July 13th French Fry Day

Are they French Fries or are they Belgian Fries?  Well, does it really matter?  I guess if you take pride in your fries it does but I don’t think either country gets any royalty for that.

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The name supposedly comes from the World War 1 era when the American Dough Boys went to Europe and ordered these odd things called “French Fries”, but the Americans were actually in Belgium at the time. They were stationed with Belgian troops but the soldiers spoke French so naturally, the Americans assumed they were French.

French Fries had been around for a long time before that. In fact, there is reference to them being served in 1680 in Belgium. They apparently did not come to France until 1789, over a hundred years later. Thomas Jefferson had them served at the White house in 1802 and they were mentioned in a cookbook called “Cookery for Maids of All Works” by E. Warren in 1856.

Since then, we have come a long way with versions of the cut potato that is generally deep fried in oil, although they can be baked in an oven as well. They are called Chips in England and Finger Chips in India.

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There are crinkle cut fries though I am not sure why this is important, I suppose they are a bit stronger and maybe hold sauces better.

And lanky smooth cut fries, like those served at McDonalds. In fact, McDonald’s seems to have cornered a market with their fries, generally preferred over the fries of other fast food restaurants.

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We have put cheese on them, added chili to them…

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… and even made them out of sweet potatoes so that we feel like we are eating healthier.

There are all sorts of sauces we dip our fries into but few seem to out perform ketchup. It is widely accepted that Thomas Jefferson introduced them to the American diet, though it was quite different back then than it is now. Ironically today, what could be more American than the French Fry?

How to celebrate – Go find some french fries and eat them all yourself, no sharing!  Find other veggies you can cut up like fries and invent your own version of the “American” fry.  Make your own comparison of the french fries available at different fast food venues.

April 24th National Pigs-In-A-Blanket Day

If you are going to throw a party you have to have, no you must have, the most relished appetizer in the world… Pigs-In-A-Blanket.  It cannot be a party without them.  Not officially anyway.

There are many ways to make Pigs-In-A-Blanket.  You can use hot dogs (the traditional), sausage links, or even ground up sausage with rice and herbs.  You can serve them in pastry or bacon, or better yet, both.  You may want to check out these recipes for additional information. Place them next to the caviar and see which goes first!

You can even serve these tasty treats as a meal!  Just use full-sized hot dogs and serve with baked beans.  They go equally well as a breakfast meal if you use sausage links with eggs and cheese mixed in.

You can serve them with ketchup, mustard, relish, chili, cheese, onions … anything you might traditionally put on a hot dog.  You can spice them up with peppers or sauces, make them plain and simple or even disguise them and they will still be found.  Oh, and those you hide in the oven and pretend you forgot to serve so you can have some for yourself after the party, they’ll find those too.

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No one knows when or where Pigs-In-A-Blanket were first made.  More than likely it was by mistake or maybe a way to make another meal of hot dogs look a little more appetizing, the reason doesn’t really matter.  They have been around for a long time and will probably continue to be served far into the future.

How to celebrate:  Have a party.  Make some Pigs-In-A-Blanket just for the heck of it.  Go to a party, but make sure they are serving Pigs-In-A-Blanket before you go.