February 23rd annually recognizes a well-known food holiday, National Banana Bread Day.
A moist, sweet, cake-like quick bread, banana bread is made with fully ripe, mashed bananas. Some recipes call for yeast, and then the finished banana bread is sliced, toasted and spread with butter.
With the popularization of baking soda and baking powder in the 1930s banana bread first became a standard feature of American cookbooks. It appeared in Pillsbury’s 1933 Balanced Recipes cookbook, too. Banana bread later gained further acceptance with the release of the original Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book in 1950.
Despite the banana’s arrival in the United States in the 1870s, it took a while before they appeared as an ingredient in desserts.
Early Banana Bread
One early recipe came from The Vienna Model Bakery. It advertised banana bread as something new in the April 21, 1893, edition of St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A new restaurant/bakery chain owned by Gaff, Fleischmann & Company, The Viena Model Bakery was known for its baked goods and was likely one of the first to produce banana bread in the United States. The recipe was made with banana flour, which is made by drying strips of the fruit, then grinding it to a powder. This process had long been used in the West Indies.
In Hawaii during World War I, a surplus of bananas resulted from very few ships available to export the fruit. To prevent waste, alternative uses for bananas were developed. For example, bakeries started incorporating the fruit into their bread.
This recipe was printed in The Maui News on April 12, 1918, for banana bread:
Yeast, coconut milk or water
There was also rationing of staple food items such as flour. Banana flour was a suggested substitute. It was touted as a health food and recommended for a vegetarian diet.
This, of course, is not the quick bread we know today. A recipe submitted by Mrs. Dean in the February 18, 1918, issue of The Garden Island paper for a banana muffin might more closely resemble the quick bread we think of today.
1 cup cornmeal
3-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 sifted banana
3/4 cup rye flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon Crisco
Mix dry ingredients, add banana, milk and egg and Crisco.
Quick Bread and Muffin
The difference between a quick bread and a muffin in baking has a lot to do with the type of fat and how it is mixed creating a different crumb or texture to the bread.
In 1927, Unifruit (a wholesale produce company) offered a free cookbook called From the Tropics to Your Table. The book offered recipes full of bananas as ingredients including banana muffins and breads. This little cookbook would have been handy during the Great Depression which was just around the corner. At the time, families utilized every scrap of food, including overripe bananas. They cooked overripe bananas, as well as other fruits and vegetables, into breads, stews and other dishes when flavor and texture were not as appealing raw.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalBananaBreadDay
Bake your favorite version of banana bread to celebrate. With so many varieties to try – banana nut, chocolate banana and more – you can make more than one! Invite someone to join you or give a loaf or two away. The celebration is just too good not to share! We like ours warm from the oven with butter!
Use #NationalBananaBreadDay to post on social media.
Ingredients2 lbs minced beef or chuck
1 medium yellow onion diced
1/2 medium bell pepper chopped
2 Roma tomatoes diced
Sour cream (we like Daisy in squeezeable application)
Chucky salsa (we like taco bell mild)
1 – 16oz fiesta blend shredded cheese
Guacamole if desired
1 lg bag Tostitos Scoops (you can use any kind of totilla chip you prefer these just make handy cups)
2 pkg McCormick Taco seaoningChopped jalapeno, black olives, melted cheese sauce, are optional.
You can make to many variations to list, including chicken, steak, salsa verde, lime, and anything else you can dream up. I make mine like our family taco night.Farberware 22001 Buena Cocina Deep Nonstick Frying Pan / Fry Pan / Skillet with Lid and Helper Handle – 12 Inch, Black. by Farberware
- In medium pan, brown ground meat.
- Drain excess fat
- Add 1/2 cup water and taco seasoning stirring well to coat meat.
- Continue over medium heat until water has evaporated.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Chop or dice vegetables as needed. I found a few great shortcuts if there is no one around to help. You can get shredded iceberg lettuce like the restaurants use in the produce section at your local Walmart. If I don’t have the time the also have pico de gallo instead of dicing onions and tomatoes yourself. They add cilantro and typically Serano peppers.
- Spread chips or cups on big tray.
- Evenly sprinkle with cooked, seasoned meat, vegetables, cheese and toppings as desired.
