Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's a Surprise...

Have you missed me? I sure have missed you "guys" too. Not to worry, I'll be playing catch-up real soon. I do have my reasons... However, I will only tell you about the FUN project I've been working on. It's a Surprise Party! You see, not only does the month of October have a pantry full of food celebrations, it also happens to be my Blogoversary!

I hemmed and hawed for weeks trying to think of something special to do on my blogoversary. I didn't want to have another Pizza Party. Although fun, I'm not much of a pizza aficionado, myself. Then, one day when I was on a cookbook shopping binge, yes, every once in a while, I stock my library with more up to date food related books, I realized that October also happens to be Cookbook Month. "Self" I said, "Why not have a Cookbook Party, and surprise visitors with games and gifts?" So, that's what I'm going to do, AND, you're all invited!!! I still have a few details to work out, but, I can give you a list of clues, so you'll be all ready when I make the "official" announcement on Sunday.

October is...

(clicking snap shots will not enlarge them or take you anywhere:)
American Cheese Month
"Apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze."
Apple Month
Apple Month
(You may want to brush up on the apple varieties I posted for Johnny Appleseed Day; check out the recipe links too:)
Apple Jack Month
Applejack Month
Chili Month
Chili Month
Cookie Month
Cookie Month
Cool Food for Kids Month
Cool Food for Kids
Country Ham Month
Country Ham Month
Country Music Month
Country Music Month
Cranberry Month
Cranberry Cookbook
Dessert Month
Dessert Circus
Eat Together; Eat Better Month
Eat Better Eat Together
Pasta Month
Pasta Month Logo
Pizza Month
Pizza Month
Inspiring recipes from YOU can be found @National Cheese Pizza Day.
Popcorn Poppin' Month
Pork Month
Pork Recipes
Sausage Month
Sausage Cookbook
School Lunch Month
School Lunch Book
Vegetarian Awareness Month
Vegetarian Cookbook

So, there you have it, a list of October's monthly celebrations. We haven't even nibbled at the daily celebrations but don't you worry about that:) I guess you could say we'll be celebrating October with cookbooks...and recipes of course! See ya Sunday!

Welcome New Blog Followers:
Debbie @ Bahamian Dishes
Arturo who serves up Traditional Dominican Food in English too:)
Papersponge.com is hosted by Brian. He has colorful posts of vintage ephemera
A Liberry Tart (curious?)
Miriam from Meatless Meals for Meat Eaters

Cookbook Party Related Posts & Updates

October 17, 2011: As of this amendment, the Cookbook Party has begun its third week. For ease of navigation, I have listed posts that have anything to do with the party and a brief description.

1. It's a Surprise!

This is a list of October celebrations much like the one in the left sidebar except this list includes links to the "sponsors" of the respective event.

2. It's a Cookbook Party
The invitation to the Cookbook Party can be found here. It also includes the infamous "rules."

3. Cookbook Party Entries Week One
We had a cornucopia of delicious entries for the party in the first week. Go see...

4. Preview of Give-away Cookbooks.
I've always been terrible at keeping a secret when it comes to cookbooks. So, these are the books which I will be giving away. One each week for the month of October. If it isn't October 31, 2011 yet, you still have time to join!

5. October Cider Cake and Cookbook Party Entries Week Two.
The Cider Cake alone is worth a visit. Oh no, don't be silly, I didn't actually bake it. The recipe comes from the Southern Heritage Cookbook. And, if you thought Week One had some unique and delicious entries, Week Two has even more!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

National Punch Day and a Swig of History!

One of sour,
two of sweet,
three of strong
four of weak,
a dash of bitters
a sprinkle of spice,
served well chilled
with plenty of ice.

