May 12th Mother’s Day

The one person we really do everything to is our mother. Of course their are good mothers and bad mothers but she is where life begins and without her, none of us would be here. Today is the day we set aside to honor her since the first Mother’s Day in 1908 in Philadelphia. But really we should honor her every day. The day always falls the 2nd Sunday in May so the date may change but the idea of it never does. And really, today shouldn’t be restricted to just one day, it should be every day of the year. Whether it is Mother Nature, the Mother of Invention or just your own mom, honor her for all she has given you since before you were even born.

How to celebrate – Let your mom know you love her. Take your mom someplace special today. Make something for your mom just like you did when you were young. (It will mean more)

December 29th National Pepper Pot Day

“The soup that won the war!” Now you might wonder what war and how a soup saved that war!?! Good questions. You might call it the most American soup, or stew, ever created and it was created because there was nothing else left to create!

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Well, it seems that during the American Revolution the rebels, that would be the Continental Army, were starving to death.  Farmers were selling their crops to the British Army because, well, they could pay for the food but that left the American’s without much food.

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The recipe came from Philadelphia. Well, sort of anyway… there wasn’t a recipe really. It basically included nearly anything one had around them, thrown into a pot and cooked until tender. The flavors varied depending on what you put in it… the key was adding pepper! Black pepper, red pepper, any kind of pepper one could find.

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As stated, one of the original ingredients included tripe… the stomach of cattle. No one probably would have eaten it had they known what tripe was but since they didn’t, they enjoyed it as much as any starving person could. And in the harsh winter weather, the pepper kept them warm!

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I did not say warm and happy, but warm. There is a difference. Anyway, Washington won the war, with the help of the French who surprisingly didn’t eat a lot of Pepper Pot Soup. Here’s a Pepper Pot recipe for you. Oh, and you don’t have to use tripe… unless you want to.

How to celebrate – Dress your family up like the Continental Army and feed them Pepper Pot Soup. Visit Philadelphia. Go to Valley Forge.

September 7th Neither Rain Nor Snow Day

Today is the day to honor your postal delivery person. You may get aggravated that they show up when they do, don’t bring the mail you want them to bring or that letters get lost but you have to admit, they do a pretty good over-all job.

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Their actual motto reads, “Neither snow nor rain not the heat nor gloom of night, stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” We can once again thank Benjamin Franklin for helping to create the modern day postal service. Of course, the first post office was in Philadelphia, where Franklin lived for so many years.ls

And of course there was the Pony Express, perhaps one of the most famous mail courier groups in American history. The basic message in the post office’s motto is taken from the Pony Express, “The mail must go through”.

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But did you know that the post office in America was private owned until 1914? It may, or may not, have been better before the government confused things (As they usually do). Those Pony Express riders, Ben Franklin and anyone else prior to 1914 delivered the mail for profit. Today the post offices losses money hand over fist, it is hard to understand how except that with email, the telephone and those still privately owned forms of mail delivery, have reduced the US Mail Service income.

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The first official government office opened in New York City, 1914. Today we celebrate the carriers more than the office itself, although you cannot have one without the other. Like them or not, you have to admire the job they do. They work very, very hard with long hours in all sorts of weather to bring you something you probably didn’t really need in the first place.

How to celebrate – Thank your postal carrier today. Use the post office as much as you can to support their work. Study the history of the US postal service.

 

September 14th National Hoagie Day

Food can be a work of art and each of us can be an artist. We can create our own work, the way we like it with all the colors of the rainbow and flavors in a palate. Our canvas is either French Roll or Italian Roll, our paints are the various cuts of meat and cheese and our sculpture is the garnish we add, sprinkle or pour.

51233-1Now nobody knows exactly who, or when, the hoagie was invented. Some say it was a DiCostanzas in Pennsylvania in 1923, others say it was the DePalmas in 1925 in the same state. It’s sort of a feud these days. Another version talks about the sandwiches the shipbuilders were eating in Philadelphia during World War 1. That would predate either the DiCostanzas or the DePalmas. The truth probably lay somewhere in the middle of all three sources, but I’ll bet there are those in New York City that would argue the point.

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The original name of the hoagie was probably the hoogie.  It came from the terms used that explained children skipping school. They were said to either be “On The Hook” or “Playing Hookey”. The hoagie was a sandwich, at the time, that even a child could afford on the streets and the name Hookie was given to the sandwich. Because of the accent most Philadelphian’s have the a was added and the term Hoagie added to the dictionary.

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So no matter who made it, how it was made or what it is made out of, take the time to make your own piece of art, a Hoagie. You will be very satisfied by your work!

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How to celebrate – Remember a hoagie is a style, not a flavor so make one your way! See if you can make a hoagie for your family choosing the right ingredients. Ask the one you love to make a hoagie for you and see if they get it right.

July 30th National Cheesecake Day

Cheesecake has been around longer than you may think. It is thought to date back to at least 2,000 B.C. in ancient Greece. There is mention that it was served to athletes in Greece during the Olympics in 776 B.C. because it gave the athlete energy to perform. Made out of flour, wheat, honey, and cheese, it was considered a Greek Wedding Cake. Athenaeus wrote of cheesecake in 230 A.D., professing even then that it had been around for nearly 2,000 years. When the Romans invaded Greece, they brought back recipes that they adapted themselves. They were called “Libuma” as noted in a recipe left behind by Marcus Cato in the 1st Century B.C.

In 1545, Henry VIII’s chef made his own version of cheesecake, soaking cheese in milk for three hours, straining it, and adding butter, eggs, and sugar to the King’s liking. In 1872, a farmer in New York, who has not been named, accidentally created cream cheese which was eventually packaged and sold to customers. The Phoenix Cream Cheese company purchased the rights and began to widely sell cream cheese. By 1912, James Kraft, learned how to pasteurize cream cheese making it easier to sell, not to mention safer! In 1928, he acquired the name”Philadelphia” and the rest is history.

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Nowadays cheesecakes come in many flavors and styles. Among the more favorite flavors added to or topping the cake include blueberries, strawberries, fruit sauce flavors, chocolate, raspberry, pumpkin, key lime, lemon, orange, cherry, whipped cream, and toffee.

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Styles come in New York, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Country, Lactose Free, Chicago, Cheesecake Kludys, and Savory. The difference seems to be in the heaviness, or lightness, of the filling and the make of the crust. Crust comes in crumbled graham cracker, crumbled cookie, or sponge cake.

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The filling itself is generally made of cheese, cream cheese or cottage cheese, mixed with eggs, and sugar or honey.

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Practically everybody likes some form of cheesecake. It can be baked, or it doesn’t have to be cooked at all. It can be a dessert for any type of meal or even a mid-day snack. It doesn’t even have to come in cake style at all, with crumbs and filling just plopped in a cup.

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Here’s a cheesecake recipe for you to try. Just be aware there are hundreds of them to choose from.

How to celebrate – Make a cheesecake you, and your family, can enjoy. Have a cheesecake party where everyone makes a different style of cheesecake so you can sample a little of each. Or just sell out and go to the Cheesecake Factory and buy a pie!