Sunday, April 11, 2010

April Food Celebrations: 11th-17th

I happened upon quite an embarrassing dilemma when tallying the winner of the April Fool's Day Game. Quite frankly, I've decided give-aways are not my forte. It seems, I should have stressed the fact that since the Sauces book is so hefty, the game was opened to US residents only. You can imagine how I felt when I had to tell the person who I thought won, she wasn't eligible to win because she didn't live in the US. Terrible, horrified, and just plain rotten to say it mildly. I didn't have much of a choice considering others from "far away" lands also wanted to participate and I had to tell them; "not this time."

I certainly don't want to lessen the excitement for Miranda from A Duck in Her Pond. She also guessed the two ganache recipes and she lives in Texas. So, Duckie, if you are reading this post, please get in touch with me so I can get the book of Sauces in the mail ASAP. 

April 11th

National Cheese Fondue Day-FonDOs and FonDON’Ts
The Melting Pot fondue restaurants are donating $10 from every cheese fondue purchase on April 11 to local charities across North America in honor of National Cheese Fondue Day.
Chicago’s legendary fondue restaurant Geja’s Café, 340 W. Armitage, celebrating its 45th year of business in 2010, will celebrate National Cheese Fondue Day, Sunday, April 11, by offering complimentary samples of their world renowned Swiss Gruyere Cheese fondue on the outdoor patio from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Simply Fondue will celebrate National Cheese Fondue Day on Sunday, April 11th, by offering any of their six varieties of cheese fondue for $10 per pot, a wine tasting paired with an appetizer or cheese fondue for $25, and a chance to win FREE cheese fondue for one year!
James Vernor, Sr. born today
Vernor's Recipes

The Vernor Recipes die-cut booklet pictured is unfortunately undated. It is another example of the popularity in die-cut advertising promotions. Although it measures about 5 inches, it's primed with recipes using "Deliciously Different" Vernor's. Foreword:

Vernor's Ginger Ale is "deliciously different" and such complete refreshment in itself, that is seems to be "gilding the lily" to suggest its use in concocting mixed drinks and other delicacies.
There are, however, so many delightful recipes which are made more delightful by the inclusion of Vernor's that we have prepared this little booklet to acquaint you with a few of them.

I actually had a difficult time picking out a recipe to include today. The pictured recipes are Vernor Punch and Vernor Julep (the pages are really in better condition than they appear & will open larger in a new page.) As expected, there are a few beverage recipes but, to my "delight," there are also recipes which use Vernor's as a cooking ingredient. There's Vernor's Chicken Salad, Frozen Pineapple Salad, Apples a la Vernor and more. The one I decided on is Baked Ham a la Vernor.

Boil Ham until tender, discarding water. Remove skin and excess fat. Rub liberally with brown sugar and stick cloves into ham. Place in baking dish, adding contents of one or two bottles of Vernor's Ginger Ale according to size of ham, sufficient to baste. Bake in slow oven until ham is heated through (one to two hours), Baste every 15 minutes.

James Vernor, Sr. was born on April 11, 1843 in New York. He moved to Detroit Michigan as a young boy. He was a pharmacist and druggist who invented Vernor's ginger ale in 1866. He also served as Commander-in-Chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States during World War II.

"Most historians credit James Vernor as the inventor of ginger ale. His trade expanded at such a rate that he soon abandoned his drug store and went into the manufacturing of ginger ale on a full time basis although he was very proud of holding Michigan Pharmacy License #1 as long as he lived". (source)

April 12th

It's National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! I posted about the history of grilled cheese for *National Grilled Cheese Month in 2008

National Licorice Day

April 13th

According to What's Cooking America, on April 13, 1995, Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma proclaimed that the real birthplace of the hamburger on the bun, was created and consumed in Tulsa in 1891.
The term Hamburger steak first appeared in the January 5, 1889 edition of the Walla Walla (Washington) Union. The steak was soon dropped...Origin of the Word Hamburger
We have no archeological evidence telling us when the first hamburger was eaten or where. It is almost certainty, however, that the first hamburger was eaten raw. Stone age peoples, having no metal tools, sometimes chose to scape away at large chunks of raw meat with sharpened, chipped stones. The small particles they collected were easier to chew than gnawing directly on large, tough slabs of raw flesh.Lila Perl The Hamburger Book (c) 1974.
(I hope to be sharing recipes from Lila Perl's book in May; National Hamburger Month!)

