Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yippee! It's National Chocolate Pudding Day & A Quick Picnic Game Update

I was just about to tell you how much I LOVE chocolate pudding, when I realized, I proclaim an awful lot of love on this blog, and your blogs, for all things sweet and decadent! How boring...Who am I kidding, I LOVE Chocolate Pudding and that's that!!!

Here's a foolproof and oh so decadent recipe I found in a small unassuming book titled Desserts and Puddings by Anne Wilson. Don't get me wrong, this magical dessert and I have been "bosom buddies" for quite a looooonnnnnggggg time:) I think so highly of this recipe, that I'm actually going to retype it rather than just scan it.

Here's what happened. As I told you, I discovered the perfect Chocolate Pudding Cake recipe to include in today's post, quite frankly, rather quickly. I knew the book, where it was and that it included a picture, which is sometimes not the case, when deciding on books and recipes for posts:) Anyway, rather than scan it, I thought you may be more tempted to give it a try if I typed instead. So type I did. Curious as to the "science" of self saucing and the history of Chocolate Pudding Cake, I took a quick leap to google for a quick search. Well, as luck would have it, I did indeed find a sorta kinda explanation for the science but not so much about the history. Instead, I "bumped" into this Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding Recipe @ Leite's Culinaria. Delighted to find a recipe which individualized these explosions of goodness, I copied the link to share. However, I just happened to do such a thing while the recipe I had just typed out and previously copied was not pasted into this post! Oh How I detest when that happens...So, I give you Chocolate Pudding Cake; Retyped:)

Chocolate Pudding Cake
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
4 tsp. cocoa powder (I suggest using your favorite very best good quality cocoa powder)
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup superfine sugar (extra; see directions)
3 tbs. sifted cocoa powder (extra; see directions)

1. Preheat oven 350°F. Brush a deep 8-cup ovenproof dish with melted butter
2. Sift flour, baking powder and 4 teaspoons of cocoa into a large bowl, add the 1/2 cup sugar and stir well. Make a well in the center.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and add the milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Pour liquid into the well in the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until well combined. Pour into ovenproof dish.
4. Combine the extra cocoa in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the pudding mixture. Gently pour 1-1/2 cups of boiling water over the back of a spoon onto the pudding mixture. (This helps the liquid to evenly spread out, without leaving a hole in the batter) Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. A sauce will have formed underneath the cake so it may be difficult to tell when it is done. Serve immediately with whipped cream or ice cream. (I sometimes wait until the "sauce" has thickened a bit before serving. It gets more pudding like while the cake gets more brownie like. Also, it's delicious cold or the next day!)

Why oh why? The "science" behind this recipe is right up there with the mystery of Tunnel of Fudge Cake. However, with these recipes, you don't have to worry about finding the "proper" box of frosting mix and it is just as heavenly. I'm assuming, according to what I could piece together from various websites, that the reason the layers separate so deliciously is because one is lighter than the other. Sorry, further investigation is needed. You will be pleasantly deceived into thinking you are shoveling your way into a cake like brownie soufflé when all of a sudden, an ooze of gooey chocolate goodness will erupt like lava. Another unique feature of this recipe is its portability. You can mix up the bottom layer, prepare your ovenproof ramekins, baking pan or oven safe mugs and when you’re ready to bake, just add the ingredients from the top layer and bake. How cool is that???

According to Jean Anderson in The American Century Cookbook:

"One of the most interesting cakes to come out of the 20th century, is this one from the makers of Mazola Corn Oil, which separates into layers as it bakes. The top becomes cake, and the bottom becomes pudding."

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Bottom Layer
1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup corn oil (I'm sure you could use canola or even olive oil:)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Top Layer
2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350° Grease a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan; set aside.

BOTTOM LAYER: In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, nuts, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix in milk, corn oil, and vanilla. Spread in pan.

TOP LAYER: In small bowl, mix sugar and cocoa and sprinkle over batter. Pour boiling water evenly over mixture in pan.
Bake 45 minutes. Serve warm, or if you prefer, cold. Makes 8 servings.

With a soft cakelike top, and moist goozly bottom, these pudding cakes seemed to spring up all over the country in the Forties. Lemon and chocolate were the two favorite, although Betty Crocker's 1950 cookbook also gave recipes for lime, orange, and pineapple. The puddings have a comforting, old fashioned air that kept them popular into the Fifties, but doomed them in the Go-Go sixties. Fashionable Food by Sylvia Lovegren p.147

I found a few variations for self-saucing pudding cakes which I have included in the resource section. It is now time for a Picnic Game Update!!!

Picnic Game Update

I'm ecstatic to announce all of the Picnic Game letters are "spoken" for. That's a record breaker, one week to be exact!!! Of course, I'm thrilled and you should be too!!! We have the best alphabetical group of picnic recipes you can imagine and the most innovative virtual online picnic game in the whole entire world!!! (You know anyone else whose playing the Picnic Game online:) Seriously, How cool is that!!! We have a few indescribably good surprises too!!!

If you haven't sent me your post yet, do try to get it in as soon as possible. Everyone is getting rather eager to throw out their blankets and enjoy a beautiful day of frolic and song. (Yes, stuffing your face is more than acceptable:) If, by chance, you decide you would like to include images in your Picnic Game post, or I've forgotten to send you an image, I've put the letters I have in their own Picasa album with a link to their "home" in the picnic basket. Depending on how the ABC links arrive, I'll either be posting another update on Tuesday or Wednesday. The excitement is beginning to stir, "see" ya then!!! Louise

FYI: Not only is June 27th National Orange Blossom Day, it is also the birth date of the famous Canadian woman who is credited with giving Thousand Island Dressing its name. Her name? Georgina May Campbell.

