Posts Tagged With: Thomas Jefferson

335/365: National Eat a Red Apple Day

You’ll keep the doctor far away if you adhere to today’s food challenge. December 1 is National Eat a Red Apple Day!

Now that it’s December, we officially have only one month left in our food challenge! Time flies, huh? I’m beginning to think we just might pull this whole thing off. Knock on wood, of course.

When it comes to apples, red ones are among my favorites (though green ones have their charms, as well). We are fortunate enough to live in Washington state, by far the largest apple producer in the country. Approximately 59% of apples in the U.S. are grown here, followed by New York (10%), Michigan (8%), Pennsylvania (5%), and California (4%). As a result, I think I’ve become really picky over my apples. Red Delicious apples are certainly red, but anything but delicious. They are simply way overrated. If I’m shopping in the supermarket, I prefer Gala or Honeycrisp apples; otherwise, I’m partial to some heirloom varieties you can find up here, particularly Spitzenburg (which has the distinction of being Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apple). This year, I discovered a relatively new apple, the Crimson Crisp. We used one as the base for our caramel apple on Halloween.

Unfortunately, our crimson crisp apples are long gone, but finding a red apple in Washington in December is not a difficult task. I chose a Gala apple, while Tara went with a Red Delicious (despite my protestations). Hey, to each their own. I enjoyed my apple while watching the Broncos beat the Chiefs. That’s a win/win in my book!

National Eat A Red Apple Day

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Categories: Fruit | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

193/365: National Pecan Pie Day

If you’re a little bit nuts, you’ll be proud to partake in today’s food holiday. July 12 is National Pecan Pie Day!

First off, in order to make sure you’re pronouncing things correctly, here’s a clip of Harry teaching Sally how to correctly order pecan pie.

Oh, how I love that movie.

Pecan is a Native American word used to describe any nut that requires a stone to crack. Which means that a pecan is a pecan, and a walnut is also a pecan, but a peanut is not a pecan.

Far out, man.

Pecan trees are the only nut trees native to North America. They originated in the central and eastern parts of the country, and were favored by pre-Colonial Americans because of their close proximity to natural waterways, their smooth and buttery flavor, and the fact that they weren’t “a tough nut to crack,” which is more than I can say about some of my ex-girlfriends. Every autumn, Native Americans would gather pecans to make a fermented drink called Powcohicora. They would then sit around a blazing hearth and get silly-ass drunk off of nut juice. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were so enamored of pecans, they planted trees in their gardens. New Orleans, at the mouth of the Mississippi River, became a crucial hub for marketing and distributing pecans throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world. French immigrants living in that city baked the first pecan pie, and the Karo company popularized the dessert by including pecan pie recipes on bottles of their corn syrup. It soon became a Southern staple, particularly around Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving may be months away yet, but that didn’t stop Tara and I from sharing a slice of pecan pie today. For breakfast. Neither of us had ever had it before. It was a little sweet for my tastes, and definitely had a maple flavor…which actually made it perfect with a cup of coffee. 

National Pecan Pie Day

Categories: Desserts, Nuts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

158/365: National Chocolate Ice Cream Day*

Want the latest scoop? Psst…June 7 is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day!

It’s also National Doughnut Day, a “floating” food holiday that occurs on the first Friday in June. Normally we’d be all over that, except for the not-so-insignificant fact that tomorrow is National Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day. Gotta have a little variety, you know? Then again, a few days ago we celebrated rocky road ice cream…

But back-to-back doughnut days are overkill. So we went with ice cream instead.