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia. If there were any American President I would like to sit down to dine with, it would be Thomas Jefferson. I hope to one day do a post devoted to Thomas Jefferson. In the mean while, I leave you Jefferson's Rum Omelet from a previous *Presidents' Day post.

Jefferson's Rum Omelet
6 eggs beaten2 tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. salt2 tbs. confectioner's sugar
3 tbs. sugar4 tbs. apricot preserves
4 tbs. rum
Add salt, sugar and 2tbs. of rum to beaten eggs. Beat again until fluffy. Heat butter in omelet pan, pour in egg mixture, cook until firm, lifting up from sides. When firm throughout, but still a little moist, fold over, slip onto warm platter. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Make a sauce of remaining rum and preserves. Pour over omelet.

Catherine de Medicis, The Italian Queen of French Cuisine,  is another person often associated with food and culture. Catherine was born on April 13, 1519 in Italy. She married Prince Henry, the second son of the King of France in 1533. It is said that Catherine invented women's panties to enable her to ride a horse with her skirt high enough to show her legs. She brought melon seeds, sweetbreads, aspics, truffles, artichokes, quenelles, custards, cakes, cream puffs and more to the French dining experience. She also brought the first forks, recipes for Italian sherbet, which her son Henry III ate daily. In order to gain political influence, Catherine formed a group of young women known as the Escadron Volant. (Flying Squadron) She taught them how to entertain men, by skillfully showing them proper etiquette and table manners. In order to prevent the girls from getting pregnant, she taught them how to eat green apples and told them to drink a cup of vinegar a day; two items of the day thought to prevent pregnancy. We may also bestow the credit of “Florentine” preparations on Caterina de' Medici.

Edna Lewis, the "Queen of Southern Cooking," was born in Freetown, Virginia on April 13, 1916. I will be back on her birthday to share a few recipes from In Pursuit of Flavor. See ya then!!!

April 13, 1962, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson published.

To this day, one of my most influential reading experiences comes from a book written my Rachel Carson titled Silent Spring.

Silent Spring, one of her most famous and controversial works, was published in 1962, and was called by Justice William O. Douglass, "the most important chronicle of this century for the human race." In Silent Spring, Carson warned against the indiscriminate use of chemicals upsetting the balance of nature. The book prompted a controversy among conservationists, the chemical industry, and the Department of Agriculture. Ms. Carson learned that she had cancer during the writing of Silent Spring. She died in 1964 at her home in Silver Spring, Maryland. (source)

In the 70's, when I was a young mother, I learned all I could about organic gardening. I read about companion planting; Garlic Loves Roses you know. Once when I was out in the yard in the middle of the night removing tomato horn worms off of my tomato plants, my neighbor in the back, who also happened to be a sherif, came out to investigate. There I was with my pail and flash light picking those nasty creatures off my plants. He laughed, said something to the effect of, "she's at it again" and went back in his house. We often bickered over the fence about the size and production of our gardens. His garden certainly "looked" better then mine but I always insisted mine was healthier and saved lives. I put the worms in the compost pile. What happened to them after that is anybody's guess but at least they were off my tomatoes and still alive. Making manure tea was a project in itself. I had a 50 gallon drum dug into the ground where I put all my ingredients for manure tea. I know it doesn't sound appetizing but it sure did work. Oh yes indeed, it did stink up the yard and the surrounding areas but I didn't care. After all, when my neighbors were spraying their yards, whatever insects survived probably came over to my safe haven. It took about 3 years before I got a bumper crop but it was certainly worth it. Thankfully, organic gardening has gotten a bit easier these days but, we should all remember, and pay homage to those such as Rachel Carson who even in the midst of disease and controversy turned the conversation to the sounds of our gardens and where they come from:)

