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.
On February 7th, National Fettuccine Alfredo Day celebrates one of the world’s favorite ways to enjoy a plate of fettuccine.
Fettuccine alfredo enjoys a history as rich as its flavor. Created in 1908, fettuccine was made out of love and concern by an Italian restauranteur. Alfredo di Lelio’s concern for his pregnant wife’s lack of appetite caused him to put his talents to work. The birth of their first son depended on it. His recipe of noodles, cheese, and butter not only encouraged her to eat but she also inspired him to put it on the menu, too. Since then, the century-old dish has been satisfying pasta lovers around the world ever since.
Not only that but fettuccine alfredo lovers experiment with the dish in several ways. Add shrimp, mushrooms or spinach. The meal also pairs well with other vegetables and proteins, too. Cut the richness with a white wine and finish with a fruit dessert.
HOW TO OBSERVE #FettuccineAlfredoDay
Celebrate with a big dish of fettuccine Alfredo! Invite friends and family to join you, too. As you know, it’s not a celebration if you don’t. Make it yourself (see recipe below). Or, go to your favorite Italian restaurant. When you do, be sure to give them a shout out.
Jen’s Easy 1- Pan, Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo Caprese
While you’re celebrating, share your photos, recipes, and more using #FettuccineAlfredoDay to post on social media.
Want extra points? Surprise her with this dinner for Valentine’s Day. Just add a decadent dessert and you have a gift she will definitely remember. You get extra points for cooking for her!
NATIONAL FETTUCCINE ALFREDO DAY HISTORY
The earliest printed record of the observance we’ve found is a January 26, 2005, Akron Beacon Journal article listing upcoming February food holidays. Several newspapers across the nation follow suit, including the list in their food pages. But, none of them included their source or how long the day has been celebrated. However, the grandson of Alfredo Di Lelio contacted National Day Calendar in 2015 to provide the history behind the delicious pasta dish. We provide his letter below.
From Ines Di Lelio, grandson of Alfredo di Lelio
The following is the History of Alfredo di Lelio, who created in 1908 “Fettuccine All ‘Alfredo” (Fettuccine Alfredo). It’s now served by his nephew Ines Di Lelio, at the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo” – “Alfredo Di Roma” in Rome, Piazza Augusto Imperatore 30.
“With reference of your article (for which I thank you), I have the pleasure to tell you the history of my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of ‘Fettuccine all’Alfredo’ (‘Fettuccine Alfredo’) in 1908 in the ‘trattoria’ run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi).
This ‘trattoria’ of Piazza Rosa has become the ‘birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo’. More specifically, as is well known to many people who love the ‘fettuccine all’Alfredo’, this famous dish in the world was invented by Alfredo Di Lelio concerned about the lack of appetite of his wife Ines, who was pregnant with my father Armando (born February 26, 1908). Alfredo di Lelio opened his restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome and in 1943, during the war, he sold the restaurant to others outside his family.”
Staying in the Family
“In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 ‘Il Vero Alfredo’ (‘Alfredo di Roma’), whose fame in the world has been strengthened by his nephew Alfredo and that now managed by me, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality). See also the website of ‘Il Vero Alfredo’.(with news also about franchising).
I celebrate every year (as this year) in my restaurant (founded by my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio) the USA Holiday of. fettuccine all’Alfredo (February 7). I must clarify that other restaurants “Alfredo” in Rome do not belong to the family tradition of ‘Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma’ and I inform you that the restaurant ‘Il Vero Alfredo –Alfredo di Roma’ is in the registry of ‘Historic Shops of Excellence’ of the City of Rome Capitale.
Best regards Ines Di Lelio”
While these do take a bit of work, you will be rewarded with each bite of these delicious Wellingtons. I usually do these as a labor of love on special occasions like New Year’s Eve or an Anniversary. They also work well for a special dinner for 2. Just add candlelight, and a salad. A great pairing is my Winter Arugula Pear Salad. It makes for a really good dinning experience. Add a decadent desert and anyone dinning will be very impressed. See Loaded Brownie recipe.
- 3 packages frozen puff pastry, Pepperidge Farm brand
- Flour for rolling
- 2 eggs Whisked with 2 Tbsp water
- 1 – 8oz pkg Baby Bellas chopped
- 6 Tbs. olive oil; more for cooking
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1/2 tsp. Rosemary
- Salt and Black pepper to taste
- 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 medium onions thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- Salt and Black pepper
Spinach and Blue Cheese
- 2 – 10oz pkg fresh spinach blanched
- Pinch Black pepper (optional)
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- Crumbled Blue cheese about 6 oz
For the Steaks
- 4 – 7oz Ribeye or Eye of Round steaks
- Salt and Black pepper
- About 4 Tbsp butter, more as needed
- Roll out and cut the pastry—Roll out each pastry sheets to about 3/16-inch thick, with a sharp knife, cut out a 9-inch round. From the scraps, cut out leaves or other shapes to use as decoration. Layer the pastry rounds (and the decorations) between pieces of waxed paper or parchment, lay on baking sheet and store in freezer until ready to assemble.