1. Classic Chocolate Pudding
2. Chocolate Pudding Cookies
3. Chocolate and Rhubarb Self-Saucing Pudding Cake @ Vegalicious
4. Chocolate-Hazelnut Self-Saucing Pudding
5. White Chocolate & Raspberry Self-Saucing Pudding
6. Chocolate Coconut Self Saucing Pudding
7. Low Carb Orange Blossom Cheesecake

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Mayonnaise Day?

Last year I declared June 22nd, Mayonnaise Day for a very good reason. Oh, it isn't an "official" declaration such as you would find in Chase's Calendar of Events but that's okay, many of the food days we celebrate here and else where on the internet, have been passed down through the years without so much as a Presidential Proclamation. I therefore proclaim June 22nd as Mayonnaise Day. Why? I have my reasons:

1. Today is the day Richard Hellman, the namesake of Hellman's Mayonnaise, was born.
2. I LOVE Hellman's Mayonnaise! (no lectures please:)

Last year I shared these vintage Hellman's die-cut recipe booklets

Filled with vintage Hellman's Mayonnaise recipes and a bit of mayonnaise history.

I even managed to bake up a Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

This year, I took the easy way out. Go ahead, beat me with a wet noodle, but time just keeps getting away from me:) I just scanned a couple of salad recipes from a book featuring Hellman's Mayonnaise titled That Amazing Ingredient: Mayonnaise published in 1979.
I also happen to like Chocolate Eclairs mucho too and guess what, today is Chocolate Eclair Day! I vow to make eclairs before next year:) I've made them before and I didn't even mess them up:)

Picnic News

Just in case you missed it, the annual Months of Edible Celebrations Picnic Game is now in session. Oh Goodie!!! It isn't to late to join in on the fun. All you need to do is choose a letter beginning with the dish you would like to bring to the virtual picnic, post about it on your blog, send me the link and you're invited!!! Pretty simple, right? Well, okay it is a tiny bit more involved than that but not much. And believe me, you will be glad you did. We've got some mighty tasty dishes filling up our picnic basket this year and a few surprises too!!! So, if you need further directions, head on over to here for the rules. If you're a returning guest or simply want to fly by the seat of your pants, pick one of these letters that are left and let's get a picnicking...

H, J, V, X,

I know it gets a bit difficult to imagine a dish you can bring when the letters start running out. You're saying to yourself, what the heck am I going to bring to the picnic that begins with the letter X? (quite frankly, with the exception of the letter X, I don't think the remaining letters are all that difficult to "jazz" up a bit) As for X, let's see, in 2009, we had XXX-Pizza tucked in our basket by TavoLini.

And last year, we had this X-quisite Layered Fruit Salad a tisketing and a tasketing in our picnic basket. Thanks again, Stephanie!!!

The only other suggestion I can make for the remaining letters is to think of an adjective that matches the letter and add it to your dish. Whah La! Jumpin' Jack Flash Fried Fish! (looks like verbs and nouns might work too:)

In other news, the dishes are beginning to arrive. So far I have three. If yours is ready, send it on in! I'm waiting just a bit longer to start sending the letters I already have out. If you want them now, just send me an email and I'll be happy to send them to you. I have, the letters, A, F and K waiting to be delivered. Should you decide to do bring an additional dish, you can either do one post with both dishes or two separate posts. Whatever you like. I'll be doing a round-up post of all the dishes with pictures on July the first!!!

Now, I've gotta run, I have blogs to catch up with!!!

1. Hellman's History (last year's post)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Quick Picnic Game Update 2011

Well, let me tell you, it has been one heck of a day around here. The Picnic Game is in full swing and would you believe, there are only 6 letters left! Yes, SIX! They are, H, J, V, X, Y, Z. If you are new to the Picnic Game, you just don't know what you're missing. Fly over here right now and check it out. Scroll down for the "rules." They'll be lots of goodies filling our baskets and you sure don't want to miss them. As a matter of fact, YOU may just want to join in on the festivities!!!

The level of excitement is incredible. It's just hard to believe that only three short years ago I was squirming with worry that all of the letters may not make it to the picnic. Of course you picnickers pulled it off and the Picnic Game began! I thank you:)

"Good friends, good food, good wine and good weather, doth a good picnic make" ~Anonymous
I wish I could reveal some of the goodies that will be filling our baskets, but quite frankly, I love surprises and I hope you do too!!! Surprises there will be!!! I've had a few inquiries about the lack of music this year. Well, as luck would have it, some of the songs I chose for last year plum up and left into cyberspace or have been blocked. I'm in the process of making up a new mix and will most likely debut it on Picnic Day. I'm also going to try and tidy this blog up a bit. It's getting a wee bit cluttered around here. Guests are coming you know:) While I'm at it, I may trim down the Picnic Game announcement post from yesterday. You would think I would learn by now to not get so carried away. I mean really, I could have waited to share the Picnic for Motorists book couldn't I? Yes, I'll trim it down. I don't want to be confusing the new picnic guests you know.
Let's see, that seems to be about it for now. I'll do a more thorough update when I get back from my mini vaca. Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you. If you don't hear from me Monday or Tuesday, rest assured, I will be back to my email by Wednesday. I've decided to take a drive to nowhere for those two days to celebrate my, {ahem} birthday. No phone, no computer, heck, I may not even bring my camera. I'm justa a goin'

From the Garden This Week


Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's International Picnic Day, Time to Play the Picnic Game!

Ready? Start your engines. It's time to play the Picnic Game! Can you believe it's that time of year again? And look at the new updated logo we have. That Heather, she's not only the hottest girl chef, EVER, she was sweet enough to create our picnic logo for 2011. Wasn't that nice of her? Thank you Heather!!!