~Rule of Five~

Happy Punch Day! No matter how you pour it, punch, much like rum, is instilled in the American food landscape. It may not have been "born" here but in true American spirit, we have nurtured it, coddled it and imbibed it since the colonists arrived from England. Yes "dearies" The Grand Secret of Punch travelled from India to the British Isles and eventually to America by way of the Caribbean Islands.
Rum Punch

There are two theories on the origin of the word punch. There are those who live by the conviction that punch is an abbreviation of the word "puncheon." Nay-sayers follow the creed that the word punch is derived from the Hindi word for panch or five, which embodies the number of ingredients traditional punches contained; lemon, sugar, arrack or rum, water or tea, spice (usually nutmeg.)
You know from Eastern India came
The skill of making punch as did the name.
And as the name consists of letters five,
By five ingredients it is kept alive.
To purest water sugar must be joined,
With these the grateful acid is combined.
Some any sours they get contented use,
But men of taste do that from Tagus choose.
When now these three are mixed with care
Then added be of spirit a small share.
And that you may the drink quite perfect see,
Atop the musky nut must grated be.
...If by punch you mean the anything-goes catchall favored at fraternity parties or the cloying mix of canned fruit juice and cheap beverage alcohol customarily ladled forth from cut glass at country club dances, it hardly bears considering. If, on the other hand, by punch you mean the social drink that, in its 18th-century heyday, fueled the European Enlightenment, a subtle and delightful blend of fine and often exotic liquors, softened with water, brightened with the freshly squeezed juices of citrus fruit, sweetened with pure cane sugar, and touched with rare spices—a drink assembled according to exacting formulae and shared by kings and gentlemen, poets and adventurers—well, that's rather a different story, isn't it?... With Glasses Raised: All About Punch by native Long Islander David Woodrich for Saveur)

Ah, the quintessential punch bowl. However, not always. England may have welcomed punch with open arms, or should I say pursed lips, however, the punch bowl, they made their own.

Monteith Bowl
A large Monteith, known as the John Bull bowl, was presented by Sir Thomas Abney, Lord Mayor of their name from a gentleman of fashion named Monteith, who was remarkable for wearing a scalloped coat. In [William] King's Art of Cookery occur the lines:
"New things produce new words, and so Monteith
Has by one vessel saved himself from Death."
Like this gentleman's coat, the vessel had "a moveable rim ornamented around the top with escallops, in which glasses were placed with their feet outwards for the purpose of bringing them into the room. The bowl was, of course, brought in empty, each gentleman fancying he had an especial talent for concocting the beverage, and a silver ladle and a lemon-strainer were brought in with it."

There are stories of punch parties where the fulfilling criteria for the size of a punch bowl was sometimes so extraordinary that extravagant containers had to be devised to hold the amount of punch that was to be consumed. One tells of a British naval officer who served 6,000 guests a punch made of 80 casks of brandy, 9 casks of water, 20,000 large limes, 80 pints of lemon juice, 1,300 pounds of sugar, 5 pounds of nutmeg and a huge cask of Malaga wine. The marble basin that was finally agreed upon was large enough for a ship's boy to row a small boat inside. 3

These days, a harmoniously balanced punch can be made with any measure of ingredients. The multitude of recipes is endless. I have left a few of those I think you may find of interest linked below. For indeed, Benjamin Franklin was a "puncher" an modern adaptation of his milk punch recipe is available at the Massachusetts Historical Society website along with the hand written recipe.

Here we have an adaption of a recipe and a historic description of a popular reception punch named in honor of Massachusetts senator, Daniel Webster from Politics & Pot Roast written by Sarah Hood Salomon and humorously illustrated by Glenn Foden. (©2006) I read here that Andrew Jackson "liked to serve his White House guests Daniel Webster Punch which was a potent potion."

Daniel Webster Punch
24 lemons
2 lbs. sugar (5-1/2 cups)
1 cup green tea
1 quart brandy
3 quarts dry red wine
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks
2 bottle champagne
Squeeze juice from the lemons, straining out all seeds and pulp. Add sugar, tea, brandy and red win. Cover tightly and chill. Just before serving, pour into a punch bowl with ice, and add strawberries, oranges and pineapples. Pour in champagne. Yields 2 gallons.

