Posts Tagged With: General Foods

162/365: National German Chocolate Cake Day

Don’t even think about saying auf weidersehen without trying a slice of today’s celebrated food. June 11 is National German Chocolate Cake Day!

Despite the name, this cake has no ties to Germany whatsoever. It’s actually an American cake consisting of chocolate layers and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. In 1852 Sam German, a chocolate maker, developed a dark baking chocolate for Baker’s Chocolate Company. It was named Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate and was a popular ingredient in cakes. It would take another century for the cake we recognize today to catch on; in 1957 the Dallas Morning Star printed a cake recipe submitted by Mrs. George Clay using the baking chocolate and a sweet coconut-pecan topping. Called German’s Chocolate Cake, the pastry was an immediate hit. General Foods, which now owned Baker’s Chocolate, distributed the recipe to newspapers across the country, dropping the possessive (‘s) and renaming it German Chocolate Cake. Baker’s Chocolate saw sales increase by 73%, and the cake became a nationwide staple.

Next you’re going to tell me french fries aren’t really from France.

Anyway, I’ve always been a big fan of German Chocolate Cake, and used to request it for my birthday, so I was certainly not complaining about “having to” celebrate this food holiday. German chocolate cake is notoriously difficult to make from scratch – eggs need to be separated and beaten, chocolate needs to be melted – so we took the easy way out and used a dark chocolate cake mix and coconut/pecan frosting. You know what? It still tasted pretty good! Even if it isn’t really German engineered.

National German Chocolate Cake Day

Categories: Desserts, Pastry | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

62/365: National Cold Cuts Day*

Today’s food holiday is a bunch of bologna. Or ham…or salami…or turkey. It’s National Cold Cuts Day! It’s also mulled wine day, but it was lunchtime and we were hungry, so cold cuts it was!

Cold cuts refer to any sliced, precooked or cured meat, and are typically sold in glass delicatessen counters or prepackaged, and are popular in grocery stores and delicatessens. These meats tend to be high in nitrates, fat, and sodium. Which is what makes them so darn good! Just ask Jared, the spokesman for Subway, the most popular sandwich chain in America. If it weren’t for cold cuts, you might end up with a sandwich that was halfway decent, nutrition-wise. (If you’re worried about your health, buy your cold cuts sliced to order; the pre-sliced variety has more preservatives because there is a larger exposed surface. And whatever you do, avoid buying cold cuts in the UK, as theirs are often made with mechanically reclaimed meat and offal. How awful). Cold cuts may get a bad rap, but they’re wildly popular in both sandwiches and party trays. Hey, somebody is buying all that processed meat! In addition to the most common varieties named above, there are a number of, ahem, “exotic” cold cuts, as well. Products like liverwurst and head cheese and tongue loaf. Trust me, bologna ain’t half bad compared with what you could find staring back at you between two slices of bread.

Funny, we’re supposed to be celebrating cold cuts today, but I feel like I’m bashing them. And I enjoy them! Growing up, a fried bologna sandwich with ketchup was one of my faves.

What can I say? I was a weird kid.

Cold cuts have been around since…well, since there were dead animals and cold, I suppose. Oscar F. Mayer was a German immigrant in Chicago who had the wurst job imaginable. Literally: he worked in a meat market that sold liverwurst, bratwurst, and weisswurst. They were one of the sponsors of the Chicago world’s fair in 1893, and by 1900, had 43 employees working for them. Oscar Mayer had a way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a, and by 1904 began branding his meats. Not literally, of course. The company became so popular that, in 1936, they built the first Wienermobile and toured the country with it. They remained a family-owned corporation until 1981, when stockholders elected to sell the company to General Foods. They remain a major player in the cold cuts market to this day. And lest you think consuming luncheon meat isn’t good for your health, consider this: Oscar F. Mayer lived to the ripe old age of 96. Hmm. Pass the salami, please!

Tara and I celebrated with club sandwiches for lunch.

Happy "green toppings" day! Just kidding.

Happy “green toppings” day! Just kidding.

Categories: Meat | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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