December 30th Bacon Day

If you love meat, you love bacon! Of course it is really bad for you but who can resist it, provided you are not a vegetarian. It comes on sandwiches, ice cream, candy and just about anything you can think of. What was once a breakfast meat has become an any time treat!

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Bacon was known to be in use during the days of the Roman Empire. It was called ‘Petaso’ but was probably only available to the wealthy. For years, no one in the world would eat pork because they thought it was unhealthy. Well it was, but not for the reasons they thought. No one knew how to prepare it and botulism ran amuck. By the Middle Ages though, bacon had become a normal part of the meal, still probably more for the wealthy than the peasant but it’s use began to grow. The English called it “Bacoun”.

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In France they call it “Bako”, Germany “Bakko” and in old Teutonic it was known as “Backe”. Whatever they call it you will know by the scent that it’s cooking. I even know a lot of people who love the smell even though they are vegan.

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It has become such a part of our everyday now that we expect it to be available for anything, any time we choose. Breakfast, lunch, dinner even as a snack. We put bacon on pizza, spaghetti and even apples.

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And why not. It goes with just about anything!

How to celebrate – Make bacon for every meal today. Invent your own bacon dish. Try bacon on something you’ve never tried it with before.

December 28th Pledge of Allegiance Day

December 28th is the Pledge of Allegiance Day for the United States. It’s designed to demonstrate our commitment to our country like saluting the flag. No, it doesn’t seem all that popular anymore and it seems some people constantly complain about our country, but most Americans still have Pride for America.

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It is believed that the pledge was written by Francis Bellamy for the Youth Companion sometime in 1892.  Adjustments were made to it in 1923 on National Flag Day and again in 1924. The changes were minor.

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Surprisingly, at least to me, it was not adopted until December 28th, 1945. I had always assumed it was much older than that! The term, Under God, was added in 1954 on June 14th. Now of course many are trying to get that removed. Others are trying to get the entire pledge removed.

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Maybe it should be voluntary. Maybe it can show us who loves this country and who doesn’t. I frankly don’t know why anyone who doesn’t love this country would even want to stay here. I mean, the only way to know you don’t love something is to find something you do love. So if it’s such a bad place, go where ever you think the world is better….By no means is it perfect. Our kids aren’t perfect, our mate isn’t perfect, we aren’t perfect… so to expect a country to be perfect is a little beyond reason. And if you so chose to leave God out of it, that’s fine, you havevthat right. Remember, you live in America where our country gives you the freedom to think what you want, you can even say what you want, but you can’t make me believe it just because you said it.

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So celebrate it by saying the pledge, or any portion of it you deem acceptable. Respect it for what it stands for, not what might be in practice in your part of the country, and take a little pride in being an American. I do not see how any of that is going to spoil your day.

December 27th National Fruitcake Day

There are so many wonderful traditions involved with Christmas. The Christmas Tree, Decorations, Presents… the Fruitcake. Okay, well maybe not the fruitcake but it can be really good if you soak it for a few years in brandy! Some choose to use wine! I’ve even had a piece with white lightning that took me a couple of years to recover from.

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The fruitcake has been around since the days of the Roman Empire. I believe a few of the originals still exist! Back then, they used pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins blended into a barley mix. I’m not sure how popular it was but it lasted longer than the Empire did!

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It carried over into the the Middle Ages (perhaps as shields at times for the Knights), but they added fruit, honey and various spices. The fruit had been preserved so that it could be used months after the season had ended.

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As sugar became more available in Europe from the American colonies, the fruit cake became more popular during the 16th century. The recipes began to stabilize and by 1913 the fruit cake became a mail order item. It was a good gift because it could be sent in July and received in December and still be considered fresh! In 1935 the phrase “Nutty as a fruitcake” came into use as companies loaded up the fruitcake with cheap nuts. It wasn’t really any better but it was nutty! Apparently even then people who liked fruitcake were considered a little odd.

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And now we have even turned them into cookies. Wow, I wonder if they last a really, really long time too!?! Well, fruitcake can be good… maybe not a lot of it in one sitting. I know one family who passed around a fruitcake for nearly 10 years, each recipient adding a little more whiskey to it each year until they finally ate it (they ran out of family members to pass it on to). No one remembers how that night ended but they do remember finishing the cake to the very last drop!

How to celebrate – Make your own fruitcake, maybe using the recipe provided. Most fruitcakes are not served with alcohol… find out why? Start your own tradition of handing down the fruitcake to the next generation.

December 24th Christmas Eve

Today, or rather tonight, is Christmas Eve. For the Christian world it’s the night before Jesus was born, for the children it’s the night Santa travels around the world to deliver gifts to all the good girls and boys. In a world too often filled with hate it is the one night we should all take the time to be truly thankful for what we have. It doesn’t matter what religion you are you can find some reason to celebrate. (We really should do that every day anyway.)

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This is the day Jesus was born. (Well not really but it is the day we recognize that he was born.) Whether you believe he was the Son of God, a profit or just a guy born is your choice. No one has the right to choose who, or what, anyone else believes in. I happen to believe in Jesus and yes, I believe everyone should, but if you do not that is your choice So to me, Christmas Eve is an important date.