To tell you the truth, I thought this day would never get here! Sure, we can blame it on what seemed to be the longest winter, EVER! But, I'd rather believe it's more likely because we just LOVE to play the Picnic Game and fantasize about all the fabulous goodies we'll be sharing. But first, a pit stop. Oh come on, you knew there had to be a pit stop:)
"Then from his knapsack very calmly and contently he takes cold chicken and golden encrusted rolls, packed for him perchance by loving hands, and lays conveniently by the wedge of Gruyere or Roquefort which is to be his whole dessert."~Brillat Savarin (as found in Picnics For Motorists)
Picnics For Motorists was written by the founder of the British Herbal Society; Mrs. C. F. Leyel. While researching Mrs. Leyel, I discovered she was actually renowned herbalist Hilda Winifred Ivy. Not only was she the author of Picnics For Motorists, she also edited the Modern Herbal in 1931 and owned a chain of herbalist stores called the "Culpepper Shops." By now, you must know how I feel about herbs so of course, I was delighted! I have another book authored by her titled The Magic of Herbs which I plan on sharing on her birthday in December.

Here's what I found out about her in The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: L-Z published in 2000. It was authored by Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie and Joy Dorothy Harvey and is available (limited) at google books. (I left link below)
First published in 1936, by George Routledge & Sons L.T.D., Picnics for Motorists is a fairly small red cloth book brimming with countless choices in its 118 pages. Choosing a recipe to share today, was most difficult. From the first page:

"This little book was inspired by a picnic near Itchenor, given in the summer of 1935 by the owner of a white Peke to the owner of a white Alsatian."
A taste of the Preface:
"There are many people with cars who make a regular habit of spending Saturday or Sunday in the country, with a hamper of food they are independent of hotels and can eat their meals in any part of the country they chosen...Today wide mouthed thermos flasks make it possible to arrange picnic food that is really delicious because not only hot or iced soups can have a place in the menu, but even curries, ragouts, and other casseroled dishes can be served steaming hot; or the meal can end with an iced sweet of some sort...Pies are as a rule much nicer cold than hot, but they must be made with plenty of jelly (the author also wrote jelly books)...It is better and more economical to buy the pastry for the pies from a good baker...Hard boiled eggs if they are to be eaten plain should be shelled beforehand and packed in a wide mouthed screw jar...A glass jar such as French plums are sold in the best container for salad and many other things...The expensively ready fitted baskets are not by any means the most useful and it is much more fun choosing the colored cups and saucers and plates that please one's own fancy...the more practical plates for meals are the white cardboard ones with waxed papers to fit, fluted at the edges so that they are heavy enough to stay on the plates which never get stained so that they can be used several times...No one is too young or too old to delight in such a simple pleasure as a picnic in lovely surroundings and there is no more perfect way of spending a hot day...
I thought you would get a kick out of this Picnic Menu of the time:
As I said, choosing a recipe was difficult so what I've decided is to close the book. The first recipe that pops up when I open it will be the one to share. How's that for a "scientific" choice? And, the winners are, (they were right next to each other so, why not?) Iced Claret Soup and Roman Pie!

Picnic Game Rules

I'm not to fond of the word "rules" when it comes to the Picnic Game but alas, we do need a few guidelines:) Basically, it's very simple. You choose a letter of the alphabet which matches the title of the dish you would like to bring to the picnic and post it on your blog.

The traditional memory game starts when one player recites: "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing an ___."  (a delicious dish) that starts with the letter A; for instance Apple Pie)

The second player says, "I'm going on a picnic, and I'm bringing an Apple Pie. (the same "A" word(s) the first player used, in this case an Apple Pie) and ___." Here's where you add the B word like, Blueberry Muffins.

Each player recites what the person before is bringing and adds what they're bringing until we reach the end of the alphabet. 

a tisket a tasket

How To Play
It's really easy. The traditional memory game starts when one player recites:
"I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing an ___." (word(s) that starts with the letter A; for instance Apple Pie)
The second player recites, "I'm going on a picnic, and I'm bringing an Apple Pie. (the same "A" word(s) the first player chose, in this case an Apple Pie) and ___." they add a B word like, Blueberry Muffins.

Each player recites what the person before is bringing and adds what they're bringing until we reach the end of the alphabet. Still not sure how to play? Take a look at the How to Play the Picnic Game Video  I found online. It's child's play:)

1. Since this is a virtual picnic game, Anyone, Anywhere can play. I do request that recipes be posted in English or have easy access to translation. 

2. Choose your letter but don't take too long. The "easy" letters seem to go pretty quickly. Leave a comment on this post with the letter you have chosen. For instance, if you want to bring a dish to the picnic, that begins with the letter "A," your comment must be left before another person chooses that letter. We can only have one letter of the alphabet for each dish.  Note: If you would like to choose a backup letter just in case your chosen letter is taken, that would be GREAT too.

3. I will let you know if you can bring your dish to the picnic by leaving a You're Invited! comment on your blog. "You're Invited" will be your signal to grab a copy of the Picnic Game logo above and prepare a post for the Picnic Game Round-Up. Now, here's the difficult part. Since the Picnic Game is listed in alphabetical order, you may feel a bit like a contortionist trying to get your post up while still leaving room for the letters and delicious looking images that will be preceding yours. Just make a mental note and it should all work out fine. I'm always here for any questions and once we get going, I'll have many samples to show you I'm sure:)
Let's say my dish begins with the letter "E" and I'm bringing Eggplant and Pimiento Long Boys. After a "picnicky" introduction, my post would look something like this:
I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing...
A-Assorted Relishes & Condiments
D-Date-nut Bread Sandwiches
E-Eggplant and Pimiento Long Boys
It's your choice whether you chose to include images from the recipes before yours but please do include an image with your recipe and don't forget to send it to me with the link. [acalenda {at} gmail {dot} com]
The sooner you send me your link, the sooner you'll be able to fill in the blanks as will everyone else. I'll be sending you a list of the letters you need for your post as I get them in. I will try to send the complete list each of you needs if at all possible.

