When we think of spaghetti we think Italian. Well, we think wrong, though it is a staple of the diets in Italy. Spaghetti recipes date back to the 1200’s in Europe when pasta was commonly used in open market recipes. The Chinese have been known to use pasta perhaps dating back to 5,000 BCE. However, spaghetti did grow in popularity when the Italians began to add sauces, meatballs and cheese to it. Spaghetti in Italian translates to thin string or twine. I would not suggest making your spaghetti dishes with string or twine but I do see how the Italians might call it that.
How to celebrate – Enjoy a nice plate of spaghetti! Make up your own sauce to flavor the spaghetti. See how many different types of pasta you can name.
December 21st National Kiwi Day
Here is a fruit that is native to China and had a certain popularity in the Far East prior to World War 2 but never really caught on until soldiers fighting in New Zealand tried the fruit, liked it and brought it back to the west with them. Originally known as “Yang Tao”, the Chinese gooseberry, it eventually was named Kiwi. Sounds Hawaiian! It is often mixed with strawberries as they seem to compliment each other. Interesting, at least to me, is the fact that though it is native to China, the number one producing country for Kiwi today is Italy.
How to celebrate – Have some Kiwi today. Visit China and see
Kiwi in the wild. Make your own recipe using Kiwi.
Why mess with a good thing? Cheese pizza is great before you add any of the usual toppings – pepperoni, onions, black olives… you name it. When you were a kid you wouldn’t touch any of the rest of that stuff, it was cheese or nothing. As you get older you realize you can pick that stuff off but then what do you do with it? Actually, the original pizza probably didn’t have cheese on it either. Pizza didn’t originate in Italy either, it is probably a Greek soldier thing. They put spices and herbs on flat bread and let it bake in the sun. Maybe they had a little cheese, but probably not. However today it’s all about the cheese, the more the better.
How to celebrate – Have a cheese pizza! Experiment with different types of cheese. Try a white pizza.
Today, in 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted destroying Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae, killing and estimates 3,360 people. It was one of the worst tragedies known to man at the time… and since. Entire towns were destroyed, towns that held a great deal of wealth. You might think the lesson was learned, don’t build an entire community at the base of a volcano. However, rebuild they did, and the volcano taught them another lesson in 1631, this time killing over 3,500 people. Well, you might notice in the photo that people have built there yet again, tempting fate even when Mother Nature has already warned us. Oh well, tempting the fates seems to be one thing man always tests.
How to celebrate – Visit Mount Vesuvius. Look for your own volcano to build next to. Make a baking soda and vinegar volcano.
May 25th National Wine Day
Do you prefer red or white? Do the best wines in your opinion come from France, Italy or California? There are wines you serve before dinner, during dinner and after dinner. There are pink wines, sweet wines, bitter wines but they all come from grapes. So the better harvest of grapes available, the better wine selections that are available. Some are very expensive, some are cheap and some are just glorified vinegar.
How to celebrate – Have a wine tasting party. Visit a
vineyard. Learn how to make your own wine.
This is one of my favorite holidays of the entire year! Well, maybe it’s not really a real holiday, but of the not so real holidays this is may favorite. I love pizza! I am one of the national average American’s when it comes to eating pizza, that’s 23 pounds of pizza a year. Over 3 billion pizzas are sold every year in the US, the most coming at Superbowl Sunday and second, oddly, Halloween!
No one knows exactly when pizza was invented. I have heard it was the Greek soldiers with Alexander who used to bake cheese and herbs on pita bread on top of their shields. Maybe true, but like most everything else, it was probably first served up by the Chinese.
Chow Mein pizza, yum. And yes I know chow mein is actually an American dish. I wonder how you use the chopsticks!?!
How to celebrate – Order pizza today. Make your own pizza today. Try a white pizza for a change.
October 25th World Pasta Day
Though many attribute pasta to Italy, it was brought back from China to Europe in the 13th Century by Marco Polo.
Pasta had been a staple of the Chinese diet for probably centuries before Marco Polo visited, it had been in use for so long no one really remembered when the Chinese first started using in their dishes. Italy certainly gives China a run for the money these days though and we are all the better for it!
