Sunday, April 18, 2010

April Food Celebrations: 18th-24th

This time next week, I'll be in "sunny" Idaho. Sun shines anywhere my grandchildren are:) Needless to say, I am ecstatic!!! I'll be there for both Tabi and Noah's dance recital, gymnastic programs, Grandparents' Day at school, AND, Mother's Day!!! I hear the kids have a few days planned themselves but don't you worry, grammy has a few ideas too:) Shssh... we're going to start a garden. I think we'll call it The Visiting Garden.

I haven't worked out all the details yet. I do know we will need a fair amount of time. We'll see what happens. If all goes well, I'll give you the run down when I return. In the mean time, I'm not leaving yet, let's see what food celebrations we have this week.

The 1st Whoopie Pie of the season
Whoopie Pie
The 1st Cardinal of the season. You really need to click to enlarge Cardinal
The 1st Dandelion of the season.
I LOVE Dandelions:)
I Love Dandelions

April 18th

Animal Crackers, you know those tiny bites of animal shaped crackers, have a birthday. Supposedly, they made their National Biscuit Company [Nabsico] debut on April 18th, 1902. Further investigation required...However, this may just be the perfect time to sing that jingle so famously recited by my all time favorite; Shirley Temple. Why? Shirley Temple's birthday is also this week!!! (Those of you who have been visiting here since the beginning, may remember my very first avatar was that of Shirley Temple's "Curly Locks.")
"Animal crackers in my soup,
monkeys and rabbits loop the loop...

April 19th

It's Garlic Day!

Last year I did a post about the healing benefits of garlic. As I look back, I'm not happy with it. I would LOVE to do a new Garlic Day post but, no can do this year. How about, I leave you my recipe for Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil; (Aglio e Olio) the very first meal I gave to both my grand children as soon as they could get their tiny mouths filled with pasta. (Of course, I chopped it up for them and fed them with spoons) Now, they slurp up the pasta just like kids should. I always grate Locatelli cheese on my Aglio Oilio, tons!

Aglio Oilio
1 lb. thin spaghetti
3 ounces extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic sliced (I don't use a garlic press, some do)
salt & pepper to taste
3 anchovies (optional)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (a couple of handfuls)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. As the pasta is cooking, gently heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan and add the garlic to the heated oil and saute until lightly browned. If you are adding the anchovies, you can add them at this time. I usually add a handful of parsley at this time saving the rest for the top along with the crushed red pepper. When the spaghetti is done, drain it and add it slowly to the oil mixture. There are a few variations to this method. Some choose to strain the pasta lightly so that some of the liquid from the spaghetti is added to the oil. I don't do it this way. I like it garlic and oil style! Be careful when adding the pasta to the hot oil. Top it with the remainder of parsley, crushed red pepper, and the your favorite Italian grating cheese. Mine is Locatelli however, Parmigiano Reggiano works GREAT too!
The "Ninja Method" of Peeling Garlic: "The only thing about garlic I didn't like was peeling it. Until I discovered the "Ninja Method," that is. All you do is put a little salt on a cutting board, put the clove on top, and, with the back of a wide knife, give it a good whack, screaming like a Ninja warrior as you do. Then just pull off the skin and chop it with abandon." (Mike Kalina's Travelin' Gourmet pg. 5)

National Amaretto Day! Garlic and Amaretto both in the same day...I best leave it at that:) I have persoanlly made this recipe for Chicken with Amaretto. Take my word for it, it's heavenly!!! The recipe is from a charming Amaretto recipe book published by the distillers of Amaretto Disaronno. Chicken Amaretto

April 20th

National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day is April 20. You can celebrate with this recipe for Vegan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake or this one for Butter Rum Pineapple Upside Down Cake; 1st place winner at the 2006 Wahiawa Pineapple Festival. I bake a mean Pineapple Upside Down Cake, with a cake mix of course:) It looks something like Marjie's Pineapple Upside Down Cake but she bakes hers from scratch!

Lima Bean Respect Day (I'll be posting; out of respect, of course:)

April 21st

John Muir, often referred to as "America's First Conservationist" and the "Father of our National Parks," was born today; April 21, 1838.

National Chocolate-Covered Cashews Day

Have you ever heard of Peppercorn Day? It's a holiday celebrated in Bermuda on the Wednesday closest to April 23rd. On the day of the peppercorn ceremony, officials collect one peppercorn as rent of the Old State House in Saint George.

April 22nd

Cadwallader C. Washburn, (PDF) General Mills Founder, was born on April 22, 1818. One of 10 children, during his life, Washburn would become a congressman, a governor, an army general, a lumberman and a flour miller. He was successful at all of these occupations.

National Jelly Bean Day

On April 22, 1964, the New York World's Fair opened. Like many fairgoers from years past, a new taste sensation was to be experienced for the very first time. Guess what we had at the fair? Bel-Gem Waffles:)

Many of the World's Fairs were long remembered for a fast food sensation introduced at the exposition. The ice cream cone was introduced at St. Louis in 1904 and the 1964 New York World's Fair had the "Bel-Gem" waffle. Of course it orginated at the Belgium Village, but it was also all available all over the Fair. It was constructed of a fat, fluffy waffle base that was piled high with strawberries and topped with whipped cream. Best of all it was delicious. source

There seems to be a bit of a discrepancy and a recipe at Saveur.com

Maurice Vermesch baked these waffles (properly called Brussels waffles and, in Belgium, topped with just confectioners' sugar) at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, but only after he sold them at the 1964-65 New York fair did they soar in popularity in this country...
Earth Day: The Earth Day Groceries Project is a cost-free environmental awareness project in which students decorate paper grocery bags with environmental messages for Earth Day. While you're at it, why not bake up Janet's Dirt Cupcakes for Earth Day or Emily's Gourmet Dirt Cake.