- Cook the mushrooms—In a bowl, toss the chopped Baby Bellas with olive oil, garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours overnight is better. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add a thin film of oil, and sear mushrooms until they’ve softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to paper towels. When cool, set aside till ready to use.
- Caramelize the onions— Melt butter, add the onions, cooking over medium heat, slowly, stirring occasionally, until well browned, and soft, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the pan is dry. Set aside to cool. Put the cooled onions in a bowl; cover and refrigerate.
- Prepare the spinach and cheese
- Wash spinach well and remove any stems. Prepare an ice-water bath. Put half of the spinach in a large sauté pan with a touch of water, and 1 Tbs. of the butter. Cook over medium-high heat, until justbwilted and immediately put it in the water bath to shock the color and stop the cooking. Scoop it from the ice water and put it in a colander to drain. Squeeze the spinach, in a clean kitchen towel, as much as you can and set it aside on paper towels to continue draining. Repeat with the remaining spinach. Cover with plastic and refrigerate. Stir in blue cheese, salt and Black pepper.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Sear Steaks—Season each portion of meat with salt and pepper. Rub the seasoning into the meat to keep it in place. Add butter and dash of olive oil to a heavy sauté pan. Sear the steaks over high heat for 2 minutes on each side until brown and crisp on the outside. Be sure your pan is very hot for searing the meat. Do not overcook it, or crowd the pan. It will cause the meat to steam instead of sear. (Check the sides to be sure the filets are still red in the middle.) Work in batches if needed. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 24 hours.
Searing the steaks makes for a nice crust but a still-red center—once wrapped in pastry and baked, they’ll cook to medium rare.
Some Assembly Required
- Arrange your mushrooms, onions, spinach, and steaks within easy reach. Divide mushrooms, onions into four portions. Spinach into 8 portions.
- Make sure the caramelized onions are well drained (they tend to collect liquid as they sit).
- Cover a large rimmed baking sheet (that fits in your freezer) with kitchen parchment or silicon baking mat.
- Have a ruler, a small sharp knife, a pastry brush, and the egg wash on hand. Lightly flour one area to lay pastry, (the cooler the area the better).
- Pull a pastry round from the freezer and lay on the floured surface. Working quickly lightly score a 4×3-inch rectangle in the center of the round; don’t cut through the pastry. Extend the lines of the rectangle and cut out the corners of the round created by the line extensions, leaving a cross of pastry with a 4×3-inch center.
Cut a cross shape out of the pastry round. Save the scraps to cut out decorations.
- Spread Spinach in thin layer on the rectangle of pastry. Follow with a layer of onions, the steak, a layer of mushrooms and second layer of spinach. Spread each layer as evenly as possible. Brush a light coating of the egg wash on each of the four panels of dough.
- Check to be sure that the pastry is now pliable enough to fold without breaking (wait a minute or two if necessary). Fold up the longer sides first and then the end Fold each side panel onto the top, stretching the dough a bit if necessary to make the ends meet, or slightly overlapping if necessary. Follow suit with the top and bottom panels. Seal the panels together by pressing in the top panel where it meets the bottom panel and by pinching each of the four sides together where the panels meet. It’s important that pastry iswell sealed so the juices don’t leak out.
- Hold upright in your hands, securing all the seals and smoothing any rough spots to make the package into a neat, rounded block. Set it seam side down and gently press the top and sides to make them as even all the way around as possible. Brush the top and all sides with egg wash. If desired puut decorations on top and brush with egg wash. Set the Wellingtons on the lined baking sheet. Set in freezer to set and chill the pastry. Repeat with the 5 remaining Wellingtons, adding each to the pan in the freezer as you go. Allow 1 hour in freezer.
Cook the Wellingtons:
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Make another egg wash. Remove the Wellingtons from the freezer (do not thaw) and brush them with a fresh coat of egg wash. Cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and cook another 35 to 40 minutes. Set them aside to rest for no longer than 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
On December 30th each year, bacon lovers celebrate one of nature’s favored gifts on Bacon Day!
Everything is better with bacon. Someone said that once. And our research shows very little to dispute this assertion.
In the United States and Canada, bacon is made from the pork belly. Elsewhere in the world, the side and back cuts of pork are used. The meat is cured in either a salt brine or in a salt pack. It is then either dried, boiled, or smoked.
Bacon is a very popular food in the USA. You can find many items also flavored or scented with bacon, including popcorn, soap, candles, air fresheners, and much more. While these uses are options, we suggest cooking with bacon.
It’s not just for breakfast anymore, either. Bacon improves everything from beverages to dessert. Some cocktails such as the Bloody Mary and Caesar add bacon to the olives, pickles, and other assorted ingredients. Bacon improves the flavor of many appetizers, sandwiches, and soups. Incorporate bacon into salads as a topping or mix it into the dressing. When it comes to dessert, bacon pairs well with maple frosting or maple ice cream. Thanks to the salty, smoky flavor of bacon, it compliments sweet quite well. The possibilities are endless.