Well, I think I've covered all the bases. If I've missed anything, please feel free to let me know by leaving a comment or dropping me an email. (acalenda {at} gmail {dot} com) The absolute deadline for your chosen letter recipe link is Wednesday, June 29th. That date should give me enough time to fill in the blanks for the letters not taken and whip up the final list of Picnic Game goodies in time for National Picnic Month in July. I'll be posting the Round-Up on Friday, July 1st. 


1. Select a recipe that begins with your chosen letter and write a post about it on your blog. You must list what the people before you are bringing. That's why it's called the Picnic Game! I will email you with those links and images, as soon as they are emailed to me.

2. Include the Picnic Day Logo in your post with a link back to this post.

3. Email me at acalenda {at} gmail {dot} com (it would be really nice of you to include Picnic Game in the subject line) In the email please include the following.

a. Your name
b. Your blog's name
c. Your post URL
d. The name of your recipe
e. An image of your dish (250 pixels wide sounds good) Also let me know if you give me permission to pass the image along to other picnickers.

4. If you would like to bring more than one dish to the picnic, you are more than welcome. Just note it in the email and include items C-E for each additional dish.

5. Please email me as soon as you know what you are bringing. No later than Wednesday, June 29, midnight EST. The sooner the better so I can forward your link to the other picnickers.

6. I will be posting the entire list of Picnic Game recipes by midnight July 1st. If for some reason, there are not enough entries by that time, I'll do my best to fill in the blanks.

7. If you would like to host the Picnic Day Game on your blog, and get your visitors involved, be my guest. The more the merrier. Just let me know. (this would require another set of picnic letters from A-Z and a bit of enjoyable work on the part of the hostess:) We would just, shall I say, "link our picnic "blankets" together:) 

9. If for some reason, there are not enough entries for the Picnic Game, I will do my best to fill in the blanks. 

10. Most important, Have FUN!  

So, do you want to play the Picnic Game? Oh goodie, then just pick a letter and let's get toting!!! If you would like to see the round-up of picnic recipes from previous years, I've left them in the left side-bar. Be forewarned, they are all absolutely enticing!!!

Update 2012: We're playing the Online Picnic Game right now! If you would join in on the fun, follow this link. "See" you there! 

1. The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science:L-Z

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's Spill the Salt Day

Salt is such a common commodity that one does not usually give much thought to it or realize its importance. "Please pass the salt"--just a reach and there it is... Salt has figured in the religious rituals of many nations. An allowance for salt was paid the Roman Soldiers. This was known as a "salarium" and from this term was derived the modern word "salary." The ancients held the modern Asian idea of salt as a tie of comradeship between those who have shared it over a common table. In many lands it has frequently been used for money...Salt has served as an incentive in peaceful pursuits. One of the finest Roman roads, the Via Saleria, was built at an early date in Italy to open the way from the salt deposits at Osita to the Sabine Country. Throughout history there are many instances where nations on the sea-board engaged in the salt trade. (The Magic of Salt; undated)
From the acutely evil (the spilt salt superstition) to the heavenly good, (salt of the earth) salt myths still exist today. Let's take these with a pinch together:)
  • Salt is never borrowed; to accept salt is to accept evil
  • Salt thrown on the front steps the first Friday of each month brings good luck to the household.
  • It is bad luck to run out of salt
  • It is unlucky to pass salt across the table
  • Give a baby, when it first goes out of the house, an egg, some salt, a little bread and a small piece of money, and he will never want the necessities of life
  • The over turning of a salt-cellar signifies the breaking of a friendship, except when it happens in the house of a fishing village, there it signifies the sinking of a ship.
According to the Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained, "at one time salt was regarded as being almost as valuable as gold." Take a pinch of salt with me was a popular way of inviting a friend to enjoy one's hospitality. But perhaps the most relative tradition, which some of us may have experienced, is that of the broom and salt housewarming tradition:
Broom & Salt Housewarming Traditions ~Bread – That this house may never know hunger. ~Salt – That life may always have flavor. ~Broom – To sweep away troubles.
"The phrase “flying off the handle” comes from broom lore. When a woman would get frustrated trying to chase her children out of the kitchen so she could finish with the cooking, a swat from the broom was a last resort, sending the straw flying off the handle and across the room." (Broom Folklore)
Do people even have house warming parties anymore? I've attended a few mortgage burning rituals but I haven't been to a house warming party in years. When I bought my first house many moons ago, I was gifted the above three plus one more; a bottle of Chianti! (which also happens to be one of my favorite wines for soaking peaches:)
Speaking of wine, I suppose I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a few of the household uses for salt; besides flavoring and brining of course:) Here's one from 365 Quick Tips from the folks at Cook's Illustrated Magazine.
To help remove beet stains from cutting boards and hands, sprinkle the stained area with salt, rinse, and then scrub with soap. The salt crystals help lift the beet juices away.
Have you heard the story about beet juice and salt for treating icy roads? I found it in USA Today.
A concoction of beet juice and salt that is kinder to concrete and metal is getting mostly favorable reviews from a growing number of states and cities looking for more effective ways to treat ice- and snow-covered roads. The beet juice lowers the brine's freezing point so it works at temperatures where regular saltwater wouldn't be effective.
Another stain removing tip is to pour salt and warm water onto a wine spill. The salt will soak up the spill. I've never tried it so let me know if it works!
Will salt kill fleas? According to this article, it may help.
And another suggestion from Uncommon Cures for Everyday Ailments.
There is nothing more distracting than a toothache. To nip one in the bud, at the first sign of pain, apply a pinch of salt to the affected area. It helps soothe your ache and calm down a sensitivity.
You can keep salting to relieve the pain, but remember that continuous discomfort is most likely an indication of an infection that needs attention from your dentist.
Here are a few more "suggestions" scanned from The Magic of Salt, published by the makers of Worcester Salt. (I'm guessing this book is probably from the early 1930s:)
I found this recipe for home made glitter somewhere online, but for the life of me, I can't remember where. If it is your recipe, just let me know and proper credit will be given. (image courtesy of wiki)
Homemade Glitter or Colored Salt 3 tablespoons salt (Coarse salt or rock salt would look better.)
 About 2 drops of food coloring Place the salt in a sealable bag.  Add food coloring to make various colors.  Seal the bag.  Move the salt around using your fingers.  Keep the bag open.  Let dry.  (It usually takes a half a day or less.)  If using table salt, place in salt shakers by cutting a hole in the bottom side of a sealable bag. Place it in the salt shaker. If you use coarse salt, have the child spoon it onto the glue. Suggested Uses:
Place glue on paper, sand paper, etc.  Sprinkle the salt onto the glue. Shake off the excess salt. Let dry.

