Posts Tagged With: Dried fruit

361/365: National Fruit Cake Day

If you don’t take a bite of today’s food, don’t worry: it’ll still be around, in pretty much the same exact form, 10 years from now. Or so the jokes go. December 27 is National Fruit Cake Day!

Fruitcakes are cakes made with chopped candied or dried fruit, nuts, and spices. They are dense and rich, with detractors complaining that they’re rock hard and nearly inedible. We can blame ancient Rome for this monstrosity; the first fruit cakes, containing a mixture of pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins – mixed with barley mash – appeared during Caesar’s heyday. They became popular all over Europe, and closely associated with Christmas, when fruit cake was often given out as a gift (and subsequently re-gifted). When made with alcohol, fruit cakes can remain edible for years! These overly preserved monstrosities get such a bad rap that a holiday devoted to getting rid of them – National Fruit Cake Toss Day – has been created (January 3rd). Hmm, this may have to become one of our first food challenges next year!

To celebrate, we bought a fruit cake from the grocery store. Took a couple bites and decided its reputation is well deserved. Blech! Overly sweet and dense pretty much sums it up.

National Fruit Cake Day

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Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

243/365: National Trail Mix Day, National Eat Outside Day*

Hike up your pants and start walking to the cupboard. The last day of August is National Trail Mix Day!

It’s also National Eat Outside Day. If you’re literal-minded, as I am, then you’ll realize this is the perfect pairing. If you’re eating this mix of grains, nuts, and fruit on a trail, then you’re already eating outside anyway. That’s called killing two birds with one stone.

Sure enough, trail mix was invented with hiking in mind. It’s considered a perfect snack food to take along while hitting the Great Outdoors because it is lightweight, easy to store, and packed with nutrition. The carbohydrates in the dried fruit and granola, and the fat in the nuts, provide an energy boost to help you tackle the toughest of hiking trails. While some claim that a pair of California surfers invented trail mix in 1968 when they combined peanuts and raisins for an energy snack, fans of Jack Kerouac need only point to his novel The Dharma Bums to prove this story is a hoax: trail mix is mentioned in the book, which was published in 1958, back when the mystery surfers were probably still learning their ABCs. It probably dates back even further, under different names; an 1833 Danish book mentions Studenterhavre, a popular mix of raisins, almonds, and chocolate.

Trail mix can contain a wide variety of ingredients suited to your individual tastes. Common items include nuts, dried fruits, chocolate, granola, pretzels, seeds, shredded coconut, crystallized ginger, and marshmallows.

Even with guests in town, it was easy enough to celebrate today’s holidays. We shared a bag of trail mix outside. Done, and done!

National Trail Mix Day

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

120/365: National Raisin Day

You might just shrivel up and die if you don’t get to experience the sweet succulence of today’s food holiday. April 30 is National Raisin Day!

I talked about the history of raisins back when we were eating them dipped in chocolate, so I won’t rehash all of that. It does explain why some of these posts are shrinking in size, however (hey, just like dried grapes!): we’re starting to get into variations of the same things we’ve already eaten. This is where it’s time to get creative. So, here goes:

Man, I got nothin’.

OK, I kid. I did learn that National Raisin Day is one of the older American food holidays that we celebrate. It dates back to 1909, when Fresno resident James Horseburgh Jr., in an effort to save the fledgling San Joaquin Valley raisin industry and raise awareness of the dried fruit, held a giant festival celebrating all things raisin. Local hotels and the railroad industry pitched in, and residents were served raisins with every meal. The festival was a success, and the industry took off in central California. To this day, the San Joaquin Valley is the world’s largest raisin producer.

There are so many different ways to enjoy raisins, we weren’t sure what to do to celebrate today. But one thing was certain: we are getting sick of desserts. (This does not bode well for June, where at least 10 of the first 15 food holidays are dessert-centric). So Tara took some in to work to snack on, and I added a generous handful to a bowl of oatmeal this morning.

Raisins

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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