Bacon is both Keto and blood sugar friendly. Turkey bacon is also a good alternative. My favorite is leaf lettuce used as a wrap. Add Miracle Whip, tomatoes, and two strips of extra cripy bacon for a great tasting BLT without the carbs from bread. Two of these tucked into your lunch box with some cheese sticks and some blueberries makes for a great lunch that will give you plenty of energy till dinner without the 3:00 sleepies.
HOW TO OBSERVE #BaconDay
According to the founders of Bacon Day, we are encouraged to eat a variety of bacon while watching Kevin Bacon movies, or movies with bacon in the title. Since Bacon Day was created before the Discovery Channel show How It’s Made debuted, it’s safe to say, we can eat our bacon and watch those, too. Giving and receiving gifts of bacon is also recommended. Other suggested traditions such as bacon toasts and kissing under pork fat mistletoe are mentioned as well. Use #BaconDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL BACON DAY HISTORY
Danya “D” Goodman and Meff “Human Cannonball” Leonard founded Bacon Day in 1997 as the one great day to bond everyone together.
Are you familiar with the saying “common sense is not that common”? Celebrate this rarely used quality on November 4, Common Sense Day.
My favorite saying is
Common sense is a flower that does not grow in everyone’s garden.
As you watch the news, surf the internet, or simply read the latest Google headlines, I’m sure most if us have shook our heads, laughed, or the phrase “Really” a utured out loud. Common sense has become both more talked about and something becoming more lacking in encounters every day.
Growing up this skill was taught along with lots of practical skills for life. Our parents taught us about real world living do we could grow and mature into responsible adults. Today the news is filled with stunning examples where for some reason this was missed. Is it because we’ve become more focused on technology? I’d like to think no, however the wealth of young adults lacking these skills that are entering the world should give serious reservations about humanities future.
While this is meant to be a fun holiday, recognize that these skills are being lost at an alarming rate. Have you ever worked with someone who threw away an article of clothing because it’s missing a button? I have.
The date coincides with the birth date of actor Will Rogers who was thought to have coined this phrase.
How to Celebrate?
- Well, what can we say? Use your common sense to celebrate this unofficial holiday.
Most important try to teach it to those around you. They may not say it today, but their future selves will likely thank you for it.
With the fall season change, we get cooler temperatures and football. We also get cold and flu season. At some point in your life, I’ll bet you’ve heard chicken soup is the popular choice when a cold or flu comes home with you. Turns out there are health benefits to this comfort food that can help you recover. I recommend making your own and stocking it in the freezer. As my husband is both diabetic and on a low salt diet, it’s easier to control the ingredients. It’s great on a just a winter evening or battling a bug. So here is my favorite recipe.AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven, 6-Quart, Blue
Homemade Chicken Soup
2-3 lbs chicken breasts or thighs
2 tsp olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
3 tsp grated ginger
1 medium onion diced
1 cup diced fresh carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.
2 cups uncooked egg noodles (use low carb options here if prefer)
Optional ingredients are 1 cup mushrooms, 16 oz fresh spinach, 2 cleaned and chopped leeks, 2 tsp turmeric, and 16 oz white beans. I only add some or all if making a more hearty main dish. Stick with less if using for cold and flu.
- Cut chicken into 1/2 inch cubes. In a Dutch oven add 2 tsp olive oil and chopped chicken.
- Cook over medium-high heat until chicken is seared. (I like mine golden color for flavor).
- Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Reduce heat to medium.
- Add carrots, Italian seasoning, celery, and both black pepper and red pepper flakes if desired.
- Cook about 10 minutes stirring frequently.
- Add chicken broth. Reduce heat to low and cover.
- Simmer on low heat for about 30 – 45 minutes until carrots are tender.
- Add cooked pasta. Cover. Let simmer 10 minutes.
NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE DAY
National Chocolate Cupcake Day on October 18th annually celebrates the sweetness of small chocolate cakes. With a dollop of frosting, one sweet serving satisfying chocolate and dessert lovers!
Cupcakes have also been known to be called:
- Fairy Cakes
- Patty Cakes
- Cup Cakes (different from Cupcakes (one-word))
Cupcakes can be traced back to 1796 when a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups” was written in American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons. The earliest known documentation of the term cupcake was in 1828 in Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats in Eliza Leslie’s Receipts cookbook.
Bakers initially baked their cupcakes in heavy pottery cups. Today, some still use individual ramekins, small coffee mugs, large teacups, or other small ovenproof pottery-type dishes for baking their cupcakes.
Chocolate cupcakes come in a variety of flavors, too. Of course, there’s always the standard chocolate cupcake. But why stop there on a holiday?
- Chocolate caramel cupcakes satisfy that extra cry for sweetness.
- Peanut butter chocolate cupcakes are the snackers delight.
- Get devilishly good cupcakes with Devil’s Food.
- Cool things off a bit with chocolate mint recipes, too.
- And you can’t forget chocolate orange cupcakes. Citrus brightens the flavor of any chocolate recipe.
HOW TO OBSERVE #ChocolateCupcakeDay
Celebrate by trying one of the following tempting recipes while watching an episode of the Food Network reality-based competition show, Cupcake Wars. Remember to invite friends or family over to share. That’s how we like to #CelebrateEveryDay!
Use #ChocolateCupcakeDay to post on social media.