrooms in butter, add 1-1/2 cups sour cream to the pan, salt, fresh pepper, a dash of mace and another of nutmeg, and a little red wine. Heat through, put on a large platter and surround with mounds of buttered and seasoned wild rice. Scatter crumpled bacon over all.

I'm including the next two recipes, just because. Regular visitors to this blog must know by now how excited I get when I discover a recipe in one of my cookbooks that is not already out there somewhere in cyberspace. What's even more fruitful about this particular recipe, IMHO, is its versatilely:

Spiced Currants in Wine: Serve these as a royal embellishments to any game or fowl dinner, especially venison or wild goose.

Personally, I would love to try this spiced currant sauce on salmon. And, I just might. I know it is sometimes frustrating not to have a picture to accompany a recipe but, just this time, try to imagine the results of this blend of fragrant ingredients:)

Spiced Currants in Wine
Boil 2 cups brown sugar with 3/4 cup wine vinegar, 3/4 cup port or claret, a stick of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground all spice and 1/4 teaspoon ginger to make a syrup. Add 2 cups of dry currants and a lemon shaved into very thin slices. Simmer until the fruit is soft and the syrup thick. Serve hot, or bottle and preserve.

Once again from The Wonderful World of Cooking:

...a proper fowl or game dinner requires more than just bird or beast alone. Wild rice, red cabbage, ruby wine, certain tart jellies and fruits and nuts---all these are natural hand-maidens.

Pickled Walnuts are traditionally a delicacy served during the Christmas season especially in England. They are an excellent condiment with grilled or roasted meats or game. Pickled Walnuts enhance cheese dishes as well as egg and egg dishes. And, the Vegetarian Society give them a "Thumbs up! If you're lucky enough to have access to a walnut tree, "walnut catsup" makes a GREAT gift!

Despite their versatility, I hesitate including the following recipe because it doesn't include directions for the preparation of the walnuts as does other recipes I have found in my travels. I myself have never made pickled walnuts. However, I have seen many recipes for them while reading vintage cookbooks and magazines. I found the following recipe interesting because it is based on a sugar syrup rather than a brine. Perhaps, and I'm really not sure about this, it is the reason the brining steps are left out. Perhaps not. I did find a most interesting blog post about pickled walnuts at a blog I have never visited before. It seems Julie lives in Missouri the number one producer of Black Walnuts. I really enjoyed visiting her blog and will go back as soon as I have a bit more time:) The recipe:)

Pickled Walnuts or Butternuts
Shell the nuts; if you don't have a nut tree, use the whole shelled English Walnuts from your grocery store. Make a syrup of 1/2 cup white sugar, 1-1/2 cups brown sugar, 4 cups water, 1 cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon each of cloves, ginger, allspice, mustard seeds and curry powder and the chopped rinds of a lemon and an orange. Boil until well thickened. Add 2 or 3 cups of whole nuts, simmer 5 minutes, remove from heat and add several jiggers of rum. Bottle while still hot. Serve with any dark meated fowl or game.

To my wonderment, I found this Davy Crockett Triple Nickel Book in a box of old cookbooks a few years ago. I guess I'm not the only cookbook collector who has a bit of that adventurous spirit:)

1. Davy Crockett @ PBS
2. Explorers, Pioneers, and Frontiersmen: Davy Crockett
3. Texas Treasures: Davy Crockett
4. Davy Crockett bio
5. Bear Hunting in Tennessee: Davy Crockett Tells Tales, 1834
6. Fess Parker's Shooting Gallery
7. 1950s Television Westerns
8. Rye whiskey: Davy Crockett drank it
9. A narrative of the life of David Crockett ... By Davy Crockett (1834 @ google books)
10. A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee, published in 1834
11. David Crockett: His Life and Adventures by John S. C. Abbott (1875)
1. Davy Crockett Cane-Charred Prawns (Davy Crockett was known as “The Gentleman from the Cane.”)
2. Davy Crockett Bars ("a school cafeteria favorite")
3. Davy Crockett Cookies 
4. Davy Crockett Bars
5. Braised Rabbit with Red Wine
6. Aunt Florrie's Pickled Walnuts
7. Purple sprouting broccoli with pickled walnuts & Poulcoin cheese

Friday, August 7, 2009

It's Raspberry and Cream Day!

I'm off to the races but before I go, I just had to leave this simple elegant recipe I found for you in Taste of New York: Signature Dishes of the Best Restaurants by Karen Gantz Zahler with tantalizing photographs by Tom Eckerle. After all, it's bad enough I missed National Raspberry Popover Day, (May 3) National Raspberry Cake Day, (July 31) National Raspberry Cream Pie Day (August 1) and chances are I will probably miss National Raspberry Bombe Day, August 11. Whew! Well, I am not going to miss Raspberry and Cream Day and that, dear visitor, is that!

