Food Holiday

 

National Tater Tot Day

 

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Tater-Tots are a registered trademark of Ore-Ida. They were invented by the Grigg brothers who founded Ore-Ida. They came up with the idea of chopping and shredding the leftover bits of potato, adding flour and seasonings to them, and then pushing them through holes to form long cylinders that could be cut into small lengths and then fried. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Delicious!

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National Baked Alaska Day

 

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Baked Alaska is an elegant dessert that comprises sponge cake, ice cream and meringue. A baking dish is lined with the cake, filled with ice cream, and the meringue covers them both. It is baked just long enough for the meringue to firm up but not long enough to melt the ice cream.

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National Hot Chocolate Day

 

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Hot chocolate, also known as hot cocoa, is a beverage made of melted chocolate, hot milk and sugar. Chocolate was an integral part of Aztec culture, and it is said that they were the first to drink a chocolate beverage. However, they drank it cold. Interestingly enough, in the olden days hot chocolate was also used to treat certain kinds of stomach ailments.

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National Croissant Day

 

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A croissant is a delicious French pastry, known by its crescent shape. (Croissant means crescent in French). Puff pastry is used to make this delicacy - the dough is layered with butter, rolled and folded a few times, then rolled into its shape. It is then glazed with butter and baked. It is perfect served warm with some strawberry jam on the side.

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National Corn Chip Day

 

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The crunchy snack we call corn chips or Fritos actually had an “interesting” start to its mass production. According to their Web history, Fritos creator C.E. Doolin was frustrated with the short shelf life of tortillas. In his quest to find tortilla chips that would remain fresher longer, he ran into a Texan selling a fried variety. Doolin shelled out $100 for the recipe and perfected the crunchy chip in 1932.

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National Chocolate Cake Day

 

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In 1764 Dr James Baker discovered how to make chocolate by grinding cocoa beans. It was soon after that chocolate was incorporated in to cakes and baked goods. In the 1930s The Duff Company, from Pittsburgh, introduced the first chocolate cake mixes, and after the war Duncan Hines and General Mills followed suit. There are many different kinds of chocolate cake – Devil’s Food, Black Forest, and even Red Velvet!

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National Pistachio Day

 

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Pistachios made their way to the United States in the 1880s, but have been cultivated in the Middle East since Biblical times. These 20-foot tall trees thrive in stony, poor soil under high heat, and need little or no rain, but cannot tolerate humidity or excessive moisture. These trees can live for centuries with no care necessary. In fact, Iran claims it has a 700-year-old tree still living. Pistachios start to crack on their own when they are ripe. They are harvested simply – a machine shakes the tree and the fruits just fall off. They are gathered up and soaked to removed the fleshy covering, then the actual nut is dried in the sun.

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National Irish Coffee Day

 

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Irish coffee is a cocktail consisting of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and brown sugar, stirred, and topped with cream. The current version of this drink was invented in the 40s when a group of American passengers deplaned from their aircraft at Shannon airport, in Ireland, on a chilly winter evening. Whiskey was added to their coffees to add some warmth. It was first served in the US in San Francisco in 1952.

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National Peanut Butter Day

 

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Peanut butter is a food paste made primarily from ground dry roasted peanuts. It is mainly used as a sandwich spread and commonly combined with jelly / jam in a sandwich. It is also used in desserts and cookies – sometimes instead of oil.  The Aztecs were making a form of peanut butter long before peanut butter was available to the masses in the civilized world. Their peanut butter was purer than the peanut butter available today – no additives or preservatives, and was probably more of a paste than the peanut butter sold in stores.

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National Pie Day

 

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Pie. It’s the first thing I think of when I think of comfort food. A nice warm slice of apple pie, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream over it. Deliciousness! Today’s National Pie Day was created by the American Pie Council in celebration of pie. Fruit pies, meat pies, chocolate pies, vegetables pies, sweet or savory – the list is endless. Other names for pie include: streusel, tart, turnover, crumble, and pastie. Did you know that the term “upper crust” originated with pie? In early America when the economy was difficult and supplies were hard to come by only wealthy households could afford ingredients for both the upper and lower crusts of a pie; thus, the term “upper crust” was born. Apple pie is the most favored pie in America, followed by pumpkin, chocolate, lemon meringue and cherry.

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National Blonde Brownie Day

 

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So what is a Blonde Brownie? We all know that brownies are those delectable chocolate delights that some like chewy and some like to be more cake-like. Blonde brownies are brownies made with light brown sugar instead of dark brown cocoa. They are baked in the same way as regular brownies. So get into your kitchen today, and bake up a batch of each and decide which you like better.

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National Cheese Lovers Day

 

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Basically, cheese is the curdled milk of sheep, goats, cows, or other mammals. Cheese can be very soft – like farmer’s cheese, and very hard – like Parmesan. Rennet, an enzyme present in the stomach of all mammals, is added to milk to make cheese. When this is added to the milk, it causes the milk to separate into curds, and the liquid left behind is called whey. This process is complete when producing soft cheese like farmers cheese or cottage cheese. For harder cheeses, the curds need to be heated which further pulls more whey out from the curd. The cheese is then put into a mold where water and whey are removed, and the cheese adopts its final shape. The cheese then needs to age or ripen. Fresh cheese has a very undeveloped taste and can have a rubbery texture. The amount of aging necessary depends on which type of cheese is being produced. As the cheese develops the bacteria and enzymes within change the taste and appearance of the cheese.

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National Popcorn Day

 

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Popcorn is a type of maize and a member of the grass family. Popcorn is a whole grain and is made up of three parts: the germ, endosperm, and pericarp (the hull).  Of the four most common types of corn—sweet,  field, Indian corn, and popcorn—only popcorn pops!  Popcorn differs from other types of corn in that its hull has just the right thickness to allow it to burst open. Each kernel of popcorn contains a small amount of water kept inside a circle of soft starch, which is surrounded by the hard surface of the kernel. Popcorn needs moisture in order to pop.  As the kernel heats up, the water begins to expand. At around 212 degrees the water turns into steam and changes the starch inside each kernel into a superhot gelatinous mass.  The kernel continues to heat to about 347 degrees.  The pressure inside the grain will increase before finally bursting the hull open. As it explodes, the steam inside the kernel is released.  The soft starch inside the popcorn inflates and bursts out, cooling immediately and forming an odd shape.  A kernel can swell 40-50 times its original size!

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National Peking Duck Day

 

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What is Peking Duck exactly? It is a Chinese dish from Beijing (called Peking in the past) that has been around since the Imperial era and is now considered one of China’s national dishes. It is made from a species of duck called the Pekin Duck which is a large white duck. The duck is prepared and cooked in such a way that the skin becomes extremely crispy. The cooked duck is generally sliced in front of the diners and is traditionally served with pancakes, spring onions, vegetable side dishes and a bean sauce. The slices of the duck, together with the onions and some vegetables, are piled in the middle of the pancake. The pancake is rolled up and dipped into the sauce. Alternatively, the sauce is spread on the pancakes before the meat and vegetables are placed on it.

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National Hot Buttered Rum Day

 

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Hot buttered rum is the perfect drink to warm you up on a cold winter’s night. It’s a popular spiced rum drink that was popular in the colonial days. After molasses began to be imported to Colonial America from Jamaica, and distilleries opened in New England in the 1650′s, the colonists began adding distilled rum to hot drinks such as toddies and nogs, creating beverages such as hot buttered rum and eggnog.  These days in the United States, the term “hot toddy” and “hot buttered rum” can be used interchangeably, although variations of each will occur regionally.

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