The punch recipes found in this Anchor Hocking booklet are reminiscent of days gone by.

Personally, I think they should be revived. Don't you? (click to enlarge)

Since I missed the party at Pam's for Talk Like A Pirate Day yesterday, I had better serve up this Halloween Punch Party recipe page from Betty Crocker's Hostess Cookbook so you have time to prepare:)

Halloween Punch Party & Celebration Punch

1.History of Alcohol in America
2. A Brief History of Punch
3 Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery Vol. 9
4. Monteith Bowls: The Connoisseur, Volumes 44-45 (1916)
5. National Rum Punch Day! @ Slashfood
6. 8 Rules of Party Punch Recipes
7. Roman Punch @ The Old Foodie
8. Celebration Punch
*David Wondrich's "Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl is available @ Amazon.
Celebration Punch Poem from Cricket Cookery by Pauline Watson ©1977

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cooking with the Stars

Cooking with the Stars
Were you expecting a post dedicated to the Emmy® Awards tonight? No. Good. I'm not much of a TV watcher myself. As a matter of fact, after checking the list of shows nominated, the only one I have ever watched for any length of time is Hot in Cleveland. And, that's mainly because Marion made me:) I'm not even sure if the show itself is up for an Emmy but I think Betty White is and Marion just loves Television Hall of Famer Betty White!!!
She also like this recipe of Betty White's for Mandarin Salad from from Cooking with the Stars © 1999.

Mandarin Salad

Personally, I'm a fan of the show The Closer and if defending Emmy Award winner Kyra Sedgwick were one of the nominees this year, I may have watched. I'm also in awe of the transition Emmy champion Katy Sagal has accomplished on the show Sons of Anarchy. Not a program I'm in the habit of watching, but once when I was flipping through channels, I spied her on the Sons of Anarchy, and I just couldn't believe my eyes. What a transformation?

You may remember Peg's husband Al (Ed O'Neil) from Married with Children. Well, the LA Times reports he has a real shot at winning tonight for best supporting actor on the show Modern Family. I just had to include Al's recipe for "Sixteen Tons" Cheeseburger from Pig Out with Peg (© 1990) because, today is National Cheeseburger Day!

"Sixteen Tons" Cheeseburger

Speaking of reporting, I heard through the grapevine (twitter that is:) that Jesse, our very own Cakespy, and the fabulous Anna of Cookie Madness, will be tweeting from the Emmy's tonight, compliments of Duncan Hines® and the 1 Million Cupcake Challenge. You can read all about it on their blogs. Jesse is the creator of my adorable "cuppie" banner up top. Yes, I can call my banner adorable, heck it is, isn't it?

Duncan Hines® is the official dessert sponsor of the 63rd Primetime Emmy® Awards Governors Ball and Creative Arts Awards Ball for the second year in a row. Three rich Duncan Hines recipes are served to the stars at the primetime television events -- they were created exclusively for Duncan Hines by Team U.S.A.’s World Cup Pastry Team. (source)

For a person who doesn't watch much TV much, I've managed to accumulate an assortment of "star" related cookbooks and recipes. I think today is just the day to share a few with you.

Let's "kick" it off with one of the few TV celebrity chefs that I actually enjoy watching once in a while; Emeril Lagasse and his Every Day's a Party! ©1999.

Every Day's a Party

Emmy Award nominee, (2007) Chef Emeril will be joining Bravos' Top Chef this season in Texas. As many of you probably already know, Top Chef is up for an Emmy tonight in the category Reality Competition.

