November 9th National Scrapple Day

Scrapple is the first pork dish invented in America. It comes from the 17th and 18th centuries in the Pennsylvania Dutch region where it was called “panhaas” (pon haus).

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Scrapple is made from bits and pieces of pork mixed with cornmeal, wheat flour and spices. Those spices may include one, or all, of sage, thyme, savory and black pepper). It is served as a side breakfast dish along with the traditional eggs and hash-browns. It is mashed into a loaf, sliced and pan fried before serving.

the-forefather-scrapple-sandwich-labelsScrapple, while traditionally made from pork, can also be made from beef, chicken, or turkey. It is generally served with apple butter, ketchup, jelly, maple syrup, honey, horseradish or just plain mustard.

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Here’s a scrapple recipe for you to try.

How to celebrate – Have scrapple for breakfast this morning. Who knows, you might even like it! Serve scrapple up as a surprise and ask your family members, or friends, what they think it is. Visit the Pennsylvania Dutch region and get some real scrapple.

May 16th Love A Tree Day

Sounds a lot like hug a tree but you don’t have to love someone to hug them so this should be a little more intense. Actually, we owe a lot to trees, like oxygen, food, holding the earth together, shade, and really cool things to climb just to name a few.

It is believed that trees have been on earth for more than 370 million years including the, Wattieza, which has been found in fossils dating back to the Triassic Period. It is estimated that there are more than three trillion trees on the earth, of which we cut down nearly 15 billion a year while replacing them with only 5 billion variations.

Of course the highest number, and widest variety, come in the Rain Forests across the face of the earth. Trees come in many shapes, forms and colors, just like the people who use them, abuse them, and love them.

Trees are responsible for many of the foods we eat today. Apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, citrus (oranges, lemons, limes), coconut, dates, figs, olives, palm oil, cocoa, coffee, bananas, Brazil nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, nut oils, curry, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and sassafras, plus probably a lot more stuff I have missed.

Trees are beautiful, functional, and useful, and should be treated as one of our most precious commodities. Whether they are huge like the Redwoods in California or the miniature bonsai trees that can be hundreds of years old, perhaps they do need a hug now and then. Some have been here since long before we ever came into the picture and should be treasured.

Joyce Kilmer put it best in her poem:

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast.

A tree that looks at God all day

And lifts her leafy arms to pray

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robin in her hair

Upon whose bosom snow has lain

Who intimately lives with rain

Poems are made by fools like me

But only God can make a tree.

So Love a Tree today and DO NOT do what young George Washington did (or maybe didn’t :)):

How to celebrate: Go on, go hug a tree!  Plant a tree so you can watch it grow. Take a virtual field trip to the Redwood Forest. Or, just take a walk in the woods and enjoy what has been provided for you.

March 23rd National Chips & Dip Day

Break out those potato chips, tortilla chips, or the chip of your choice and start dipping! This is your day!  No one knows when it began, or why it began other than as an excuse to add a few extra pounds.  We do, however, have a little history on when the potato chip got its start.

The first reference to a thinly sliced chip made of potatoes comes from William Kitchiner’s “The Cook’s Oracle” published in England in 1822, they were called Crisps. At least a little more romantic, the story goes that American Chef George Crum in Saratoga NY, in 1853 got annoyed with one of his customers who kept sending back his potato saying it was under cooked.  Crum cut the potato into very thin slices and fried it until is was burnt to a crisp.  Amused with himself, Crum sent out his joke to his customer who in turn loved the potato adding to Crum’s frustration.  Soon, everybody was asking for Crum’s potatoes and an entire new industry was begun.  His customer may have been Cornelius Vanderbilt which would explain how it caught on so fast.

Now dip has no real history.  It also means many, many different things… chewing tobacco, an unsavory character, or something that enhances the flavor of a chip.  It probably first came from ancient days when breads were dunked in herbs and oils.  Since then, people have been trying all sorts of new items to include in their “dip”.

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So somewhere along the line somebody got the bright idea that our chips and dip were not healthy enough for us.  They decided to put things like fruits and vegetables along side the dip to get us all eating better.  Okay, so it’s a good idea and is better for us but this sort of anarchy just leads us to a total meltdown of what National Chips & Dip Day is all about!

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A little less objectionable to connoisseurs of the traditional Chips and Dips  is the dessert chip & dip.  While it does leave us craving salt it satisfies other taste buds in our palate.

So raise that chip, or carrot, or cookie high in the air and with a determined, yet graceful, motion bring it down and scoop up whatever flavor dip you desire to consume, taking care that you are not close to a spittoon where you might find another sort of dip less accommodating.