- Feeding a diverse crew? Set everything up and let them add their choices as they like them. This concept also works well for parties and game days too.
virgin or real margarita and maybe Tres Leche cake for dessert.
Recognized by the US National Confectioners Association, National Chocolate Mint Day is observed annually across the nation on February 19th. This holiday has been set aside for all the chocolate mint lovers to eat their favorite treats all day long.
The Aztecs and Mayans are given much credit for their ways with chocolate. And while chocolate was brought back to Europeans, they were not fond of the dark, bitter bean, so they used more for medicinal purposes.
As it was mostly consumed as a hot beverage, Europeans mixed mint, cinnamon and other spices to make it more palatable. Over time, they added sugar, and the combination of chocolate and mint became fashionable.
Fast forward to the mid-1800s when inventions and improvements in processes made it possible for confectioners to begin mass-producing chocolates. Even then, small candy shops served a local public. Advertisements for mint chocolates, or chocolate mints, did not start showing up in newspapers until the turn of the century.
The International Dairy Foods Association states that mint chocolate chip is the 10th most popular flavor of ice cream.
One of the earliest mass-producers of chocolate mints was Huyler’s in New York. Their chain of stores spread across the country.
We find mint chocolate in everything from ice cream to brownies, cookies and candies, liquors and sauces. Girl Scouts first sold Thin Mint cookies in 1953 and are still their most popular cookie. Mint chocolate is also the name of an herb with edible leaves that tastes like chocolate and mint.
HOW TO OBSERVE #ChocolateMintDay
Below is a favorite frosting recipe for chocolate cake. It looks great decorated with chocolate mint candies, a perfect way to celebrate National Chocolate Mint Day!
Mint Frosting for Chocolate Cake
1 package cream cheese (8 0z), softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon mint extract
Green food coloring
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in mint extract, 2 to 3 drops of green food coloring and 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar until mixed. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Store frosted cake in refrigerator.
Use #ChocolateMintDay to post on social media. Combine with National Vet Girls rock day, and give to as many female veterans as you can find.
While February 18 is observed annually as National Drink Wine Day, it would be a shame to celebrate only one day a year. Perhaps this day is just a reminder to drink wine.
Wine does have its benefits after all. Moderate drinkers of wine have lower risks of liver disease, type II diabetes, certain kinds of cancers, heart attack and stroke. It also can reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good (HDL).
Drinking wine includes other benefits as well. When paired with the right meal, it enhances the flavors of spices, fruits, and sauces. A glass of wine helps relax us. Learning about wine keeps our minds sharp, too. Since the fruits, regions and the making of wine have such a complex story, those who delve into find themselves traveling to learn more.
It can help if you’re an Outlander fan you’ve seen the season 5 premier. Maybe more than once, a glass of wine can help you cope with the wait till the next episode. If you find that the wine is not enough, Sam might suggest Sassanach Whiskey. I’m still trying to get it.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalDrinkWineDay
Since February 18th is also National Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day, may we suggest a fresh, fruity white wine pairing the celebrations together?
With so many wine varietals a wine tasting would be a perfect way to celebrate. Visit a vineyard or host one of your own. Raise a toast to your favorite wine and let us know which one it is.
Always drink responsibly and try a new wine. Use #NationalDrinkWineDay to post to social media.
Valentine’s Day began as St. Valentine’s Day, a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. February 14th first became associated with romantic love during the High Middle Ages as the tradition of courtly love was then flourishing. During 18th century England, this day evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery and sending Valentine cards.
Mixed opinions prevail regarding who or what was celebrated in mid-February. Some point to martyred saints by the name of Valentine or Valentinus. The most popular story tells of the saint who defied a decree by Emperor Claudius II who outlawed marriage for young men because he believed single men made better soldiers. St. Valentine, preferring young lovers to be wed than have them sneaking around (or believing in the power of love), would marry them in secret. However, it may have been another Valentine who performed the marriages. Either way, at least two of them were beheaded for their actions.
Another possible origin for Valentine’s Day takes us back to a pagan festival called Lupercalia. As a way to discourage participation in the fertility festival, the Christian church placed St. Valentine’s Day in the middle of February.