'Top Chef' Is Bigger In Texas Season 9 heads south with new judges Emeril Lagasse and Hugh Acheson in tow.
Martini with Chocolate Grapes

My daughter, Michele was a huge fan of the show Friends. When she saw the Cooking with Friends ©1995, cookbook at the bookstore one day, she decided I needed to have it for my collection. I was delighted! (she also gifted me with a copy of the Saturn Owners' Cookbook when she paid her car off! Yes, she owned a Saturn:)

Cooking with Friends

Matt LeBlanc was nominated three times for playing Joey on "Friends." The Hollywood Reporter mentions he is once again up for a nominee in the Showtime series Episodes. Good Luck Matt:) (I don't "do" Showtime but, I did like him as Joey:)

Fire Escape Flank Steak
Cafe' Nervosa; The Connoisseur's Cookbook

I am familiar with Frasier, Niles and Daphne and the rest of the crew of the show Frasier. It is one of the shows I "turn" to when I just need to chill. The show is not up for an award this year, although in the past the total has numbered 30 Emmy Awards. Last count, that was a record; from what I've been reading anyway. Jane Leeves who played Daphne on Frasier currently stars in Hot in Cleveland along with Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli and Wendie Malick. I don't know if Daphne contributed this recipe to The Connoisseur's Cookbook (© 1996) but, I do know it's right up my alley. I'm so making these Pears en Croûte! It's about as close to puff pastry as I'll ever get!

Pears en Croûte

Tomorrow is Butterscotch Pudding Day. I leave you with this delicate recipe for Butterscotch Parfait from the book, The Cook Book of the Stars. (©1939)

Butterscotch Parfait

*Note: Clicking on any of the recipes or cook book covers will enlarge the image. I try not to have the images link back to picasa or sites that may be selling books. (ie amazon or such)

Other celebrity recipes @ Months of Edible Celebrations.
1. Celebrating Pearl Bailey
2. Happy Birthday David Letterman
3. Gone With the Wind Recipes
4. The Myra Breckinridge Cookbook: Charlie Chaplin
5. The Andy Griffith Show
6. A Mayberry Holiday
7. Remembering Star Wars
8. Quick Links: It's Ina Garten's Birthday! Let's Celebrate!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Cream-Filled Doughnut Day!!!

What's the yummiest food to celebrate on September 14th, you ask?

Is it...Pop Tarts? "Pop Tarts were rolled out in Cleveland, Ohio on September 14, 1964 with a stern admonition to retailers to put them in the Baked Goods, Cookie or even the Cake Mix section of their stores..."(wholepop.com) Lookie here, Pam made her very own Blueberry Pop Tarts. Way cool...

A Sandwich? Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin was born today in 1897. Her story is most fascinating, here's a snippet.

Margaret Rudkin, a Connecticut housewife and mother of three young children, discovers one of her sons has an allergy to commercial breads that contain preservatives and artificial ingredients. So in 1937, she begins experimenting with baking her own preservative-free bread for her ailing son -- ultimately perfecting a delicious whole-wheat loaf that contained only natural ingredients. Encouraged by her family and her son's doctor, she began a small business out of her kitchen selling her "Pepperidge Farm" bread to local grocers. Named for her family's farm in Fairfield, Connecticut, consumers recognize her homemade bread's quality and buy every loaf she baked.
And some sandwich making tips.

What a...bout...a Hoagie! It's Eat A Hoagie Day! Dive into the history of the Hoagie @ What's Cooking America!

We could attempt Peking Duck in celebration of PBS TV host and restauranteur the late Joyce Chen who was born today in 1917. Did you know Ms. Chen opened New England's first Mandarin Chinese restaurant in 1958? It was in Cambridge, Mass. where she introduced dishes like Peking Duck, moo shu pork and hot-and-sour soup. This NYTimes article reports "her regular patrons included John Kenneth Galbraith, James Beard, Julia Child and Henry A. Kissinger."

I don't have a copy of The Joyce Chen Cookbook but, I do have a wonderful book by Madame Wong titled Madame Wong's Long-Life Chinese Cookbook which just happens to have a recipe and instructions for Peking Duck.
Madame Wong's Peking Duck
You "youngsters" out there may just want to beat up a batch of these Lone Ranger Cookies that I found @ cooks.com. Why? Because Jack Carlton [Clayton] Moore, the man who personified The Lone Ranger, was born today in 1914. Hi Ho Sil......ver...
Lone Ranger Cookies
1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. oatmeal
2 c. Rice Krispies
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Roll in balls. Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 350°
As for me, I'm celebrating Cream Filled Doughnut Day because I passed the doughnut quiz @ Serious Eats with flying colors!!! My reward? A decadent strawberry 'n cream filled donut from the Amish stand at our local farmer's market. If you think it looks scrumptious, you should have been here to pick me up after I devoured it!