National Peach Cobbler Day

April 14th

I just can't seem to get the correct date for National Pecan Day. If you saw that link, you may gather the reason as to why I don't know How To Celebrate National Pecan Day. In any case, the consensus seems to be that April is indeed National Pecan Month and that's fine by me. I posted a rather detailed recipe for Nectarine Pecan Cake back in 2009 when I was still celebrating National Pecan Day in March. Just in case you didn't see it, here's a portion of that post with the clickable recipe.
This dessert--comprised of buttery crisp wafers, moist genoise, fresh nectarines and rum buttercream--is a striking example of Jim's deep understanding of harmony among ingredients. The cake is presented with nectarine rum sauce; despite its subtlety, it clerverly accentuates the cake's star ingredients. Jim exhuberantly launches into the logic behind the dessert. He chose nectarines because few people know how to incorporate them into baked desserts. "I devised the wafers to add buttery crispness. They balance the drier crunch of the pecans. The rum contributes warmth. It awakens all the flavors of the dessert...

"On the evening of April 14, 1912 a number of first-class passengers on the Titanic revelled in a privately hosted feast in the first-class á la carte restaurant." The Last Dinner on the Titanic. 

April 15th

April 15, 1955 first *McDonald's Debut

Tax Return Dinner

National Glazed-Spiral Ham Day

Painter, musician, poet, engineer, mechanic, architect, physician, gourmet and cook, Leonardo de Vinci was born April 15, 1452. From Epicurean Monthly, by Jean Conil October, 1957.
Leonardo de Vinci was not to proud to turn his attention and genius towards kitchen equipment, and his manuscripts contain the design and description of a spit, [roasting] still used in certain regions of Italy today.

April 16th

The Dagwood Bumstead's Famous Sandwich introduced.
The Dagwood Sandwich was introduced to the American public on April 16, 1936. It was invented by Chic Young and featured in his comic strip Blondie. The first Dagwood consisted of tongue, onion, mustard, sardine, beans and horseradish. Over the years, the sandwich grew bigger and typically included everything "but the kitchen sink!" foodtimeline.org
National Eggs Benedict Day.

Day of the Mushroom

April 17th

Eliza Acton was born on this day in 1799 in Sussex.

National Cheeseball Day

One of our most beloved cartoon characters celebrates his birthday today; Daffy Duck!! Happy Birthday Daffy Duck! Are YOU celebrating???


  1. Oh goodness! Where to start?! Have I told you I drive smack thru the old Shadwell property to get to work, town, back home again?

    I think we'll have to celebrate something every day this week, if I can get my act together. There's something each and every day that's dear to my ... tastebuds.

    No Daffy celebrations here. I'm not much on cartoons, and he definitely wouldn't make the short list.

  2. Fun, informative, well-written. Enjoyied reading this post. Have a great Sunday. Cheers!

  3. I must remember to celebrate grilled cheese sandwich day tomorrow! Food of the gods!

  4. I wish I'd planned better for Fondue Day. Love fondue, but I'm baking bread today. Oh, cheese.

    I'd like to join your meal with Thomas Jefferson. I'll bring the ice cream!

  5. That omelet sounds great.

  6. These cheese holidays are very important - can't believe I let fondue day get by without any acknowledgment. I'll have to do a delayed celebration. Thanks for keeping me informed. I am now curious as to what it would be like to live an entire year cooking to celebrate what every food festival comes up, that might not be a bad thing

  7. I was brought up on Vernor's gingerale. I remember going to their factory as a child, sitting at a counter and having a Vernor's float. After I moved to Florida in teh 70's, we were unable to find Vernors for several years. I guess enough people finally demanded it and it arrived on the shelves.

    As for Eggs Benedict, it was my mother's favorite dish and I am posting it for Mother's Day in May...unfortunately not on Eggs Benedict Day!

  8. Oh my so many things going on. Love grilled cheese, they you've got peach cobbler. Then you've got Dagwood's sandwich, and eggs benedict and day of the mushroom! Wow!

  9. I would love to have dinner with Thomas Jefferson too - and you, of course! He was such a foodie! One of his descendants writes a food blog called Jefferson's Table. I love his omelet with the rum and apricot preserves.