Since the Renaissance, we’ve been exchanging Valentine’s cards. These handmade missives of romance grew into a more commercial venture by the Victorian era. Today, school children exchange Valentine greetings, too. They prepare for the day by making unique boxes to receive their many hearts, cupids, and pun-filled rhymes.
Chocolates and candy have also become a part of the celebration. While couples tend to be the focus of the day, singles celebrate being single, too. Friends take each other out or reject the overall notion of Valentine’s Day. Dinner and a movie, candlelight, and flowers also fit the bill for couples. It’s one of the busiest days of the year for florists.
HOW TO OBSERVE #ValentinesDay
You can surprise your special someone with flowers, chocolate or a card. Bring a smile to their face with an original poem or homemade meal.
Get Recipes that will impress without spending days in the kitchen. Many can be done at the last minute if needed.
Get something special for your Valentine and use #ValentinesDay to post on social media.International Book Giving Day
VALENTINE’S DAY HISTORY
Credit is traditionally given to Pope Gelasius for declaring February 14th as Saint Valentine’s Day around the year 496 to separate the church from the Roman celebration of Lupercalia, an ancient pagan fertility festival which occurred on February 15th.
On February 10, National Cream Cheese Brownie Day shines a spotlight on an irresistible dessert bar. Combining chocolate and cream cheese has long been a favorite in the bakery. When it’s added to a brownie recipe the results are spectacular.
The brownie has been around since the 1800s but was first documented in 1906 in The Boston Cooking School Cook Book. There are hundreds of cream cheese brownie recipes. However, we also enjoy them cut up into parfaits or mixed into ice cream. Add a dollop of whipped cream, berries or a sprinkle of nuts and fruit and they become a decadent dessert in their own right.
Adding cream to the batter once it’s poured into the pan and swirling it around with a knife gives the finished product an elegant look. It even suggests a celebration when you look at it! No matter how you enjoy cream cheese brownies, we are sure that you will find one that you like.
HOW TO OBSERVE #CreamCheeseBrownieDay
Maybe you would like to bake a pan of these delicious brownies and share them with your family and friends! Enjoy my fun easy recipe. If you missed these Easy Loaded Brownies this recipe is great the whole year through.
Use #CreamCheeseBrownieDay to post on social media.
National Pizza Day is observed annually on February 9th. This year it happens to fall on the weekend. A Sunday as it happens.
Whether it is thin crust, Chicago-style, deep dish or anything in between, pizza is an American favorite.
Here are some interesting facts about pizza:
- Pepperoni is the most popular pizza at 36% of all pies ordered.
- Over 3 billion pizzas are sold in the USA each year. Add another 1 billion on frozen pizzas
- 17% of all US Restaurants are pizzerias.
- Antica Pizzeria, the first Pizzeria, opened in Naples, Italy, in 1738.
- Gennaro Lombardi, the first Pizzeria in the United States, opened in 1895 in New York City.
- Americans consume on average 23 pounds of pizza per person each year.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Throw a pizza party and give the following recipes a try:
Mom’s Homemade Pizza with fun memories
Use #NationalPizzaDay to post on social media.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalPizzaDay
Your Very Special Offers:
- Blaze Pizza – Two Pepperoni Pizzas for $10 with online orders.
- CiCi’s – With coupon, carry out three one-topping pizzas @ $5 each.
- Marco’s Pizza – Feb. 9, 2020, only, free medium cheese pizza with the purchase of any large pizza. Use promo code BOGOCHZ.
- Round Table Pizza – Get their bounce-back coupon to celebrate with one free personal cheese or 1-topping pizza with any dine-in purchases. Limit one per order. See the website for more details.
- Einstein Bro. – Offering 2 slices for $3 from February 3-9th.
- Patxi’s Pizza – Buy one get any 10-inch specialty thin crust for $9.
- Caulipower – This offers you a unique way to give the gift of pizza to friends or family who’re expecting on National Pizza Day. Visit BornOnPizzaDay.com to send a year’s supply of Caulipower pizza to the lucky family.
- Slice of The Burg – offering buy any 18″ pizza get a 14″ 2 regular topping pizza for $5 all day on Feb 9, 2020.