September 15th

The annual Feast of San Gennaro runs September 15th-25, in 2011. I have many fond childhood memories of "the feast" in New York. {sigh}
Celebrate National Creme De Menthe Day with this Grasshopper Pie recipe from the editors of Cook's Country a magazine favorite of mine:)
Grasshopper Pie

America's Best Lost Recipes ©2007

It's Chicken Lovers' Day!
Chicken lovers rejoice! On National Chicken Lover’s Day, Thursday, September 15, Pollo Tropical® fans will have even more reasons to cluck. The restaurant chain will provide a free ¼ Chicken Meal, complete with rice and beans, to anyone who dresses from head to toe in yellow and clucks like a chicken. This special celebration is good in store only from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm at all of its company-owned restaurants in Florida, Georgia and New Jersey. One offer per customer. (source)
Don't you dare remove that costume until you head on over to Culinary Types and watch how T.W. "butters up" this chicken! You'll be "clucking" all the way home!!!
T. W.'s Buttered-up Chicken
In September 1921, the nation’s first drive-in restaurant, The Pig Stand, opened in Dallas, Texas. I found a vintage picture of The Pig Stand @ the Road Trip Adventure Headquarters. I will be going back to that website. I saw some cool Route 66 pics I want to get a better look at. I am a HUGE Route 66 fan!!!

It's National Linguini Day! What's your favorite way to enjoy a plate full of linguini? Here's mine!

September 16th

Philadelphia Cream Cheese is celebrating National Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Day. Are you?
What about National Guacamole Day? The Hass Avocado Board is celebrating!

September 17th

Thank you so much to Gloria @ Canela Kitchen for sharing a recipe for Chile's Independence Day which is today. Her Chilean dessert; Dulce de leche alfajores sounds delicious! (I hope I got that right Gloria:)

Enjoy National Apple Dumpling Day!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Chocolate Milkshake Day and Other Weekly Blends

It's Chocolate Milkshake Day! I took the Chocolate Milkshake Quiz over @ Yum Sugar and guess what, I passed with flying colors. Look see...
The Sweet History of the Milkshake is thankfully documented throughout the internet. Here it is from wikipedia: (have you noticed wiki has become more reliable lately?)

When the term "milkshake" was first used in print in 1885, milkshakes were an alcoholic whiskey drink that has been described as a "sturdy, healthful eggnog type of drink, with eggs, whiskey, etc., served as a tonic as well as a treat". However, by 1900, the term referred to "wholesome drinks made with chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla syrups." By the "early 1900s people were asking for the new treat, often with ice cream." By the 1930s, milkshakes were a popular drink at malt shops, which were the "typical soda fountain of the period.
The history of the electric blender, malted milk drinks and milkshakes are interconnected. Before the widespread availability of electric blenders, milkshake-type drinks were more like eggnog, or they were a hand-shaken mixture of crushed ice and milk, sugar, and flavorings. Hamilton Beach's drink mixers began being used at soda fountains in 1911 and the electric blender or drink mixer was invented by Steven Poplawski in 1922. With the invention of the blender, milkshakes began to take their modern, whipped, aerated, and frothy form. Malted milk drinks are made with malted milk powder, which contains dried milk, malted barley and wheat flour. Malted milk powder was invented in 1897 by William Horlick as an easily digested restorative health drink for invalids and children, and as an infant's food.
The use of malted milk powder in milkshakes was popularized in the USA by the Chicago drugstore chain Walgreens. (original recipe) In 1922, Walgreens' employee Ivar "Pop" Coulson made a milkshake by adding two scoops of vanilla ice cream to the standard malted milk drink recipe (milk, chocolate syrup and malt powder). This item, under the name "Horlick's Malted Milk," was featured by the Walgreen drugstore chain as part of a chocolate milk shake, which itself became known as a "malted" or "malt" and became one of the most popular soda-fountain drinks.