When it comes to ice cream flavors, vanilla is the most popular choice hands down (with 29% of the vote). Chocolate comes in second place (8.9%). But hey, there’s no shame in being a runner-up! (Unless you’re only up against one other competitor. Sorry, Super Bowl-losing San Francisco 49ers). Chocolate ice cream is made by blending cocoa powder with eggs, cream, sugar, and vanilla. It’s been around for centuries; the first ice cream parlor in America opened the same year we became a country, in 1776. Quakers brought over their favorite ice cream recipes, and the frozen treat became a widespread hit. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson all indulged in ice cream when they weren’t busy flying kites in thunderstorms or secretly crossing the Delaware River and stuff. In fact, there’s a brown smudge on one corner of the Declaration of Independence that is rumored to be a dripping from the chocolate ice cream cone that Jefferson was licking when he put quill to parchment. That’s a totally made up fact, by the way. But it could’ve happened.

To celebrate, we picked up a small container from Fred Meyer. And ate it in the bedroom by candlelight. Chocolate = romance, right?

Chocolate Ice Cream

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

89/365: National Turkey Neck Soup Day

You’ll want to gobble up a bowl of delicious, hot soup today. March 30th is National Turkey Neck Soup Day! Which, let’s face it, is kind of bizarre. Turkey soup I could see. But turkey neck soup?! Sounds like something only Cousin Eddie would appreciate. Save-Neck-For-Me-Navy-Shirt

Few foods are as quintessentially American as turkey. Not only is it synonymous with Thanksgiving, but every signature on the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and other important documents dreamed up by the Founding Fathers was inscribed using a turkey feather quill. By the way, ever wonder why turkeys are referred to as Tom? Benjamin Franklin jokingly called them that because Thomas Jefferson chose the bald eagle over the turkey to represent the new nation’s symbol. I guess Jefferson really ruffled Ben’s feathers.

The turkey neck may not be the most popular part of the bird, but the meat it contains is pretty tasty – as long as you cook it for awhile. It is tough at first, but after several hours simmering in broth, it becomes quite tender and flavorful. Making a turkey neck soup was a breeze. We had some wonderful leftover homemade chicken stock which we used as a base, along with the requisite turkey necks (surprisingly easy to find – thanks, mom!), some carrots, celery, onions, garlic, bell peppers, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper. It made for a delicious lunch!

Turkey Neck Soup

Categories: Poultry, Soup | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

49/365: National Drink Wine Day*

I don’t mean to whine over today’s food holiday. Well, actually, I do. Today is National Drink Wine Day! It’s also National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day, but holy crap, that sounds like a lot of work. We were much more eager to just sit back and sip some vino, so that’s precisely what we did!

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes, and has been a popular drink throughout the ages, dating back as far as 6000 B.C. A few years ago, archaeologists found wine residue inside 8,000 year old ceramic storage jars in Georgia (the country, not the state), making Russians the world’s first winos! It was very popular in ancient Greece and Rome; both countries honored gods of wine (Dionysus for the Greeks, Bacchus for the Romans). Catholics associate it with religion, as well; according to the Bible, Jesus famously turned water into wine, which you’ve gotta admit is a pretty nifty parlor trick, ranking right up there with the parting of the Red Sea. Take that, Moses! Ancient bottles from Christ’s private cellar are listed at upwards of $1000 on eBay. Eventually wine made its way to Asia and spread throughout Europe. Thomas Jefferson became a big wine aficionado after serving as ambassador to France, and attempted to plant vineyards in his home state of Virginia. The French grapes were just as snobby as their home country, and refused to grow in the Virginian soil. Jimmy Carter was more successful; to this day his family produces and bottles their own wine in Georgia (the state, not the country), perhaps in an effort to distance themselves from the whole Billy Beer fiasco.

My parents have loved wine since the 1970s, but it took me a lot longer to develop an appreciation for it. It’s really only happened within the past seven years or so. Nowadays, I enjoy it on occasion. I’m partial to white wines, especially sauvignon blancs from the Marlboro region of New Zealand, though sometimes red, red wine makes me feel so fine and keeps me rocking all of the time, too. This evening Tara and I enjoyed a German Riesling from Trader Joe’s.

Here’s a little music to get you in the mood.

Cheers!

Drink Wine Day

Categories: Alcohol | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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