Grains

333/365: National Rice Cake Day*

Take today’s food holiday with a grain of salt. Or, more accurately, a grain of rice. November 29 is National Rice Cake Day!

It is also National Lemon Cream Pie Day, but if you’re like us, you had plenty of pie yesterday to tide you over for awhile. In fact, you’ve probably still got leftovers today. A light, tasty, low-calorie and low-fat rice cake sounds much more appealing on Black Friday!

Rice cakes are very popular in Asian culture. They may be made with rice flour, ground rice, or whole grains of rice compressed together. Rice cakes can be sweet or savory, and are available in a variety of flavors. Rice has been cultivated for over 7000 years, and is primarily grown in warm, humid climates. In Pacific Rim countries especially, rice is the basis for many meals and snacks. Sweet rice cakes called mochi were eaten by Japanese nobility as far back as the 8th century, and really began to flourish by the end of the 12th century. Once Tokyo became the capital of Japan during the Edo Period (1601-1868), rice cakes became a popular festival treat, and began appearing at roadside stands throughout the country. To this day, many Asian street vendors sell variations of rice cakes made with vegetables, seaweed, and seafood that are fried to order. In the U.S., puffed rice cakes are common. These are considerably healthier, and are a popular low-calorie substitute for pastries.

We picked up a bag of white cheddar flavored rice cakes to celebrate. This is my favorite flavor; I often enjoy rice cakes for a snack, and today was no exception!

National Rice Cake Day

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Categories: Grains, Snacks | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

319/365: National Raisin Bran Cereal Day*

You may be raisin hell if you skip breakfast today. November 15 is National Raisin Bran Cereal Day!

It’s also National Bundt Day, but I’m not much of a baseball fan, and when I am I like to swing for the fences rather than gently tapping the pitched ball with my bat to make it more difficult to field. What’s that? Wrong kind of “bunt”? Doesn’t matter. We’re celebrating cereal today.

Raisin Bran cereal was first introduced in 1926 by U.S. Mills, under the brand name Skinner’s Raisin Bran. The name was originally trademarked, but in 1944 the District Court of Nebraska ruled the name couldn’t be used as a trademark becauseĀ A name which is merely descriptive of the ingredients, qualities or characteristics of an article of trade cannot be appropriated as a trademark and the exclusive use of it afforded legal protection. The use of a similar name by another to truthfully describe his own product does not constitute a legal or moral wrong, even if its effect be to cause the public to mistake the origin or ownership of the product. In other words – minus the legalese – if your product contains raisins and bran, you don’tĀ own the name Raisin Bran any more than if your product contained chocolate and milk and you trademarked the name Chocolate Milkā„¢. Not gonna happen, folks. As a result, a number of companies sell their own versions of raisin bran cereal, including Kellogg’s, General Mills, and Post. The cereal is naturally high in fiber, but is sometimes criticized for containing too much sugar.

Raisin Bran was a favorite cereal of mine growing up, but I don’t eat it much anymore these days. It’s too sweet to me, and I agree with Tara that it gets too soggy in milk too quickly. Still, it made for a decent enough breakfast before work this morning!

National Raisin Bran Cereal Day

National Raisin Bran Cereal Day

Categories: Breakfast, Fruit, Grains | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

302/365: National Oatmeal Day

In the mood to sow your wild oats? Today’s your day! October 29 is National Oatmeal Day!

Oatmeal is a porridge or cereal made from ground, rolled, crushed, or steel-cut oats. Though oats have been a food source for thousands of years, they initially played second fiddle to wheat and barley. They were originally viewed as a weed-like plant and burned to clear room for more important crops. When they were used for food, it was mostly to feed livestock. The Scottish were the first to cultivate oats and use them as a food source, since oats grew better than wheat in Scotland’s short, wet growing season. This was met with derision by the English, who described them as “eaten by people in Scotland, but fit only for horses in England.” The Scots replied, “That’s why England has such good horses, and Scotland has such fine men!” Ooh. BURN. Oats were first brought to America in 1602, planted off the coast of Massachusetts. They were an important crop to George Washington, who sowed 580 acres in 1786. They were still predominantly a livestock crop in the U.S. until around the turn of the 20th century. As their health benefits became increasingly well known – oats are rich in soluble fiber, and have been shown to reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease – oatmeal consumption rose dramatically. Today, it is one of the country’s most popular breakfast cereals.

To celebrate, I stopped by Starbucks for one of their specialty oatmeals, while Tara went the instant (and economical) route. I have to say, I was impressed with all of the add-ins Starbucks included…fruit, nuts, and a packet of brown sugar. Perfectly fitting for such a chilly autumn morning…it dropped to freezing today!

National Oatmeal Day

Categories: Grains | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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