Nibbling @ the Days

Born today, in 1861, famous opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink. She also happens to be a Jell-O fan. Follow her link for a previous post and recipes.
What is Home? A roof to keep out the rain. Four walls to keep out the wind. Floors to keep out the cold. Yes, but home is more than that. It is the laugh of a baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father. Warmth of loving hearts, light from happy eyes, kindess, loyalty, comradeship. Home is the first school and first church for young ones, where they learn what is right, what is good, and what is kind. Where they go for comfort when they are hurt or sick. Where joy is shared and sorrow eased. Where fathers and mothers are respected and loved. Where children are wanted. Where the simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned. Where money is not so important as loving-kindness. Where even the teakettle sings from happiness. That is home. God bless it. Ernestine Schumann-Heink

June 16th

On June 16, 1893 a new treat was offered at the Chicago World's Fair by brothers Fred and Louis Rueckheim; Cracker Jack! I don't know about you, but I call that delicious mixture of popcorn, molasses and peanuts, Cracker Jacks, with an ess:) One legend notes the name "Cracker Jack" came into use when a customer who tried the product exclaimed, That's really a cracker-jack!"
-June 16th is National Fudge Day!(thanks Janet:)

June 17th

Eat All Your Veggies Day!
National Apple Strudel Day! Boy, I sure could use one of those datebooks on my blog, how cool:)
Ruth Graves Wakefield the inventor of the Toll House Cookie, the first chocolate chip cookie, was born on June 17, 1903. Remember this?
On June 17, 1957 the first of Sambo's nationwide chain of family restaurants was opened. (more info)

June 18th

With the exception of one suggestion, there aren't any changes to the Picnic Game rules this year. Last year, a reader inquired about hosting a Picnic Game on their blog at the same time as when we play the Picnic Game here. As always, I am open to suggestions and if you would like to host your very own Picnic Game that is just fine with me. Just let me know. More about the picnic on Saturday; International Picnic Day!!!
I've been a bit behind on my visiting, not to worry, I'll be catching up on all your goodies the next couple of days!!!

So which one are you, salt or the pepper?

I just remembered, Barbara over @ Moveable Feasts has a GREAT recipe posted for Salt & Vinegar Potatoes which sounds mighty tempting...!
1. About salt (@ the salt institute)
2. Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained
3. Sodium Is Good For You!
4. Timeless Myths
5. Spice Up Your Dishes with Flavored Salts

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Recipe and Poem for Peanut Butter Cookie Day!

I have been craving home made Peanut Butter Cookies for weeks. For me, that's pretty unusual. When requiring indulgence, I usually go for chocolate. They say your body craves what it needs. Off hand, I can't think of any reason why I should need peanut butter in any way, shape or form. And anyway, the fact is, I just can't seem to motivate myself enough to turn the oven on, not even for 10 minutes! I'm sure many of you feel the exact same way.

However, should you too get the urge for Peanut Butter cookies on National Peanut Butter Cookie Day, I thought I would drop off a recipe I found in The Peanut Butter Cookbook; from Soup to Nuts with America's Favorite Spread, by Judi & Tony Meisel, published in 1993. I also thought I'd drop off the Cooky Poem I mentioned on Gingerbread Day. It too is from the Tummy Tingles recipe booklet.

A Recipe & A Poem
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups unbleached flour
Preheat oven 375 degrees
1. Beat butter with wire whisk until soft.
2. Gradually add the two sugars until blended and creamy in texture.
3. Beat in remaining ingredients except flour.
4. Sift the flour before measuring and then mix in.
5. Let the dough rest 10 minutes, then form into balls about 3/4-inch in diameter.
6. Place balls on a greased cookie sheet.
7. flatten slightly with the back of a fork and bake 5-10 minutes, until golden brown.
8. Remove from oven and let cool on racks before serving. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

I have a question for you. When I was taught how to bake cookies, I was told not to use a mixer or any other kind of appliance for that matter. Everything was done by hand. The creaming of the butter, which I still can remember squishing through my fingers, and yes the eggs and other ingredients was all done by hand. Has anyone else been shown to bake cookies by hand? Just curious...If so, is there a reason?

I'll be back on Wednesday, which is supposedly Spill the Salt Day. As for tomorrow, that's Kitchen Klutzes of America Day. You may remember, I posted about my klutzy escapades last year when I listed the weekly June Celebrations for the 13th-19th. If you're in need of a few suggestions to celebrate Flag Day on Tuesday, I did a rather thorough post of Flag Day recipes back in 2008. It includes a recipe for Betsy Ross Pound Cake. While I'm at it, I should mention National Lobster Day (13th) and National Strawberry Shortcake Day on the 14th!