This recipe sounds so easy to prepare I have a sneaky suspicion even I could whip it up. Now, you know I don't say that very often especially when it comes to baking. That's just it, no baking needed to create this majestic bounty. You have to admit, it sure looks "purty?" I would love to tell you more about the Taste of New York cookbook but you know as well as I do, I'm off to the Finger Lakes region of New York (I'll be getting me some wine while I'm there) in just few hours and I just don't have the time right now. I will be sharing additional recipes from this book at a later date. In the mean time, enjoy Raspberry and Cream Day and please think of me while you are preparing this elegant dish from The Four Seasons.

Raspberry Summer Pudding
The Four Seasons
English pudding steeped, filled, and topped with the sweetest, ripest raspberries is the ultimate summer treat. Resembling an English currant trifle cake, this creation, served with a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraîche, is sure to draw raves from your dinner guests. The pudding can be made equally well by alternating layers of raspberries and blackberries or any seasoned berries.

6 pints fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 pound white bread, sliced and crusts removed
2 tbs. raspberry jam or raspberry preserves, melted with a tablespoon of water.

1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped, or 1/2 cup crème fraîche
4 fresh mint leaves (optional)
candied violets, (optional)

1. Lightly rinse 4 pints of the raspberries. lace them in a large bowl with the sugar and mix with a wooden spatula until the berries are just crushed. Macerate the berries, stirring them occasionally, until they are half liquified. (The sugar will draw the juice out of the berries.)

2. Line the bottom of a round 6x2-inch cake pan with a sheet of plastic wrap, leaving enough to cover the top of the pudding later on. Neatly spoon a very thin layer of berries (just enough to coat) over the bottom of the pan. Top with a layer of bread that fits together so neatly that it looks like the pieces of a puzzle. Continue layering until you have three layers of bread alternating with 4 layers of raspberries. All the layers of raspberries, except, the top and the bottom layers, should be the same thickness as the bread. (There may be a little raspberry-sugar mixture left over.) Cover the top of the cake with the reserved plastic wrap, then place a weight on top. Refrigerate overnight.

3. Knock the pan on a table to loosen the pudding and then unmold it carefully onto a 6-inch round cardboard or cake plate. Remove the plastic wrap.

4. Mix the melted raspberry jam or raspberry preserves with the remaining 2 pints of berries, taking care not to bruise the raspberries. Cover the top of the pudding artfully with the berries, arranging them in concentric circles.

5. To serve, slice generously and garnish with whipped cream or crème fraîche, fresh mint leaves, and candied violets. Serves 6

I'll be back to visiting and catching up the middle of next week. I also have a surprise give-away in the works!!!

Recipes for Raspberry Days
National Raspberry Popover Day recipe
National Raspberry Cake Day recipes
National Raspberry Cream Pie Day recipe

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy Friendship Day!

Happy Friendship Day!

In 1935, the US Congress proclaimed the first Sunday in August as National Friendship Day. The History of Friendship Day has helped the popularity spread and today oodles of people in countries all over the world commemorate the day by dedicating the day to their friends.

You might be surprised to discover, Friendship Day has an Ambassador who holds the honorary title of "Ambassador of Friendship." In August of 1997, at a Friendship Day event co-sponsored by Disney, Winnie-the-Pooh was decreed the Ambassador of Friendship. A year later, on August 3, 1998, the United Nations observed "Pooh's Friendship Day" by holding a concert and inviting 50 pairs of friends--25 pairs of kids and 25 pairs of adults with the participation of Kathie Lee Gifford, then co-host of the ABC talk show "LIVE with Regis & Kathie Lee." Disney characters Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore were there too! Performers sang family-oriented songs in front of the Global Pooh Friendship Flag, which was made up of winning entries in an art contest open to children and adults in the United States and six other countries. Entrants were invited to submit original pieces depicting friendship, and the special role played in their friendship by Winnie the Pooh. Sponsored by Disney, each of the winners, who ranged in age from 4 to 75 years old and came from Australia, Japan, Mexico and the United States, received a trip to New York City with his or her best friend including a visit to the United Nations. Although these events are no longer sponsored by Disney, Winnie still is the guest of honor at his Hometown Festival held the 3rd week in August each year.

"Let's go and see everybody," said Pooh. "Because when you have been walking in the wind for miles, and you suddenly go into somebody's house, and he says, "Hallo, Pooh, you're just in time for a little smackerel of something," and you are, then it's what I call a Friendly Day."(The House at Pooh Corner)

Words of Friendship

What words come to mind when you think of friendship? Caring, sharing, acceptance, unconditional, encouragement, laughter, tears, trust, and honesty, are a few of the expressions I associate with friends and friendship. When I was a young girl, I had a Pen Pal. We faithfully corresponded for 7 years. We never met. Later in life I was introduced to a 97 page book titled 84 Charing Crossing Road (1970) by Helene Hanff. Have you heard of it? There's a detailed review about it at Waterstones, an online London bookshop. There are also a few excerpts cited in a New York Times article published in April of 1997.