April 23rd

Today is the feast day of St George, the patron saint of England. To celebrate St. George’s Day, some English establishments have suggested feasting on one of England's popular culinary offerings; the pudding.

National Cherry Cheesecake Day
Shirley Temple's Birthday

Happy Birthday to the Bard of Avon!
From *Morsels of Shakespeare: (a previous post)A lovely recipe for Salmon with Violets from Shakespeare's Kitchen.
Shakespeare in his plays speaks of apricots, mulberries, pomegranates, quinces, figs, gooseberries, and seems to have had a particular interest in strawberries, then considered by many to possess some special health giving qualities. In Henry V a courtier likens the emergence of the young king's virtues after a misspent youth to the virtue of the strawberry thriving under the nettle. Indeed, the fascination with medicinal plants and herbs long survived: to Shakespeare, rhubarb was known as physicke (which, to be sure, it is), and cowslips, lungwort, liverwort, pennyroyal, were respected for their qualities along with the mysterious mandrake--celebrated in the second line of John Donne's lyric "Get with child a mandrake root...(The Horizon Cookbook & Illustrated History of Eating & Drinking through the Ages by William Harlan Hale & The Editors of Horizon Magazine, © 1968 pgs. 131-132)
Why oh why National Picnic Day is sometimes stated as being celebrated on April 23rd, I don't know. However, it sure seems like the perfect time to remind everyone about the Picnic Game we played last year for *International Picnic Day in June. "I'm going on a picnic [in June] and I'm bringing...

April 24th

National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day

Isabel Gordon Curtis author of The Good Housekeeping Woman's Home Cook Book was born April 24, 1863.

On April 24 1800, President John Adams signed a law establishing the Library of Congress.

The third week of April is designated as National Bubblegum Week. It looks like I'm not the only one who gets days and weeks mixed up; but hey, who can resist this Bubblegum Martini? I mean really Just Grin & Bake Make It!

FYI: Kasha over @ Have a Daily Serving & Enjoy is having an eyeball saver of a give-away. All you need to do is comment on the last movie that made you cry to enter. (hint, hint:)


  1. Now I'm feeling guilty. Yesterday, they were mulching garlic at the farm, but I got too tied up in errands to go. It would have been a perfect way to celebrate Garlic Day. Have a great trip, Louise - sounds like you've got some wonderful plans in the works!

  2. I will have a special giveaway for the Garlic day tomorrow :) Have a terrific trip!

  3. Lots of great celebrations there. I personally don't care for jelly beans, but the other human in the house does...

    Have a great trip! It sounds as though you'll be exhausted when you get back.

  4. Have fun and enjoy the kiddos!
    Love that spaghetti with garlic recipe, simple too!
    If you like dandelions, have I got the recipe for you! I may repost it because it is my favorite salad of all.

  5. We love animal crackers here. I ship them to my daughter in Wyoming when she whines too much that she can't find them. Recently, her Facebook status, according to her sister, was something to the effect of "Removing all the buffalo from a bag of animal crackers. Someone has to save the endangered species." It's great when food is fun!

    Have a wonderful trip to Idaho!

  6. Have a safe trip. Time spent with family is truly blessed. Cheers!

  7. My give-away is indeed still going on. Thank you so much Louise. What can I do for you for being such a great friend? I really can't thank you enough. What a fantastic grandmother you must be. Idaho is lovely and a garden sounds so fun. I too love Dandelions. Keep me posted on your travels and thanks again! You make my blog fun.

  8. i'm quite certain that the ninja yell is the key to making the garlic work its magic in whatever dish you're making. who cares if the neighbors question your sanity? :)

  9. I hope you have a wonderful time with the grandkids!

  10. Yeah - Happy Garlic Day - Have an amazing time with your grandkids - that is so special. What a wonderful treat. Enjoy it to the fullest and I hope you have lovely weather too!

  11. Sounds like you have a great trip. planned. I would love to see a cardinal in person but I don't think they live around here. I visited the New York Worlds fair but don't remember if I had a waffle, that was a long time ago!

  12. Louise, enjoy your time with the kids...love the information on your post :-)

  13. Aw, going back to see 2 generations of your family...I hope you have the best time! I'll bet you're a super-cool grandmother, and your grandkids are lucky to see you!

  14. Ok....I will use more garlic than I used to in the month of April ...:p

  15. Oh, my husband's favorite pasta of ALL TIME is spaghetti with aglio olio and pepperoncini. He orders it at least once a week when we're in Italy.

    I love your posts.

  16. I heard about the garlic day today! I love garlic. It's awesome that we get to have a garlic day... :)

  17. Your spaghetti with garlic and onion sounds wonderful, Louise! I, too, put anchovies in my very favorite pasta sauce (a marinara). Even people who swear they hate anchovies don't detect them. Thanks for the fun post, as always. The first whoopie pie of the season? Definitely worth celebrating :)

  18. Hope you're having a wonderful time with your grandkids, Louise!!

  19. I love to visit here. I learn so much and it is fascinating.


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

Thanks for dropping in...Louise