This week the Carnations in my new garden, finally revealed themselves. Those Gillyflowers, they're so spicy and unpredictable!!! It's too bad National Carnation Day is celebrated in January, I'd love to do another post about them. Perhaps I will...

P.S. I'm getting all revved for International Picnic Day, June 18th. You know what that means, The Picnic Game! Start thinking about what letter you want. I can tell you already, the letters are going to go fast!!! More about that on Wednesday:) "See" ya then...Louise:)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's National Candy Month; Let's Celebrate Denture Day!

It may seem rather risky celebrating both National Candy Month and Denture Day in the same post, but hey, it's my blog and I'll do what I want!!! And, anyway, I may just have the right stuff to put a spin on both; Fairy Floss. No not Fairy Gingerbread sillies, that was Gingerbread Day. Watch me sugar coat this one, ever so carefully...

On June 9, 1822, Charles Graham received the first patent for false teeth. His were not the first false teeth in use, however. In the Colonial years, rotten teeth were considered the root of many illnesses. The primary treatment for decay was extraction and different ways of replacing them were devised. George Washington had at least four sets of false teeth, none of which, contrary to popular myth, were wooden. His first dentures consisted of human teeth inserted into carved ivory. Another set, made by George Washington's dentist, Dr. John Greenwood of New York in 1789, were made of gold, hippo teeth, and hippo and elephant ivory. A hole was left for Washington's remaining tooth, a molar. (Today in Science)
...the most interesting part of the story about George’s teeth is the mechanism of their fabrication. The upper and lower gold plates were connected by springs which pushed the upper and lower plates against the upper and lower ridges of his mouth to hold them in place. Washington actually had to actively close his jaws together to make his teeth bite together. If he relaxed, his mouth would pop open. There is speculation that this is the reason that the Father of Our Country always looks so stern in his portraits. Take a look at a dollar bill. George isn’t upset - he’s just trying to keep his teeth in!!! (source)

Well, now that we know why our first President had such a frozen smile, let's talk about Fairy Floss. (you should really click that link, it may not be what you think but it is cute:) Not tooth floss, sillies. Fairy Floss, as in puffy billows of pink spun sugar; Cotton Candy!

I bet you didn't know that Cotton Candy, and the device that twirls it, was invented in 1897 by Dr. William Morrison, a dentist! A man by the name of John C. Wharton also assisted. Their device heated sugar in a spinning bowl that had tiny holes in it which lifted the spun sugar into strands of delight; Cotton Candy. The Tennessee inventors called their treat "Fairy Floss." They introduced it to the world at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. I didn't know any of this either until I did a post about it for National Cotton Candy Day way back in 2008 at my Tasteful Inventions blog. (It's rather interesting if I do say so myself:)

Were you surprised to discover a dentist, a purveyor of dentures, invented such a toothsome sweet? I sure was. Ironic, don't you think?

Now that I've managed to circumnavigate the whole It's National Candy Month; Let's Celebrate Denture Day dilemma, I deserve a treat. Let's see, my birthday is this month, perhaps a box of chocolates:) That reminds me, as I was enjoying a nibble at a wonderful book in my library, I came across the coolest secret chocolate code. It involves those little bundles of chocolate goodness found in chocolate "sampler" boxes that are popular for Valentine's Day.

Secret Chocolate Code
Do you know the secret chocolate code? Knowing the code is better than having X-ray vision. For you can look at an opened box of candy and tell, without pinching, squeezing, or tasting, which candies are vanilla creams, or strawberry., which are covered nuts, nougats, or caramels. Though different manufacturers sometimes use slightly different symbols, the careful sleuth knows chocolate-covered nuts are in the shape of the nut; caramels are square; nougats, oblong; and creams, dome-shaped. The swirls on top of the creams having meaning too. A "v" means vanilla; an "o," orange; and a "b" can hardly be anything but butter. Each swirl has a definite meaning.

So, there you have it, you now know the chocolate secret. Keep in mind though, this book was written in 1970. I did find an example image of Vanilla Creams here and Butter Creams here, courtesy of Kehr's Candies.

I have yet another surprise in store. Just check out this Popping-Candy Chocolate Cake recipe I found at The Chubby Cook. (It features Pop Rocks) Not only does the cake sound effervescent, chocolate devotees will enjoy the background story.

Truth be told, I'm not much of a candy muncher. Oh mind you, I adore my Kisses and Reese's. (Which is what I happen to be indulging on at the moment) However, I can pretty much take or leave candy per se. Fudge is a whole other story. I adore Fudge! Peanut Butter Fudge to be exact. Would you believe I never had Peanut Butter Fudge until I first made my way to Pennsylvania. It's very popular around here, as is Chocolate Cake with gooey Peanut Butter Frosting. My first bite and I was hooked, literally! I've even made Peanut Butter Fudge once or twice.

I've always wanted to try my hand at fondant too. I thought I would start small so I've had a Quick Fondant recipe, made with Marshmallow Cream, bookmarked in a recipe book for as long as I can remember. I'm going to note it here for both you and me. Perhaps if I see it in print, I'll tackle it one day. Perhaps, someone out there may try it too!!! If you would like a more modern microwave version, I've left a few links below. I' thinking this recipe is from the early 1930's.

Quick Fondant
1/4 cup Golden Rule Marshmallow Creme
2-1/2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 to 3 cups confectioner's sugar
Add water to marshmallow creme, beat in sugar a little at a time until the mixture is stiff enough to knead on a board. Dredge with the sugar.

