Posts Tagged With: Sausage

348/365: National Biscuits & Gravy Day*

Today’s food holiday celebrates a hearty breakfast duo. Bacon and eggs? Nah. Pancakes and sausage? Guess again. December 14 is National Biscuits & Gravy Day!

It’s also National Bouillabaisse Day. This one-pot fisherman’s stew that originated in France sounds satisfying, but we didn’t feel like going to the trouble (and expense) of making it or ordering from a restaurant. No need to knock ourselves out with just a couple of weeks left, right?

Biscuits and gravy are two distinct foods that are delicious on their own. But together, they take on splendid new flavors! Kind of like what happens when you mix peanut butter and chocolate…only much more savory. They consist of soft dough biscuits covered in a thick “country” or “white” gravy that usually includes pan drippings, flour, milk, and crumbled sausage. It is often seasoned with black pepper and sometimes called “sawmill” gravy. The dish originated in the American South following the Revolutionary War. At that time food was in short supply, and breakfast was usually the most substantial meal of the day, providing energy for a long, hard day of work on the plantations. Because pigs were a popular and cheap source of livestock, sausage became a key ingredient. This filling morning meal was enough to get people ready for a busy day ahead.

We stopped by our favorite neighborhood mom ‘n pop restaurant for breakfast this morning, and shared some biscuits and gravy. Bonus points for this meal: it’s perfect hangover food!

National Biscuits & Gravy Day

Categories: Breakfast | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

297/365: National Bologna Day*

If you think today’s holiday is full of baloney, you’re quite literally right. October the 24th is National Bologna Day!

It is also National Good and Plenty Day and National Food Day. Good and Plenty is the oldest candy brand in the U.S., dating to 1893, but it’s licorice-flavored and therefore, in our opinion, unworthy of celebration. It’s also National Food Day, but on this blog, every day is a national food day! Besides, this holiday is devoted to raising awareness of healthy, affordable, sustainably priced food, but isn’t linked to any particular type of cuisine. Bologna was the logical choice for us today, so bologna it is!

Bologna is a type of sausage similar to mortadella that originated in Bologna, Italy in the 1400s. It is made of finely ground meat, typically beef or pork, and lard (though by regulation this must be invisible to the naked eye, giving new meaning to the phrase “out of sight, out of mind”). It may also be made from chicken, turkey, venison, or god knows what. The first bolognas were made from pork, studded with cubes of white fat, and flavored with pepper, coriander, anise, and pistachio nuts. A recipe from Robert May, published in 1660, calls for  “a good leg of pork and a lot of lard, flavoured with cloves, nutmeg, mace, pepper and caraway seeds.” I’m not sure why bologna has such a bad rap and is often said to contain lips, snouts, and other unsavory animal body parts; it’s really no worse than any other type of sausage around and was a childhood favorite of mine.

To celebrate, I made a bologna sandwich for dinner. I’m very specific about my bologna: it must be on white bread, with mustard (NO mayo), American cheese, a slice or two of tomato, and pickles. There can be no deviating from this format! Tara is not a bologna fan – surprise, surprise – so she suffered through a bite. Me? I could’ve gone for another!

National Bologna Day

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

284/365: National Sausage Pizza Day

Today’s food holiday will appeal to both lovers of circles as well as Italian food. October 11 is National Sausage Pizza Day!

Pizza holidays didn’t show up until relatively late in the year. It was just last month that we celebrated our first, National Cheese Pizza Day. Now we’ve got another, and all I can say is, it’s about time! Pizza is one of those things that everybody loves. Even vegetarians! (Though they probably aren’t falling all over themselves to celebrate today’s holiday. Hey, their loss).

I’ve already discussed the history of pizza, so follow the cheese pizza link for that. A recent (unscientific) poll by The Huffington Post found that the most popular pizza toppings in America are:

  1. Pepperoni
  2. Cheese
  3. Mushrooms
  4. Sausage
  5. Bacon

Which means sausage lovers can proudly declare, “We’re #4!” today. Personally, I prefer sausage to pepperoni. I think it offers more “zing.” Those toppings are downright boring compared to what people in other countries enjoy on their pizza. Eel, green peas, and coconut all made the list.