  10. Great post and that omelet sounds fantastic. I'm so glad to hear there's a National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! Yum! I could never get into Eggs Benedict though for some reason. And National cheeseball Day! Great things here! Thanks!

  11. Must make a grilled cheese today! Thomas Jefferson's rum omelette recipe sounds very intriguing!

  12. I just got your e-mail today--I'll e-mail you back tonight!

  13. So old TJ put rum in his omelets, eh? Interesting. I want to take the boys to Monticello this summer. My youngest decided when he was 4 years old that Jefferson was his favorite president because he doubled the size of our country with the Louisiana Purchase. I have no idea how he learned that so young.

  14. With all your knowledge you should really write a book !

  15. Channon: I do think you've mentioned driving through Shadwell, you lucky girl!!! I do hope you will share your tastebud craving with us this week. I'm sure Daffy won't mind if he is not included, LOL

    Lazaro Cooks: Thank you so very much:)

    Foodycat: Did you remember to celebrate Grilled cheese Sandwich Day? Not to worry if you didn't, the entire month of april is Grilled Cheese Month here in the states!!!

    T.W: I wouldn't dream of entertaining Thomas Jefferson without inviting you!!! I wish I had planned better for Fondue Day too, T.W. I love fondue too!!! There's always next year I suppose, if we can wait that long:)
    P.S. We'll ask Jefferson to bring the wine:)

    Comfycook: It sure does, Chaya!

    OysterCulture: You're funny OysterCulture; cheesy holidays are the best!!! I was hoping to one day cook each celebration date but it may take me a while. You are welcome to post a recipe for any food celebration you choose. Just let me know and I'll link!!!

    Barbara: Oh those were the days Barbara. I don't remember Vernor's gingerale but I do remember going to the ice cream parlor and having my first Kitchen Sink!!! If I had my way, I do believe I would have Eggs Benedict every day for the rest of my life! Of course, life would be much shorter:) I'll be sure and check out your Mother's Day post. I will be in Idaho for Mother's Day this year but Michele wouldn't dram of trying to make them for me:)

    Veron: I know exactly what you mean, I'm the one choosing which order to put them in when I'm writing the post, LOL

    Cinnamon-Girl: Well, that makes three food bloggers and one foodie extraordinaire for dinner! T.W's bringing the ice cream, you the omelet, Jefferson the wine and ME??? What sweet thing should I bring, now let me see...

    Pam: Thanks, Pam. You're sweet. I plan on making that omelet one day, perhaps, next year.

    5 Star Foodie: So, how was that grilled cheese sandwich of yours?

    Blond Duck: Thanks I'll watch for it:)

    Marjie: It's amazing what kids retain, isn't it? Monticello is one of my favorite holiday jaunts. I hope to someday bring Tabitha and Noah. Jefferson was such a foodie he would put most modern day foodies to shame!!!

    Sidney: I have all to do to keep up with my blogging, but you're sweet:)

  16. Yuck, raw hamburger, man they did live in the stone age didn't they.

    Those recipe books that you post about are really quite remarkable. I've never seen one out this way, not that I've ever looked mind you. Must keep an eye out to see if one exists.

  17. Sire: Don't fret none, those vintage books just may be before your time. Thanks for popping in!!

    P.S. If you find any, do let me know.

  18. I've passed the 50 mark Lousie. reckon maybe if I have a look at some antique store I will come across one. Reckon one from Australia would go nicely with your collection huh?

  19. Sire, indeed it would. Although, I do have a few die-cuts from England. They are very difficult to come by.

  20. So, you'd want to dine with Jefferson? I'd love to have met Lincoln, taken a walk with him, talked with him (well listen to him mostly); he was truly a remarkable human being.

    YAY for grilled cheese, a perennial favorite.

  21. Thanks for the great info and for stopping by my picnic blog to say Hello :-)
    You have wonderful blog and i loved the picnic game.
    Please if you can contact me by mail : picnicfoodideas@gmail.com
    I will be happy if you do :-)


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

Thanks for dropping in...Louise