Posts Tagged With: Native Americans

317/365: National Indian Pudding Day

If today’s food holiday doesn’t sound at all native to you Americans, don’t be hasty: it’s actually a Colonial classic that dates back to the 17th century. November 13 is National Indian Pudding Day!

This holiday popped up earlier in the year, but it shared the date with National Orange Blossom Day, and this cocktail made with gin, vermouth, and orange juice sounded more appealing (and considerably easier to make), so we opted for that at the time. The drink actually didn’t impress us all that much, and then John – our East Coast Food Correspondent, as I dubbed him early on in our challenge, left the following comment.

Maybe after this year…. or even next year. And you can just eat what you want again, and not everyday is an elaborate food adventure, you should really try making Indian Pudding. It’s really good! Worth it down the road.

Needless to say, that intrigued us. I did not realize, at the time, that there would be another National Indian Pudding Day, so I’m kinda glad we had a second shot at this holiday – even if making it is an arduous process.

Indian pudding is a variation on British hasty pudding, a pudding or porridge of grains cooked in boiling milk or water; instead of wheat, it is made with cornmeal, which was indigenous to Native Americans (and its name, Indian meal, gave rise to the name Indian pudding). Colonialists added a sweetener such as molasses or maple syrup, spices (typically cinnamon and ginger), and other ingredients like butter, eggs, raisins, and nuts for flavor and texture. It was then baked in an oven for several hours, until the consistency was more custardy than porridge-like. It became a popular dessert during the cold New England winters, and was traditionally associated with Thanksgiving meals during the late 19th century. When commercial puddings hit the market in the 1900s, few home cooks bothered anymore with the laborious process of creating Indian pudding from scratch, and the dish basically disappeared from dinner tables.

There was no escaping the fact that this would be a time-consuming dessert to prepare, but we were ready for the challenge, and followed this recipe. The end result? Pretty interesting. The texture of the custard was grainy, but the flavors were delicious, and matched well with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. We both liked it, but agreed that we probably wouldn’t go to the trouble of making one again. No doubt, if it weren’t for the food challenge, this is one dish we would never have tried!

National Indian Pudding Day

Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

299/365: National Pumpkin Day*

Orange you glad there’s a holiday devoted to your favorite gourd? October 26 is National Pumpkin Day!

It’s also National Pretzel Day and National Mincemeat Pie Day. I’d have loved to grabbed a pretzel and called it good – it doesn’t get much easier than that, and we’re on the road in Denver this weekend – but we already celebrated pretzels back in April. Duplicate food holidays annoy me. And I’m not much of a mincemeat fan, so pumpkin it is! But we’re going to pass on the obvious, pumpkin pie, because there’s a special food holiday devoted to that particular dessert (December 25, of all days)! Fortunately, pumpkin-flavored anything is all the rage these days, so it wasn’t difficult to find a way to celebrate this holiday, even from the road.

Pumpkin is derived from the Greek word pepon and means “large melon.”  It is a type of winter squash native to North America, and traditionally refers to round, orange varieties of squash that are commonly carved into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween, and made into pies in the fall months, when they are ready for harvesting. They are one of the most popular crops in the U.S., with 1.5 billion pounds being produced annually; top growing states are Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible including the shell, seeds, flowers, and leaves. They were a Native American staple, and were cut into thin strips and roasted over a fire to serve as sustenance during the long, harsh winters. The flesh was roasted, baked, parched, boiled, and dried, and the seeds were used as a type of medicine. Even the hard shells did not go to waste; these were used as bowls and containers to store grains, beans, and seeds. Columbus brought pumpkin seeds back with him to Europe, but these were fed to pigs and were not seen as fit for human consumption.National Pumpkin Day

Ol’ Christopher was wrong. Pumpkins are delicious! We celebrated by grabbing a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks this morning. This seasonal favorite is always highly anticipated when fall rolls around, and today’s tasted extra delicious!

Stay tuned for a special announcement regarding Eat My Words tomorrow.

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

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