In summary, 84 Charing Cross Road is the heartwarming story of a long distant friendship which endures for twenty years between Helene Hanff, the author and book lover from New York and Frank Doel as well as the other staff members at Marks & Co, a second-hand bookshop in London. Through their twenty-year relationship, the two strangers become in some ways like family. They exchange both Christmas and birthday gifts. Their letters included discussions about topics as diverse as the sermons of John Donne, how to make Yorkshire Pudding, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It is an engaging book worthy of a trip to the library.

I mention this book today dear visitor, because I am touched by the kind sentiments of all of you who remind me of the cordial delight found in 84 Charing Crossing Road. From you I have received encouraging words of wisdom, delightful tales, engaging recipes, and fascinating stories. Because of you, I have gone on picturesque journeys, learned of cultural intimacies, and enlightening foods and remedies. I have been consoled by your messages, energized by your creativity, and gladdened by your reinforcements and random acts of kindness. (RAK, yes you taught me that acronym too:) You have emailed me winsome birthday cards, and even sent me treasured books from places I have never been and may never visit. You have offered me dinner when you had an inkling I may be alone on a family holiday while gingerly scolding those around me who bark at my time spent blogging. With delicate words of honesty you have accepted my misspelled words, horrendous punctuation, lack of vocabulary insight and somewhat wordy posts. All of these things and so many more and yet, you have never seen my face or looked into my eyes. Happy Friendship Day and thank you.

Gifts in a Jar

On this very special day, I would like to offer you a collection of friendship day jar recipe links as a token of the many friendships shared throughout the blogosphere. Your friends will be delighted with these thoughtful gifts straight from your kitchen and I am happy to be sharing them with you. They are fun to make, easy to decorate, thrifty, and only limited by your imagination. Once you discover the ease of creating formulas there's no telling what you adventurous food bloggers will come up with. By the time you read this post, I will be on my way to PA. Enjoy!

A man must eat a peck of salt with his friend, before he knows him.
~Miguel De Cervantes~

Friendship Day Recipes

1. Recipe for Friendship (poem) @ BellyBytes
2. Brownie Mix Recipes (It's Brownie Month remember:)
3. Instant Cappuccino Jar Mix (Don't wait til the holidays)
4. Cake in a Mug Mix (With a cake mix and a microwave, you can make a single cake that bakes right in its own coffee mug. How cool is that!)
5. Friendship Soup Mix in a Jar (safe to store)
6. Friendship Soup Mix in a Jar (great for restricted diets)
7. Long List of Gift in a jar recipes
8. Peaches & Cream Bath Salts in a Jar (for fussy friends:)
9. Food Gifts in a Jar or Bag Recipes
10. Easter Bunny S'Mores in a Jar
11. Orange Slice Cake Mix in a Can
12. Orange Slice Cookie Mix in a Jar

Who comes to eat with you,
Gets many a lump of sweetness too.
A Friendship Cook Book
Mary Hammond Shaw (1939)

1. Famous Quotes about Friends & Friendship
2. News article archives 8/4/98
3. United Nations Daily Highlights August 3, 1998
4. Some notes from Science Blog.com
5. 84 Charing Cross Road (revisited)
6. The Literate Housewife 84 Charing Crossing Road review
7. Recipe for Pooh's Honey Cookies on a Stick (image recipe not google picasa album)
8. Happy Winnie the Pooh Day (previous post)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Feasting Our Way in August

Feasting Our Way in August...

The fields are all alive with sultry noise,
Of labor's sounds, and insects' busy joys;
The reapers o'er their glittering sickles stoop,
Startling full oft the partridge conveys up;
Some o'er the rustling scythe go bending
And shockers follow where their traces have gone,
Heaping the swaths that rustle in the sun.
~John Clare; Shepherd's Calendar~

Monthly Food Celebrations

August is National Farmers' Market Month and in 2009, August 2-8th is National Farmers' Market Week. Farmers’ markets offer consumers farm-fresh, affordable, convenient and healthy products. So, keep visiting your local community market for farm fresh foods and support our local farmers.

August is National Catfish Month. I must say, the Catfish Institute sure could do a better job of promoting Catfish Month. I had to take this Catfish Quiz in order to get it from the Catfishs' mouth so to speak. I really didn't mind. It was kinda fun and after I was done, I found these "great menu ideas."