The Secrets to Making the Perfect Shake

Paul Dickson in The Great American Ice Cream Book has this to say about the perfect milkshake.

If you prefer velevety, thick milk shakes and malts, never pummel your mixture with an egg beater or electric mixer with large baldes. These drinks are aerated blends and for that reason come out thick and subtle when made with a blender set to a low speed or with an electric mixer laboring on with a very small blade...As simple as it sounds, one of the prime secrets of the great soda jerks of yore was the parlay of very cold milk. (as close to 32° as possible without freezing), chilledsyrups and toppings (below 50° at least), cold soda (34-38°) and ever so slightly soft ice cream. If, for example, the milk is not very cold, you will not get the "fluff" that makes shakes and malts so pleasing. Needless to say, hot syrup must be kept warm but not too hot. Really hot fudge soon separated and crystalizes...
While I was browsing my cookbooks for Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies, to share, I found this recipe for Chocolate Malt Delights in Easy Entertaining published by Favorite Brand Name Recipes. I just had to include it. It's sooooo easy...

Chocolate Malt Delights
1 package (18 oz) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons malted milk powder, original or chocolate flavor, divided
1-1/4 cups prepared chocolate frosting
1 cup coarsely chopped malted milk balls (I suggest Whoppers)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F grease cookie sheets
2. Remove dough from wrapper, place in large bowl. Let dough stand at room temperature about 15 minutes.
3. Add 1/3 cup malted milk powder to dough in bowl, beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Drop mounded tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheet.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned at edges. Cool on cookie sheets 5 minutes, remove to wire racks to cool completely.
5. Combine frosting and remaining 3 tablespoons malted milk powder. Top each cookie with rounded tablespoon of frosting, garnish with malted milk balls. Makes about 1-1/2 dozen cookies.
NOTE: I was informed from a very reliable source (Marion:) that malted milk powder causes her gout to act up. Just saying...:) I prefer the malted milk powder that I recall from my childhood. I also like Ovaltine too:) I've found that malted milk powder sold in Asian markets is closer to the kind I remember.

More Daily Celebrations This Week

September 12th

The Chinese Harvest Moon Festival is celebrated on September 12th this year. (thanks Lena:) The festival is intricately linked to the legends of Chang E, the mythical Moon Goddess of Immortality. Moon Cakes are traditionally exchanged during the Moon Cake Festival. Here are a few moon cake recipes from some of my favorite visitors.
1. Handmade Piggy Mooncakes
2. Dragonfruit Flaky Mooncake
3. Sun Dried Tomato Mooncake Biscuits

Aren't they simply adorably amazing! Great job you "guys." Here's one you might enjoy. It's a recipe for Cendol Jelly Moon Cakes!

...all the charming and beautiful things, from the Song of Songs, to bouillabaisse, and from the nine Beethoven symphonies to the Martini cocktail, have been given to humanity by men who, when the hour came, turned from tap water to something with color in it, and more in it than mere oxygen and hydrogen."~H.L. Mencken~
Happy Birth Date to "H.L. Mencken! Although he wrote many words in his lifetime, H. L. Mencken is most famously remembered for his American Language Study Guide (@ enotes) Here's a taste of his Etymology of Hot-Dog.
H. L. Mencken was as famous in America as George Bernard Shaw was in England, but it was not only through his work as a journalist. He continues to be recognized throughout the world as an influential critic of literature who helped launch the Southern and Harlem literary renaissances. In The Smart Set, the literary journal he edited with George Jean Nathan from 1914-1923, Mencken helped pave the way for many writers we know and study today: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eugene O’Neill, Sinclair Lewis, Theodore Dreiser, and James Joyce. In 1924, Mencken began a new journal, called The American Mercury. Aimed at the “civilized minority,” the magazines blended politics, the arts, and sciences. It was the first magazine edited by whites to publish the work of African American authors, such as James Weldon Johnson and Langston Hughes. Mencken was praised by writers for his prompt and courteous handling of their manuscripts, and by other editors for his quality monthly. The American Mercury influenced other magazines that followed it, including The New Yorker. So great was Mencken’s renown that college students flaunted The American Mercury as a sign of intellectual independence, waving it before their teachers. (source)