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If you believe it is the night Santa Claus travels to the homes of children and gives them gifts for being good,so be it. Santa Claus if based on a Saint, Saint Nicholas who did deliver toys and gifts to children in his area (Greece). So just as with Jesus, there is some truth to the matter. Time may have expanded what he did, we may have blown it out of proportion but who did it hurt? It gave children something to believe in and I don;t really know when that was ever a bad thing.

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So whether you wait for Christmas Day by a fireplace in your home (If you have one) for Santa to come down the chimney and bring you something good…

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…or wait by the manger for Jesus to be born… or if your thing is just sitting in a dark room and sulking, it’s your choice. It is not a day to rain on anyone’s parade except your own if you so choose. If you can not be tolerant of my faith, then why should I be tolerant of yours? Jesus taught peace and what’s wrong with that no matter what faith you have or even if you have no faith at all.

So Good Night, Laila Tov or Laylat Saiidat. Have a good evening and Merry Christmas to all.

Shameless plug here, want a good read? Look for “Why The Evergreens Stay Green” on Amazon.

December 23 Roots Day

Who are you, where did you come from, do you have any famous relatives? Well today is the day to try and find out. It’s Roots Day, celebrated for over 40 years.

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Most of us are interested in where our families came from. Some names are easy to track back, others are not… like Smith or Jones… but no matter what your name is,  there is a history that goes along with it. (That is unless you are a test-tube baby.)

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I can only use my own family as an example. We don’t know a lot about them but we have found a few interesting tidbits. One of my grandmothers relatives all lived in Scotland and Ireland. One lived in a little known shire named Nottingham. He was a peasant and one day while roaming the woods he found a Knight had fallen from his horse and in all that armour couldn’t get back up. So being the kind and helpful create he was, he was probably a thief and looking for a quick coin, he helped the Knight to his feet, and then onto his horse. As the story goes it happened to be the King he had helped up and the King made him the Earl of Nottingham for his actions. In legend, the Earl of Nottingham was the basis for the story of Robin Hood. Now, we all know Robin Hood was fiction, and probably so is this story, but it was written by a genealogist in the UK so who am I to say!

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My other grandmother proudly held a document that entitled her to the Daughters of the Revolution claiming that one of her relatives served as an officer in Washington’s Guard during the Revolutionary War. Who’s to say, I wasn’t there but it’s fun to imagine one of my relatives was. There are all sorts of trails my family has going back in time, some good, some bad and some (Like Robin Hood) probably totally fabricated. But you know what, it doesn’t matter. It makes for fun conversation and adds a little pride to the family name, real of not.

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So why not with the holidays coming up, family gathered for the holiday and no one wants to talk about politics anymore, find out a little about your family tree. It may not lead you to the roots you wanted but at least you’ll know a little more about who your family is and what the accomplished.

How to celebrate – Investigate your ancestory. Start your own family tree. Make up your own history and try on get your family to believe it!

December22nd Forefathers Day

When we think of our forefathers most of us think about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams but they were actually our founding fathers. They had the same forefathers we have, those that came from England aboard the Mayflower.

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Some of the passengers were looking for religious freedom, some for adventure and others just a way to start over again. Life was not easy in Europe at the time for anyone but the elite, and it wasn’t all that great for them either. They landed at a place they called Plymouth Rock, a place they named in a moment of whimsical thought. It meant nothing, wasn’t an actual place and wasn’t significant to any of those on board the ship.

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The date was December 22nd, 1620. Here’s a list of those original passengers.

These are truly our forefathers, each one should be celebrated on their own merit. Some survived, some didn’t… but they are our countries forefathers.

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It was decided to celebrate their achievements in 1769 and has continued ever since aided by descendents and friends in the Old Colony Club and the Mayflower Society.

How to celebrate – See if any of your family traces back to the original families. Visit Plymouth Rock. Include succotash in your family meal today, a dish the forefathers were treated to themselves by the Native Americans who probably saved their lives.

Forefathers’ Style Succotash

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh lima beans
1 1/2 cups diced onion
2 tablespoons oil
4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Place lima beans in a medium saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until beans are tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Sauté diced onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Stir in corn; cook, stirring often, 6 minutes or until corn is tender. Stir in beans and 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in butter, and add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chives.

 

 

 

December 21st Humbug Day

For anyone who has gone shopping on Black Friday, this is your day to celebrate! Characters like Scrooge, the Grinch and the Abominable Snowman love this holiday. It’s the day to celebrate all that is wrong with Christmas, Hanukkah and any other religiously based holiday.

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The holiday was actually created on the Seinfeld show with the alternative holiday becoming Festivus. Festivus is a holiday where you don’t anything. Instead of a Christmas tree you use a plain aluminum pole, not decorated of course, tell everyone about your grievances and end the day with a Festivus dinner of whatever you might normally have if it wasn’t a holiday.

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Christmas is often a difficult time to get through. There are many people who have regrets and are sad about something. The holidays seem to increase their awareness of all they have to be sad about instead of what they have to be happy about. While I completely understand and sympathize with their plight, it is so much easier to find things to be sad about over finding things there are to be happy about.

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So I suggest that instead of look at all the negatives, look for the positives. Look for all that you do have over the things that you don’t have and  if all that fails, remember the real reason for the season, regardless of what religion you celebrate. If none of that works…

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…celebrate Humbug Day.

How to celebrate – Don’t enjoy any of the Christmas lights or decoration you see. Don’t have a family dinner with all the trimmings. Return any gifts you get whether you like them or not.