What drew me to the recipe above, from The Golden Rule Way recipe book, was not the directions for the fondant. It was the suggested uses included with the recipe that caught my eye. Take this Fruit Paste recipe for example. All the ingredients feature Golden Rule products but if you ignore that, the recipe sounds rather curious to me.

Fruit Paste
To one-half the recipe for quick fondant add one cup of mixed Golden Rule Glace Cherries, Raisins, Candied Pineapple, and Candied Orange Peel, all of which should be put through the food chopper together (ie processor) Flavor with Golden Rule Orange Extract, toss on a board dredged with confectioner's sugar and roll out to one-fourth inch thickness. Let stand a few minutes, then stamp into rounds with a tiny cutter, or shape into squares with a sharp knife. Roll in confectioner's sugar.

I'm no wiz at candy making but I can just picture the goodness that would ooze from such a creation. This is one of those times a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. Gee, I wish I had one:( Now, imagine all that candied fruit home made and wrapped and rolled in easy to prepare marshmallow cream home made fondant. Oh my goodness!!!

For those of you who would like a more traditional Fondant recipe, I've scanned a "cutie" for you from Sugar Spoon Recipes a counter top cookbook "from the Domino Sugar Bowl Kitchen." Enjoy:)

1. A History of Dentures
2. George Washington-A Dental Victim
3. History of Dentures (yet another:)
4. George Washington's False Teeth not Wooden
5. George Washington's False Teeth @ You Tube (I kid you not:)
6. Home Made Candy Recipes (1909, somethings change very little:)
7. How To Make Microwave Marshmallow Fondant
8. How to Make Marshmallow Fondant (Video)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fairy Gingerbread; It's Gingerbread Day!

There seems to be a bit of confusion as to when National Gingerbread Day is; today, June 5th or the day after Thanksgiving. I've chosen today to celebrate because I've been just "dying" to share Tummy Tingles:) with you.

Authored by Josephine Brandenburg Beardsley and the folks at The Wheat Institute in 1937, Tummy Tingles is charmingly illustrated by Majorie Peters. But wait, it gets better. On each of its 12 pages there are tangy rhymes about wheat bread, biscuits, rolls, muffins, gingerbread and pancakes. There's also a poem called the Cookie Tree. It is such a delightful children's book, I thought I would share a glimpse of its contents today on National Gingerbread Day! How about some Fairy Gingerbread?

I typed it out just in case clicking the image doesn't help. (it should though:) I've also included the recipe below.

The fairies made some gingerbread
Of sugar, flour, and spice.
"They said, "We'll give some to our queen,
It looks so very nice!"

So they put some on a napkin,
Laid on a pretty plate,
And took it to the rose bower
Where she was sleeping late.

When the little queen awakened,
It lay before her eyes
And then she cried with great delight,
"Oh what a big surprise!"

"For gingerbread so nice and brown,
So yummy and so airy
My royal thanks and compliments
to every cooking fairy!"

I was hiding by the rose bower
And was quiet as could be
When she asked the happy fairies
For their secret recipe.

I had a little notebook there
And wrote down what they said,
So that is how I learned to make
This Fairy Gingerbread!
Fairy Gingerbread
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup molasses
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. soda (baking)
1 tbs. ginger
Cream sugar and buter in bowl. Beat eggs. Add eggs, milk, and molasses to butter and sugar mixture. Sift flour, soda, and ginger into mixture and beat well. Bake in shallow greased pan in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 45 minutes.

I'm excited to "report," a modernized version of Fairy Gingerbread, from the folks @ Cook's Illustrated, can be found at a new blog I just discovered called Pie-O-My.

June 5th

On June 5th 1883, William Horlick of Rancine, Wisconsin was granted the first patent for Malted Milk. Horlick's was first used for babies and invalids. You can read about Wisconsin's Malted Milk Story and see the patent here.

Bananas were first introduced in the US on June 5th. It says so right here:)

Rudolph Gustav Hass was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 5, 1892. Does any part of that name look familiar? It didn't to me at first. But then, I realized Haas rang a bell. Why of course, amateur horticulturist Rudolph Hass was the developer of the Hass avocado naming it after himself.

In the late 1920s, Mr. Rudolph Hass, a postman, purchased the seedling tree from Rideout, and planted it in his new orchard. He planned to graft another variety on it, but when repeated grafts didn't take he planned to cut the tree down. Fortunately for avocado lovers everywhere, Hass's children talked him out of it. They preferred the taste of the tree's fruit to that of the Fuerte, the predominant variety and industry standard in those days.

Since the quality was high and the tree gave a good yield, Hass named the variety after himself and took out a patent in 1935. That same year, he signed an agreement with Harold Brokaw, a Whittier nurseryman, to grow and promote the Hass Avocados. They would split the gross income: 25 percent for Hass and 75 percent for Brokaw. (California Avocado Commission

June 6th

National Applesauce Cake Day. Speaking of apples, did everyone see the Applegate Farms Coupon Giveaway hosted by Inger @ the Art of Natural Living? (another new blog I recently discovered:)

The first drive-in movie theater opened in Camden, New Jersey, on June 6, 1933. (Oh what fond memories I have of movie night at the Drive-In when I was just a wee tot:)

I'm going to leave you with those tasty days for now. Many of you have already seen the weekly celebrations I listed last June. If you crave a refresher or haven't seen it yet, here's the link.

Peonies After the Rain

1. How to Celebrate National Gingerbread Day
2. Plum Gingerbread Sponge Pudding

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tis June

Well here it is June 1st; 11:38 PM and I may post this list of June Celebrations by the seat of my pants. Best get right to it. (If you check the date, you'll see I didn't make it. Darn error messages:)

June's Monthly Celebrations

National Iced Tea Month
National Dairy Month
Mango Month-Did you see Mary's recipe for Mango Salsa? All I can say is WOW!!!
National Candy Month
Frozen Yogurt Month
Fruit & Veggie Month
Soul Food Month

June 1st

It's Ice Cream Cone Day! The invention of the ice cream cone is attributed to Ernest Hamwi who received patent #1,342,045 for a pastry cone making machine on June 1, 1920.