Last year, leading up to the Presidential election, Pizza Hut made an offer: free pizza for life to anybody who asked Barack Obama and Mitt Romney whether they preferred pepperoni or sausage on their pizza during the Town Hall debate on October 16. Sadly, nobody took advantage of that offer. If nothing else, it would have humanized both candidates! Who cares about foreign policy and the economy when there are important pizza positions to discuss?

To celebrate, we picked up a sausage pizza from NYC Pizzeria, the same place we went for Cheese Pizza Day. We also added mushrooms, because we wanted our sausage to have some company. Love their pizza!

National Sausage Pizza Day

Categories: Meat | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

228/365: National Bratwurst Day*

Today’s food challenge is one of the wurst yet. And I mean that in a good way. August 16 is National Bratwurst Day! But yo-ho-ho, that’s not all: it’s also National Rum Day. Unfortunately, we’re making an impromptu trip to Ely, Nevada due to a death in Tara’s family. It’s about a 12-hour drive, and obviously alcohol would be a bad idea. Eating bratwursts before hitting the road at 4 AM is tricky enough!

Bratwurst is one of the oldest sausages, dating back to the early 14th century. It is, not at all surprisingly, a German invention (they do love their sausages, don’t they?), derived from the words braten (to “fry”) and wurst (opposite of “best”) (or, in this case, “sausage”). Bratwurst is made of ground pork, beef, or veal, and a distinctive blend of seasons that includes nutmeg, garlic, salt, and pepper. The earliest evidence of this wiener on steroids dates to 1313 and the German town of Nuremberg, still a major sausage manufacturing region to this day. It is typically grilled or pan fried, and often served with sauerkraut or potato salad. German immigrants introduced it to the U.S., and it’s particularly popular in the state of Wisconsin, where (stereotype alert!) locals wearing giant foam cheese heads and speaking in funny accents often cook it in beer. Brats, as they are commonly referred (hey – just like kids!), are so popular in Wisconsin that Miller Park in Milwaukee is the only baseball stadium in the country that sells more bratwursts than hot dogs, and the city of Madison’s three-day Brat Fest over Memorial Day weekend is billed as the largest in the world. Take that, Germany!

We said at the beginning of this project that regardless of circumstances, we would stick with our food challenge, no matter how difficult. Certainly today is one of those days to test our limits, but with a little bit of preparation, we made do. This meant cooking bratwursts the night before and eating them early in the morning, long before the sun was up, with scrambled eggs…and relying on technology to make sure this post appears while we are somewhere in the middle of nowhere (a/k/a Idaho). Is that dedication, or what?

National Bratwurst Day

Categories: Meat | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

114/365: National Pigs In A Blanket Day

Grab your napkins and sPORKS and go hog wild over today’s food holiday. April 24 is National Pigs In A Blanket Day!

Even though the first recipe for pigs in a blanket as we know it was published in Betty Crocker’s Cooking For Kids in 1957, different versions of this meal existed long before then. As far back as the 1600s, field laborers in England were putting meat inside of dough for a quick, nourishing, and portable meal. Pigs in a blanket is basically pork wrapped inside something else, though the type of pork (and the blanket itself) has varied greatly over the years. A popular version in the 1800s consisted of oysters that were rolled in a slice of bacon, pinned together with a toothpick, grilled, broiled or fried, and served hot on toast. But in this case, the pig is the blanket, he’s not IN the blanket. That’s just not right! Nowadays, the dish most often refers to hot dogs, Vienna sausages, or breakfast sausages wrapped in crescent dough or a pancake and baked, unless you’re in Europe, where cabbage rolls are often called pigs in a blanket. Technically speaking, that makes perfect sense. They became a popular party food in the 1960s, and for a while in the 70s Pillsbury sold a canned version that was ready to bake. Apparently, they thought the American consumer was wasting too much time and effort actually rolling a hot dog inside dough. It IS an awfully labor-intensive task – amazing that the canned version never really caught on. /sarcasm.

Pigs in a blanket are also called devils on horseback, kilted sausages, and wiener winks.

Yes, really.

We decided to stick with the tried-and-true and make pigs in a blanket with crescent dough and hot dogs. We even added a slice of American cheese to some of them. For such a simple and lowbrow meal, I have to say, they were pretty damn tasty!

Pigs In A Blanket

Categories: Pastry, Pork | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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