September 13th

It's Snack a Pickle Time!
Did you ever watch the movie, Matilda? What about Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Matilda is one of my favorites; right up there with Nanny McPhee:) Well, guess what, they were both authored by Roald Dahl whose birthday is celebrated today. And guess what else, there's a cookbook titled Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes which Janet has shared a recipe from over at Dying for Chocolate. Enjoy:)
It's National monkey nuts, groundnuts, ground peas, goobers, pindas, pinders or just plain ol' Peanut Day!
I'm sure International Chocolate Day has to do with the fact that Milton Hershey was born today in 1857. What do you think? What the heck. Let's celebrate with a slice of Innkeeper Pie!

Happy Birthday Uncle Sam! Yes, there was an Uncle Sam. His real name was Samuel Wilson and September 13th is the day he was born! You know what, we'll be celebrating Ice Cream Cone Day on September 22, why not whip up these Uncle Sam Ice Cream Cones and celebrate!
I'll be back on Wednesday with more tasty goodies. In the mean time, get ready for Cream Filled Doughnut Day, September 14th!!!
1. Milkshake pic from free-extras.com (used with permission)
2. National Chocolate Milkshake Day
3. A Snippet of Milkshake History (cool milkshake glasses)
4. Soda Fountain Redux: Recipes From the Fountain
5. H. L. Mencken: The Joyous Libertarian

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Change in Plans

"In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse."
~T.S. Eliot~

As I gleefully mentioned a couple of days ago, the 26th annual Mushroom Festival is this weekend in Kennett Square, PA. After careful consideration, I've decided not to go. Perhaps you've heard, "flash flooding from the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee has forced the closure of dozens of highways and roads in Pennsylvania." The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for much of the region and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has issued this warning:

Due to extreme flooding over the eastern third of Pennsylvania, PennDOT and the PA Turnpike Commission urge motorists to avoid all travel in this section of the commonwealth unless absolutely necessary.

There isn't any major flooding going on in my neck of the woods. However, that's not to say there aren't problems in the surrounding areas. At this time, (I'm writing this on Thursday:) Bloomsburg, which is about 45 minutes away from me, is literally under water. I sure hope they can get it cleaned up before the Bloomsburg Fair in a few weeks. One of my favorite locally owned amusement parks, Knoebels is also under water. Would I like to visit The Mushroom Capital of the World for National Mushroom Month? Positively! Is it necessary? Absolutely not! The decision is made.

I consider myself to be a reasonably decisive person. On occasion, I have been known to waiver my decisions, such as this weekend, but in most instances, "good Lord willing and the creek don't freeze," I stick to my guns. Let me tell you about another time I had a change of plans; September 11, 2001.

For approximately 10 years, I commuted back and forth from New York to Pennsylvania on a regular basis before permanently moving to Pennsylvania nearly three years ago. Sometimes once a month, often times once a week, occasionally twice a week. That's 275 miles each way. When you consistently make a trek like that, you develop a routine. Mine was rather boring. Gas up, grab a coffee, drive. Every now and again, depending on time, I would stop for breakfast at either of two places; a diner in the Poconos or another in New Jersey. Boring, right? I think the most tiresome portion of the trip was getting up in the wee hours of the morning to begin the journey. You see, there's a certain amount of mathematics involved when timing your arrival at either destination.