National Hazelnut Cake Day @ Slashfood and Dying for Chocolate.

Happy Birthday Andy Griffith!

If you click Andy's picture, you will be taken on a Mayberry Holiday. However, if you stay right here, I'll share some ice cream recipes with you from Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook.

June 2nd

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
~Virginia Woolf~

National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day. I fell in love with Mary Ann's Rocky Road Ice Cream. I bet you will too!

Let's celebrate Martha Washington's birthday with a recipe from the updated version (1996) of the White House Cookbook. I have a few copies of the 1894 edition of this book but it is so fragile, I welcome this revised and updated centennial edition but, it sure doesn't feel like the "real thing." However, this Strawberry Water recipe is!!!

Paul Galdone, author of The Gingerbread Boy and numerous children's books was born today in 1907. That link includes a Gingerbread Boy recipe:)

June 3rd

It is also said that on June 3, 1903, Adolf Gehring was selling food at a ball game in St. Louis, Missouri. On this particular day, Adolf had a good day and sold out all his food and drinks. He went to a baker to buy some bread, but they had nothing left but some long dinner rolls which he bought. He then went to a butcher shop and bought all the sausages and wieners that the butcher had. With a portable wood stove, he cooked up the pork sausages and wieners and placed them in the rolls he had split. He started walking through the crowd offering his meat sandwiches as he called them. One man hollered at him, "Give me one of those damn hot dogs." The phrase caught on and everyone in the crowd was soon hollering for hot dogs." (What's Cooking America)

It seems, for various reasons, that June 3rd has been proclaimed National Egg Day. I'm still checking...In the mean time, which town in America was once proclaimed "The Egg Basket of the World"? Petaluma!

Donut Day is the first Friday in June. That would be Friday, June 3rd this year!!! National Donut Day was established in 1938 by the Salvation Army to raise funds during the Great Depression. The Story Of The Doughnut Girls begins with Salvation Army volunteer Helen Purviance. Check your favorite local Donut Shop to see if they too are celebrating National Donut Day. I know Dunkin' Donuts is celebrating. As is Krispy Kreme.

On June 3, participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide will offer guests a free donut of their choice (while supplies last) with the purchase of a beverage (excluding bottled cooler beverages).
Salvation Army Doughnuts
5 cups flour
2 cups granulated sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1-3/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon lard
Fat for deep frying
Powdered Sugar
Donut must be throughly kneaded, rolled smooth, and cut into rings a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Drop ring into fat that is hot enough to bubble when donut is dropped in. Turn donuts several times so they will brown evenly. Then lift them out, holding them over kettle a moment to drip. Dust with powdered sugar while hot. Makes about 3 dozen.

June 4th

It's National Cheese Day!

There are those who celebrate Frozen Yogurt Day on February 6th, and then there are those who choose to celebrate Frozen Yogurt Day on June 4th. It has been my experience in keeping up with the monthly food celebrations, that usually when a month is touted as National So and so month, there is usually a day in the month which highlights the celebration. For instance, June is National Frozen Yogurt Month.

Here's another duo. Some celebrate National Cheese Day in January. While others celebrate in June. Who know for sure. However, according to this article in the The San Diego Union-Tribune, "On June 4, 1070, a charter was granted to the village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, in the Auvergne region west of Provence, for the production of the cheese. But Roquefort cheese likely was being produced at least 200 years earlier." sounds like a reason to celebrate to me!!!

It's National Cognac Day!!!

It's Shopping Cart Day!

The first shopping cart was introduced on June 4, 1937, the invention of Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Piggly-Wiggly supermarket chain in Oklahoma City. With the assistance of Fred Young, a mechanic, Goldman constructed the first shopping cart, basing his design on that of a wooden folding chair. They built it with a metal frame and added wheels and wire baskets. Another mechanic, Arthur Kosted, developed a method to mass produce the carts by inventing an assembly line capable of forming and welding the wire. The cart was awarded patent number 2,196,914 on April 9, 1940 (Filing date: March 14, 1938), titled, "Folding Basket Carriage for Self-Service Stores." They advertised the invention as part of a new “No Basket Carrying Plan."

Extra, Extra!

I am the proud recipient of yet another award. I'm thrilled!!! It's the Versatile Blogger Award which was bestowed upon me by Jesse @ Great Grandmother's Kitchen. Thank you, Jesse! According to the rules, I'm suppose to list seven things about me that you may not know. I'm also suppose to pass the award on to five other bloggers. Since I told Jesse I would do her Award "proper", I'm going to have to save it for another day this week. You see, one thing you may not know about me, I just never have enough time:) But, who does? Okay, Jesse, only 6 more to go...

Tis June dear visitors. You know what that means, don't you? International Picnic Day is only a few weeks away. Is everyone ready to play the Picnic Game? Just in case you've never played the Picnic Game with us before, just take a look at this round-up from last year! It's hard to believe that the Picnic Game is now in its third year. Once again I'll be posting the rules on June 18th. So, start thinking about which letter you would like to choose. As for you "newbies" out there, you best take a look at the 2009 round-up too. You'll be dreaming Picnic Game recipe ideas:)

1. Lady Washington (previous post)
2. Have a Strawberry Thanksgiving in June (previous post)
3. National Doughnut (Donut) Day (previous post with donut history; links unchecked)
4. Shopping Carts @ Engines of Our Ingenuity