I was rather confused about National Peach Month last year. I thought it was in July. But, some sites said August. That was cleared up when I discovered a Reagan Proclamation declaring July 1982 as Peach Month. Whatever the confusion, eat a peach, heck eat a bushel! Fresh is always better. The recipes I posted last year are mostly for canned peaches. Anyone have fresh, juicy, peach recipes they want to share?

The ears are filled, the fields are white,
The constant harvest moon is bright
To grasp the bounty of the year.
The reapers to the scene repair...
The meals are done as soon as tasted
And neither time nor viands wasted,
All over-then the barrels foam-
The "largess-cry," the "Harvest Home."

Not widely promoted, August is also National Goat Cheese Month. The American Cheese Society, says that "officially touting goat cheese in August should help get more consumers to try this wonderful product." I agree. "The history of the production of goat cheese goes back beyond the time of the ancient Greeks to when the goat was first domesticated about 5000 BC..."(read more...) Although cow's milk and goat's milk have similar fat contents, goat's milk has a tart flavor which adds to the body of goat's milk cheese. I also happen to be a huge fan of goat's milk yogurt! You can find Goat Milk Products online. I warn you, it's addicting. I know some of you visitors like "playing" with goat cheese. Just take a look of how many recipes pop up on my google Hospitality Search.

I discovered a new monthly food celebration for August, just today. (I'm always looking:) Boy oh boy, how did I miss this one last year? Not only is August National Brownies at Brunch Month, it is also plain 'ol Brownie Month. (like there's anything plain or old about brownies:) I wish I could remember where I found out. I'm sure it was at one of the links above. Right after I realized it was a "new discover," I headed over to Janet's blog, Dying for Chocolate, to spread the news. Well, wouldn't you know it, she shared a post about Brownie Pops. Very sweet of her:)

Ah, Watermelon Month. Does anyone really care if Watermelon Month is in July or August? I certainly don't think so and I know for a fact the Watermelon Guy doesn't either. So what if I celebrated Watermelon Month in July. August 3rd is Watermelon Day. Now we have more "excuses" to try some of those watermelon links I gathered from some of my favorite blogs, pictures and all. It looks scrumptious, if I do say so myself. Go see...

August is National Inventors Month. I've been very neglectful keeping up with my Tasteful Inventions blog so, I'm not going to send you there today. However, you should read about what's going on at the Smithsonian for National Inventors' Day especially if you're a fan LEGO (s)

Thanks to Stephen & Pam over @ Live Everyday Like a Holiday for reminding me about Sandwich Month. Yes, that's right, August is National Sandwich Month! Mustard or Mayo?

A Week of Daily Celebrations

August 1 is Lammas Day, or loaf-mass day, the festival of the first wheat harvest of the year. Celebrating Lammas @ School of the Seasons.

August 1-is National Mustard Day (celebrated annually at the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum on the first Saturday in August.) If memory serves me correctly, it may also be out favorite Cakespy's birthday. (I'm pretty sure:) BTW, I did some Mustard Mustering last year.

August 2 Friendship Day, I have something special planned for Friendship Day but just in case I don't make it, go meet my new Happy Holiday "friends." They'll be thrilled to tell you Friendship Day. why not get started with the Amish Friendship Cake recipe?

August 3 is Martha Stewart's Birthday! Martha Stewart was born Martha Helen Kostyra on August 3, 1941 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Martha Stewart @ the Academy of Achievement.

August 3 is Watermelon Day (always the first Sunday in August)

August 4 is National Champagne Day, maybe. It seems everybody everywhere like to celebrate Champagne Day whenever they feel like it! I have in my notes that Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon invented champagne on August 4th in 1694. At least someone agrees today is the day.

August 4 is President Barack Obama's Birthday. What are the best birthday gifts for President Obama? Maybe Politico knows.

August 6-William Andrus Alcott, author of The Young Housekeeper was born. His biography is at Feeding America.

August 6 is Root Beer Float Day. Why Root Beer Float Day is celebrated on August 6th is beyond me. According to tidbit legend, the Root Beer Float was invented on the same day as condensed milk; August 19th. That, however seems to be debatable. Although, some do agree it was invented by a man named Frank J. Wisner. Root Beer Float or a Black Cow , what the heck, Stephanie at Fund Foods on a Budget has a recipe posted celebrating Root Beer Float Day and it's from scratch! How cool is that Mr. Hires and the Black Cow.

August 7: It's Raspberry and Cream Day!

August 8 is National Zucchini Day not to be confused with National Zucchini Bread Day, which is in April.

August 17th is time for celebrating Davy Crockett with a side order of Frontier Recipes!

1.Julie Powell's Blog
2 Julie & Julia (website)
3. Just Another "Julie & Julia" Review
4. The Be Like Julie: Cook From Julia (contest)
5. Julia Child Heirloom Tomato (@ Gary's Ibsen's Tomato Fest site)