November 14th National Pickle Day

Today is National Pickle Day, which comes from the Dutch word “pekel”, meaning brine. This low calorie, high in vitamin K, treat has been enjoyed across the world since at least 2030 B.C. Pickles, which are cucumbers soaked in a brine or vinegar, and fermented for various lengths of time with added flavoring to make the different types available on the market.

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Cleopatra claimed her great beauty came from her indulgence of the flavorful treat imported from India to the Tigris Valley. They are low in calories which might explain her shapely body and while she probably was a beauty I’ll bet her breath was at least a little suspect with all that vinegar.

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Interestingly, Julius Caesar also found the pickle to be of benefit to his troops. He believed the pickle made his troops stronger and gave them more energy. This may explain some of his success against Cleopatra and possibly some of the attraction!

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At any rate, over 5,200,000 pickles are consumed every year in America. Whether they are dill, gherkin, cornichon, brined, kosher dill, Polish, Hungarian, lime, bread, butter, Swedish, Danish, cinnamon, or kool-aide (whatever they are).

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And one of the newest flavors, and the favorite of many, is the deep-fried pickle. I believe this started as a southern treat but has spread across the rest of American and even into Europe.

How to celebrate – Pickles can be enjoyed many ways… in a sandwich, as relish, or just on their own. Have a pickle with lunch today! See how many new flavors of pickles you can try. You can try and pickle your own cucumbers if you like.

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April 4th National Cordon Bleu Day

Today is National Cordon Bleu Day.  The actual original name was schnitzel cordon bleu.  I always thought it was French but apparently, its Swiss.  (Hence why we spell it Bleu instead of Blue.)  The original version was made with veal but it has gone on to include ham and chicken.  By definition it means a meat wrapped around cheese, breaded and then pan-fried or deep-fried.  (For those health conscious, you can also bake it)

Here’s a recipe for Cordon Bleu for those of you that are do not have one of your own.  I suppose you could use anything you want in place of the meat, as long as you put cheese in the center.  There was even a recipe for fish Cordon Bleu but I passed on that one.  The first time it appeared in a cook book was in the 1940’s, a veal recipe.  Ham followed next in 1955 and finally chicken in 1967. (I could have sworn I had cordon bleu before 1967 but that was so long ago)

Cordon Bleu actually means “Blue Ribbon”, which is French. It came from Henry III court in France and was given to the “Highest Order of Knighthood”.  Known as L’Ordres des Chevaliers du Saint-Esprit, 1578.

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Some inventing chef even mixed ham and chicken together to make their Cordon Bleu, what most of us commonly know today. So I guess Chicken, Veal or Ham served up with cheese, breaded and fried is Blue Ribbon material.