Food Holiday

 

National Margarita Day

 

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One of the world’s most popular tequila drinks, the margarita is traditionally made with 2 parts silver tequila, 1 part orange liquor, and 1 part fresh lime juice.  Then it’s served over ice in a salt rimmed glass. There’s debate over who invented the margarita, but a popular story has it invented in 1948 by socialite Margarita Sames. According to the legend it was during a party at her cliff side hacienda in Acapulco, that Margarita began looking for something cool to cut the dust of a hot afternoon. So she experimented by mixing Tequila Herradura, Cointreau and fresh lime juice. And apparently kept the party going for two weeks.

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National Chocolate Mint Day

 

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Mint chocolate, also known as chocolate mint, is a popular variety of flavored chocolate. It is created when mint flavoring, such as peppermint, spearmint, or crème de menthe, is added to plain chocolate. Chocolate mint also refers to an herb, specifically a hybrid mint plant, that tastes and especially smells like a combination of mint and chocolate. The National Confectioners Association has declared February 19 the Chocolate Mint Day.

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National Cabbage Day

 

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Cabbage has been cultivated for more than 4,000 years and domesticated for over 2,500 years. Although cabbage is often connected to the Irish, the Celts brought cabbage to Europe from Asia around 600 B.C.E.  Since cabbage grows well in cool climates, yields large harvests, and stores well during winter, it soon became a major crop in Europe. Early cabbage was not the full-bodied head we take for granted today, but rather a more loose-leaf variety. The head variety was developed during the Middle Ages by northern European farmers. It was French navigator Jacques Cartier who brought cabbage to the Americas in 1536.

Cabbage cousins include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, and cauliflower. The world’s largest cabbage is credited to William Collingwood of County Durham, England, whose prized cabbage in 1865 weighed in at 123 pounds.


 

National Almond Day

 

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The almond is a native to the Mediterranean climate region of the Middle East, eastward as far as the Indus. It was spread by humans in ancient times along the shores of the Mediterranean into northern Africa and southern Europe and more recently transported to other parts of the world, notably California, United States.

The wild form of domesticated almond grows in parts of the Levant; almonds must first have been taken into cultivation in this region.


 

National Gumdrops Day

 

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Gumdrops are a type of confectionery (candy). They are usually brightly-colored gelatin- or pectin-based pieces, shaped like a truncated cone and coated in granulated sugar. This makes them very sweet.Gumdrops come in (usually artificial) fruit and spice varieties; the latter are also known as spice drops. Gumdrops, spice drops, and their variations are used in baking, candy crafting, decorating, and for eating out of hand. They are often used for decorating cakes and cupcakes. In the winter time, this candy is an ingredient used in making gingerbread houses.

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National Creme-Filled Chocolates Day

 

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Creme-filled chocolates are not too difficult to make.Creme-filled chocolates can be made two ways. The first way is to make ganache and fondant, roll it into a ball and then dip the fondant into chocolate. Another way is to use a mold and put melted chocolate in the mold. Chocolate in molds are cooled by freezing. The molds are then filled with a creme filling and chocolate poured over the candy. Once the candy has cooled, it can be taken out of the mold.

The chocolates can be filled with a number of flavors. Some of them are coffee, maple, mint, raspberry, strawberry orange, lemon, vanilla, maraschino, rum, chocolate and coconut. Most of the flavors are attained by using flavoring, liqueur, extract, fruit juices or powdered ingredients.


 

National Tortellini Day

 

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Tortellini originated in Bologna and is accompanied by a legend: When the goddess Venus stayed in a tavern on the outskirts of the city, the innkeeper tried to spy on her through the keyhole of her room, but could catch only a glimpse of her navel. Spellbound, he went to the kitchen and, to capture this vision, shaped fresh egg pasta into the navel-sized tortellini. An alternative legend has Lucretia Borgia playing the starring role.

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National PB&J Day

 

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It is said that the US Military is responsible for the creation of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Both peanut butter and jelly were on the U.S. Military ration menus in World War II (1941-1945).  American soldiers added jelly to their peanut butter to make it more palatable. Peanut butter provided an inexpensive and high protein alternative to meat for soldiers. It was an instant hit and returning servicemen made peanut butter and jelly sales soar in the United States. Food historians haven’t found any ads or other mentions of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before the 1940s.

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National “Have a Brownie” Day

 

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A chef at Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel created the confection after Bertha Palmer requested a dessert for ladies attending the fair; it should be, she said, smaller than a piece of cake, though still retaining cake-like characteristics and easily eaten from boxed lunches. These first brownies featured an apricot glaze and walnuts, and they are still being made at the hotel according to the original recipe.