East to West- New York to PA
When leaving Long Island, NY to drive to central PA, IMHO, it is best to leave after the morning traffic, which last time I checked, was between 9:30-10:00AM. Oh, I know everyone thinks its best to "get out of the city" by leaving in the wee hours of the morning but believe me, it is best to leave right at the tail end of the morning rush hour on the Long Island Expressway if time allows. If not, shoot for the wee hours but, you will probably get there in the same amount of time anyway.
West to East PA to New York
When leaving central PA to drive to Suffolk County, NY, IMHO, it is best to leave in the wee hours of the morning, which last time I checked, was between 3:30-4:00AM

While I'm issuing you "humble opinions," I may as well remind you of a trick I'm sure you also learned in your travels.

East-West North-South
In the numbering scheme, of the Interstate Highway System, east-west highways are assigned even numbers and north-south highways are assigned odd numbers. There are a few exceptions but when in doubt, go with this rule, IMHO, of course:)

The Saturday before September 11, 2001, I was home in Westhampton, NY, tidying up a few business related details. It had been a long week of tough negotiations and, quite frankly, I was pooped. From what I recall, it was a beautiful September day on the east end of Long Island and the perfect weather for stocking up on some obscure groceries to bring home to Pennsylvania. (obscure in PA not in NY:) Off I went to the vegetable stand and the butcher to get my "rations." My plan was to leave on Sunday morning and head back to PA. (when leaving New York on a Sunday to drive to central PA, there is yet another formula one may want to consider during the tourist season:) Since Labor Day was put to rest for yet another year, a leisurely hour in the morning is suitable enough, weather permitting. So, I packed my stuff, gas upped, grabbed a coffee and Sunday morning, not to bright and not to early, I headed to PA. I arrived back in PA before dark which for me, and my eyes, is always a good thing:)

Monday, September 10, 2001 was an uneventful morning. If memory serves me correctly, rain was in the forecast. I was still dragging from the previous week. No matter how many times I make that ride I still usually need at least two days to recuperate. (hey, I'm not as young as I use to be even today:) Around dinner time Monday evening, I received a phone call from my partner down in New York. In a nutshell, our lawyer had left a message that I was needed in New York to look over some papers which had to be signed, ASAP. I was not a happy camper. Remember what I said, When leaving central PA to drive to Suffolk County, NY, it is best to leave in the wee hours of the morning. The reason being, IMHO, if timed right, you will arrive at the toll booth of the George Washington Bridge at about 10AM. You will have missed the morning rush hour in New Jersey and most New York commuters are tucked in their offices in Manhattan and the rest of the city.

I was living in Bellefonte at the time and, I had the most wonderful neighbors. As a matter of fact, they often drop by the house to visit to this day. They were also my mail caretakers. So, knock, knock, knock at the door that evening (Monday) there stood Jo with a packet of mail addressed to me. Naturally, I invited her in. I brewed some tea and we sat down to enjoy a cup with her "famous" peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. (She also makes the very best peanut butter fudge EVER!) We chatted and we chatted and we chatted and before we knew it, it was 10:30PM. Jo was in no rush to get home, first because, she lived in the condo next door and second because her husband was in Ohio visiting his brother. I informed Jo that I was off to New York in the morning but that she didn't need to worry about the mail because I would be back before the week's end. We said our good-byes and after setting the alarm for 3:00AM, I headed for bed. I could not sleep for the life of me. It may have been the tea. It could have been the double doses of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies but more likely, I was just plain ol' out of whack! Did I tell you there was no wine in the house? In New York yes, but not in PA. You know that desperate feeling that comes over you when you know you must get up on time no matter what? You turn off the TV thinking it's distracting you. You turn on the TV because you require the noise? You toss, you turn, you pace. I'm thankful it doesn't happen often but boy oh boy when it does, it's just awful! A change of plans was necessary...

The alarming ring of the phone that fateful morning startled me. However, nothing had prepared me for Jo's quivering words at the other end of the phone..."I'm so glad you're still home, something terrible has happened in New York City. A plane has crashed into The World Center."

from Entertaining with Style; Recipes from Great American Restaurants ©1980