312/365: National Cappuccino Day*

You may feel a little jittery if you miss out on today’s holiday. Actually, you may feel even more jittery if you don’t. November 8 is National Cappuccino Day!

It’s also National Harvey Wallbanger Day. I really, really wanted to celebrate this one. With such a colorful name and history, it was tough to resist! But we’re headed up to Seattle for a long-overdue family visit immediately after work, and can’t in good conscience knock back a cocktail before hitting the road. A Harvey Wallbanger is simply a screwdriver (vodka and orange juice) mixed with Galliano, a sweet (and bright yellow) Italian herbal liqueur. It you believe the tales, it was invented in the 1960s when a party host ran out of everything but vodka, OJ, and Galliano, and was named for a California surfer who would knock back so many of the drinks after a busy day “hanging 10” that he’d stagger into the walls. Probably false history, but it sure does make for a fun story. Note to self: this is one holiday we’ll have to revisit in 2014.

National Cappuccino DaySo, cappuccino it is, and I’ve got nothing against the Italian coffee drink made with espresso, hot milk, and steamed milk foam, other than the fact that it’s a pain in the ass to spell correctly. I keep leaving out a “p” or a “c” or adding an “n” where none belongs. At least this word has an interesting history, too: it comes from the Italian “cappuccio,” meaning hood, and refers to the hooded robes worn by monks and nuns of the capucin order, which were a distinctive reddish-brown in color, in 17th century Europe. It was around this time that people began adding milk to coffee, and in the 1700s, a beverage called a “Kapuziner” began appearing in Viennese coffee shops. This coffee with cream and sugar closely matched the color of those hooded robes, and the name evolved over the years, eventually turning into cappuccino in the 1930s. By then espresso machines, with an ability to brew at a higher pressure and produce a finer grind while also heating milk, had been invented, and Italians began producing the modern version of the cappuccino we are familiar with today.

Tara surprised me by dropping off a cappuccino after lunch. With a cupcake to go along with it. I gots me a good wife, that’s for sure! We are normally both more likely to order a flavored latte, but we found the cappuccino quite enjoyable. Frothy and foamy, with a nice flavor. I’d get one again!

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