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Friday, January 20, 2012

Grab a Cookie, It's National Coffee Break Day!

I was going to suggest you pull up a chair to celebrate National Coffee Break Day but, it occurred to me that you may already be sitting:) I suppose you could be munching on a cookie also but just in case, I baked up some of Pattie's Forget the Cake Crumb Cake Cookies for very good reason I might add; they are just so darn easy to make and they are precisely the right size for a coffee break albeit, a bit crumby:)

According to the National Coffee Association, "coffee lovers celebrated their first National Coffee Break Day last year." However, for those of us who crave out java, we pretty much celebrate coffee every day. So, what's with the notion of a designated coffee break day? Fact is, we may never know, not this year anyway. After numerous attempts to find out the goings on for National Coffee Break Day, 2012, neither the National Coffee Association website or twitter page had any information to offer. I did however find a fabulous Starbucks K-Cups Prize Bundle Give-Away posted on twitter yesterday. For those of you who are Starbuck's fans and own one of those pod coffee machines, you may just want to check it out. I'm more of a Dunkins Donuts coffee kind of gal myself and although I was lucky enough to get a brand spanking new Keurig machine for Christmas, I don't really use it much. (I still use my faithful percolator for my morning brew:)

The premise of celebrating National Coffee Break Day is simply described as "a way to celebrate the history of coffee and the centennial anniversary of the NCA." Let's take it a baby step forward shall we and stir up some history about coffee breaks in general. Are they any different than say, a coffee klatch? Well, sorta kinda. In case you missed the National Coffee Cake Day post I did a long, long time ago, (2008) let me refresh your coffee cup (or tea cup if you prefer:)

An afternoon kaffeeklatsch (coffee-and-cake gossip session) is one of Germany’s most cherished traditions. According to Evan Jones in American Food: The Gastronomic Story, German women brought to America the concept of the kaffeeklatsch, a break in the day to meet for some coffee, a sweet, and a little gossip. He also notes that Scandinavian hospitality was probably responsible for instituting the idea of the American coffee break that featured sweets, since so many of their simple pastries were called coffee breads, coffee cakes, or coffee rings. It pretty much sounds like a coffee version of a Victorian Kettledrum. For a kettledrum, tea is the choice beverage and the sweets served are dainties or sandwiches.

"...Scandinavians were perhaps more responsible than anyone else for making America as coffee-break-conscience as it is, and for perfecting the kind of food that goes well with coffee...it was in the kitchens where there was always a pot brewing on the back of the stove that Scandinavian hospitality and coffee became synonymous...From these social hours in homes evolved the worker's "coffee break," an office ritual so firmly established that it became in many cases a matter of union contract law.

By some accounts, the workers' coffee break originated in Wisconsin when working women in Stoughton, took 15 minute breaks to go home to tend to their chores. They usually returned with cup in hand. BTW, it may have started as far back as 1880. So some say that is...

Way back in 1880 Stoughton's Coffee Street was having daily coffee breaks for coffee. The citizenry being 80% Norwegian (100% on Coffee Street) just had to fit in some time of day to send a batch of coffee through their system between meals.

With the T.G. Mandt Wagon Co. going strong, it became necessary for tobacco firms to hire women for the seasonal tobacco steaming.  The Gunderson Tobacco Warehouse at Main & Coffee Streets was ideal for hiring women because it was so near their homes and they could run home to check on the kids, the house and see how the next meal was progressing.

With these chores done and a hot pot of coffee constantly on the stove, what was more natural than to have a cup?  So began today's coffee break - a few minutes to relax and refresh with coffee.


The British may have invented “Tea Time” but America invented the “Coffee Break”. The practice began in WW II era war effort factories to give workers a brief rest and a jolt of caffeine. Thanks to a clever advertising campaign in the mid 1950s by the Pan American Coffee Bureau, 70-80% of American workers were taking a coffee break – both factory and office workers. General Eisenhower used the coffee break idea for “Operation Coffee Cup” during his presidential campaign to meet with voters, which continued to spread the social trend of the coffee break. (The History of Coffee in America)

I tend to agree with Susan Stamberg's rendition of the History of the Coffee Break. Certainly, coffee in some form or another has been around a very long time. It seems to me, somewhere in time someone took a break with a cup of coffee in their hand. Which by the way reassures me in another instance. Although Coffee Cake may not always have coffee as an ingredient, a coffee break must include coffee as an ingredient. Else, we just have a regular ol' break!

The world's first coffee break, Stamberg reports, "probably took place before 1000 A.D. in Abyssinia (today's Ethiopia). Legend has it that a goatherd named Kaldi noticed his goats dancing around on their skinny hind legs. Then he noticed the goats had eaten some red berries. Kaldi tried the berries; he started dancing, too; and so coffee break dancing was born!"...Continue reading.

So now that we got all the formalities out of the way, what shall we chat about? How about Cheese Lovers Day? Did you know today is Cheese Lovers Day. I may as well admit it, I did consider to a post in honor of the celebration. Perhaps next year...What about Buttercrunch? I'm not a huge fan of buttercrunch but it doesn't mean I wouldn't celebrate today as National Buttercrunch Day! Perhaps, next year...It's any one's guess as to when National Granola Bar Day is. Some say today, others tomorrow. Just to be on the safe side, I'll leave you this recipe from Coffee Makes It Delicious published by the makers of Maxwell House Coffee in 1981.

Since we're all sitting around "shooting the breeze," I should give you an update on my eye infection. We may have found the culprit. Humidity! That's right folks, after tons of questions, days of research, and lots of investigation, Marion and I have come to the conclusion that the humidity in the house (25%) may have been the cause. (the burden of complications pertaining to the infection are still in litigation) We have remedied the situation with a brand new humidifier in the house which seems to be helping. I know my houseplants are feeling perkier as are Marion's "pals."


Yes, she crocheted the hats, vests and booties:)

I tried to gather a few "appropriate" Coffee Break Day recipes from some of your blogs but I'm having a problem with my google search engine so, if you have a favorite "Break Time" recipe to share, coffee need not be included, please feel free to leave the link below. And, for those of you who visit T.W. @ Culinary Types, here's a heads up, January 21st is his birthday!!! Enjoy Break Time!!!

Oh goodness, I almost forget. Patties cookies do not include coffee as an ingredient. I just had to play around a little so, I spun up a batch, rolled them into little balls and plopped a few of them on a coffee cake that I baked for Marion. You really can't see it to well in the picture but it really came out good! Since the cookies took 15 minutes to bake, I allowed enough time at the end of the coffee cake baking to rest the cookie crumb balls gently on top of the baking coffee cake. Next time, I'm going to add more!!! (I really need photography lessons:)

Resources
1. Forget the Cake Crumb Cake Cookies
2. St Bart’s Cafe Celebrates National Coffee Break Day
3. What Can Be Down About the Coffee Break-(seems it was this employers problem in this video from 1958 which is rather long)
4. The Unpaid Coffee Break (TIME Magazine)
Recipes
Any Day All-Occasion Apple Snack Cake
Some of My Favorite previous Coffee Related Posts
Friendship in A Cup
August is National Coffee Month
National Coffee Cake Day