How to celebrate – Have some Italian pasta today. Have some Chinese pasta today. Read about Marco Polo’s exploration of Asia.
Doesn’t all pizza start out as cheese pizza? Well, most I guess. I have never met anyone who said, “Ewe, its cheese pizza, I don’t want any!” Unless of course they didn’t like pizza in the first place, which seems kind of rare.
To me, the more cheese the better so, bring it on! Three cheese, ten cheese, fifty cheese… well, maybe fifty is a bit much. There is nothing like pulling that first piece of pizza out of the box and watch the strings of cheese try to pull it back. Of course it never wins.
We all know the story of how pizza got it’s start… Greece… Italy… New York City… No real need of covering that story again, for like the tenth time. Naturally children seem to love cheese pizza best. The older you get the more open you get to new and different flavors. Adding ingredients becomes a challenge and yet it all starts with the cheese pizza.
And if everyone else wants meat or vegetables, or both, on their pizza, there is always the individual cheese pizza. You can always pick off things like pepperoni from the pizza and it instantly becomes a cheese pizza once again! Chopped vegetables take a little more effort to remove.
But since today is National Cheese Pizza Day, it really should be celebrated by having only cheese pizza! If you want, you can add all that extra stuff afterwards.
How to celebrate – Have cheese pizza today. Try making your own pizza with a different type of cheese. Share your personal pan pizza with someone you love.
It’s nice that my favorite cookie’s day falls on my favorite son’s birthday. Nothing against other cookies, they are good and all but Macaroons are my favorite (and I only have one son so I am not really playing favorites here). It is a flour-less cookie, made from ground nuts and leavened egg whites. It has been a favorite among the Jewish community during Passover since they are not allowed to cook with flour during the season.
The coconut macaroon is by far the most popular and well known but I am told another flavor macaroon comes from potatoes. I’ve never had a potato flavored cookie that I know of, maybe I have… That ought to be interesting, I like potatoes.
Naturally the French had to one up the other macaroons… (macarons) at least I think it was the French. They don’t look like other macaroons (because they’re macarons) and they come in all sorts of flavors. They are good though. Funny looking, yes, and they are claimed to be made by Angels and Unicorns. I am pretty sure Angels have a lot more important things to do and if they were made by Unicorns wouldn’t they have a hole in the middle like a donut? Well Maarons have their own National Holiday in March.
Anyway, the traditional ones can be improved by drizzling chocolate over them, that is if you like chocolate. Not that they need it though. It is believed that the macaroon was first made in Italy around 1792. It is said that this cookie is the only thing that made the monks there talk!
Well, did I mention it is my son’s birthday? I think maybe we should try to make him a macaroon cake. Of course it might be just a tad bit dry by the time it reaches him so, I’ll just have to eat it myself and tell him about it. I’ll bet it’ll be good.!
How to celebrate – Eat a macaroon today! Make some macaroons. Try a macaron made by a unicorn.
Can you say, “Marco Polo”? Well if you can, put him out of your mind because he did not bring spaghetti back to Italy from China as legend claims. Though pasta had been in use since before 5,000 B.C. in China, it probably came to Italy from the Arab countries in the 1200’s.
The actual word, “spaghetti” does come from Italy though and it means thin string or twine. Which really makes me wonder about what the original Italians were eating. Pasta comes in some 600 shapes. It is all basically the same no matter how you cut it, though you can put different seasonings on it to mix it up some.
Thomas Jefferson, serving in Europe as an American Ambassador after the Revolution, learned about the use of pasta and brought it back to America in 1789. (probably with the tomato). Since then, it has become a staple of American cuisine. Americans eat over 20 pounds of pasta a year alone. When you figure how much a pound of pasta is before cooking it, that’s a lot of spaghetti!
And, of course, it has warmed our hearts as well as our bellies over the years. Can you imagine life without pasta? I can’t.
How to celebrate – Serve up a steaming hot plate of spaghetti tonight for a hearty dinner. If you don’t like pasta does that make you anti-pasta!?! (Think about it) See if you can come up with a new shape for your spaghetti.