The earliest published recipes for a brownie like those of today appeared in the Home Cookery (1904, Laconia, NH), Service Club Cook Book (1904, Chicago, IL), The Boston Globe (April 2, 1905 p. 34) and the 1906 edition of The Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer. These recipes produced a relatively mild and cake-like brownie. The name “brownie” first appeared in the 1896 version of the cookbook, but this was in reference to molasses cakes baked individually in tin molds, not true brownies.


 

National Pizza Pie Day

 

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Considered a peasant’s meal in Italy for centuries it is not known who invented the very first pizza pie. Food historians agree that pizza like dishes were eaten by many peoples in the Mediterranean including the Greeks and Egyptians. However, modern pizza has been attributed to baker Raffaele Esposito of Naples. In 1889, Esposito who owned a restaurant called the Pizzeria di Pietro baked what he called “pizza” especially for the visit of Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita. The first pizzeria in North America was opened in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi at 53 1/3 Spring Street in New York City.

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National Potato Lovers Day

 

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The Potato (Solanum tuberosum) originated in the Andes of South America, thousands of years ago. Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate them. The Peruvian Quechua language records more than 1,000 words to describe potatoes and potato varieties! The potato was believed to have medicinal qualities and was rubbed on the skin of sick patients as a remedy.However, the invading Spanish conquistadors centuries later also loved the Peruvians’ potatoes. The Spaniards had been on the look-out for gold and jewels – potatoes became one of the exotic finds they excitedly brought back to Europe to impress royalty in 1536. The word ‘potato’ known in Spanish as ‘patata’ is derived from the word ‘batata’.

In France, Antoine-August Parmentier helped King Louis XIV make the potato a popular hit in the 18th century. Having been imprisoned in Germany – where he was fed only potatoes – he knew how to create a feast of fabulous dishes all based on this one ingredient. One guest at a Parmentier Feast was legendary American statesman Benjamin Franklin. He enjoyed it so much he spread the word to the “New World.” “French Fries” officially arrived in the United States of America when Thomas Jefferson served them at the White House during his presidency of 1801-1809.


 

National Fettuccine Alfredo Day

 

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It was popularised amongst US tourists in Rome by restaurateur Alfredo di Lelio who served it with his own name attached. The restaurant’s story is that the dish was invented by di Lelio at his restaurant Alfredo in 1914 as a variation of fettuccine al burro. When butter was added both before and after fettuccine was put in the serving bowl, the butter was known as doppio burro (double butter). Di Lelio’s “original contribution” was to double the amount of butter in the bowl before the fettuccine would be poured in (thus a triplo burro (triple butter) effect instead of double) which he started doing for his pregnant wife who was having difficulty keeping food down. Alfredo added the new dish to his restaurant’s menu when his wife began eating again. (Wikipedia).

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National Chopsticks Day

 

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Chopsticks were developed about 5,000 years ago in China. The pieces of food were small enough that they negated the need for knives at the dinner table, and chopsticks became staple utensils. It is also thought that Confucius, a vegetarian, advised people not to use knives at the table because knives would remind them of the slaughterhouse. Chinese chopsticks, called kuai-zi (quick little fellows), are usually 9 to 10 inches long and rectangular with a blunt end. By 500 CE, chopstick use had spread from China to present-day Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. In Japan, chopsticks were originally considered precious and were used exclusively for religious ceremonies. The earliest chopsticks used for eating looked like tweezers; they were made from one piece of bamboo that was joined at the top. By the 10th Century, chopsticks were being produced in two separate pieces. Japanese chopsticks differed in design from Chinese chopsticks in that they were rounded and came to a point; they were also shorter (7 inches long for females and 8 inches long for males). The Japanese usually made their chopsticks out of wood.The Japanese were also the first to create disposable wooden chopsticks (called wari-bashi), which appeared in 1878.

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National Frozen Yogurt Day

 

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Frozen yogurt is a dessert similar to ice cream, but contains yogurt as a replacement for cream. It tends to be healthier than ice cream, so many people choose it as an alternative.

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National Carrot Cake Day

 

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Carrots have been used in sweet cakes since the medieval period, during which time sweeteners were scarce and expensive, while carrots, which contain more sugar than any other vegetable besides the sugar beet, were much easier to come by and were used to make sweet desserts. The popularity of carrot cake was likely revived in Britain because of rationing during the Second World War.

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