National Barbecue Day – May 16, 2017

5 Fun Facts about BBQ from Foodimentary.com

LBJ and Hubery H. Humphrey, Victory Barbecue, 11/4/1964, by Hulton Archive, with permission of Getty Images.

President Lyndon Johnson and Humbert H. Humphrey celebrate the election results at the Victory Barbecue November 4 in 1964. Photo by Getty Images©

  • Grilling is no longer considered a male dominated activity. While 51 percent of males cha-cha with the charcoal, 49 percent of women flamenco with the flames.
  • 263,000 moist towelettes will wipe up BBQ sauce covering fingers and faces.
  • The most common ingredient added to barbecue sauce is garlic, followed by brown sugar.
  • The original barbecue sauce, dating back hundreds of years, consisted of vinegar and pepper.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, hosted the first barbecue at the White House that featured Texas-style barbecued ribs.

LYNDON JOHNSON’S FAVORITE BARBEQUE SAUCE

  • 1/4 c. butter or margarine
  • 1/4 c. cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c. ketchup
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 t. Tabasco sauce

 

Directions:

  1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. If baking chicken, pour over the chicken pieces in a foil lined pan.
  3. Bake, uncovered at 350° for 1 hour, basting occasionally. This is enough sauce to cover 6 large pieces of chicken. If baking more, this recipe can be doubled or tripled.
  4. Refrigerate leftover sauce.

 

Find Walter “The Barbecue King” Jetton’s recipe here.  He was instrumental in making LBJ’s barbecue events successful.

National Orange Juice Day – May 4

orange juice and orangesIt may come as no surprise that orange juice is the official beverage of Florida, USA.  Florida, the Sunshine State, is one of the top 3 orange juice producers in the world.  As of the year 2000, the other two being Mexico and Brazil.

About 90% of the Florida orange crop is used to make orange juice.

The process for making frozen concentrated orange juice was developed at the Florida Department of Citrus in 1945.  The Department gave the patent to the U.S. Government in hopes to advance the frozen food industry through the country.

According to Food Reference.com, here is some Orange Trivia:orange

  • There are 3,236  people in the U.S. listed on whitepages.com with the last name ‘Orange’ (Mark Morton, ‘Gastronomica’, Fall 2010)
  • The official state Flower of Florida is the Orange Blossom (1909) and the official state Fruit is the Orange (2005).
  • Florida produces about 70% of the total U.S. crop, and 90% of its production goes to make juice.  CDC.gov – 5 a Day
  • The orange is technically a hesperidum, a type of berry.
  • The orange was the first fresh fruit to bear a trademark. In 1919 the California Fruit Growers Exchange burned ‘Sunkist’ on their oranges.
  • In Queen Victoria’s day, oranges were given as Christmas gifts in England.
  • Almost 40% of the orange crop in the U.S. goes to make frozen concentrate.
  • Brazil produces more oranges than any other country.
  • A popular demonstration at the 1922 Los Angeles County Fair was how to make toothpaste from orange by-products.
  • Oranges were introduced to Hawaii in 1792.
  • The most valuable fruit crops in the United States are in order, grapes, apples, oranges and strawberries (2000).

 

Here’s more trivia from Science Kids:

  • The orange is a citrus fruit and is a hybrid of the pomelo and mandarin.

  • Oranges have been grown since ancient times and originated in Southeast Asia.

  • As of 2010, Brazil grows one third of all the world’s oranges.

  • California and Florida are large producers of oranges in the US.

  • Around 85% of all oranges produced are used for juice.

  • Marmalade is orange jam.

    Marmalade

  • Oranges have a high amount of vitamin C.

  • Oranges are domesticated so you are unlikely to find them growing naturally in the wild.

  • Because oranges do not spoil easily and are full of vitamin C during the years of world exploration sailors planted orange and other citrus trees along trade routes to prevent scurvy which is a disease that develops from a deficiency of vitamin C.

  • It is believed that Christopher Columbus was the first to bring orange seeds to America during his second voyage to the region in 1493.

  • There are now over 600 varieties of oranges worldwide.

  • There are typically ten segments inside an orange.

  • Ideal conditions for growing oranges are in sub-tropical areas that have good amounts of sunshine yet moderate to warm temperatures (15.5°C – 29°C (60°F – 84 °F).

  • Orange peel can be used by gardeners to sprinkle over vegetables as a slug repellent.

  • The white orange blossom, is the state flower of Florida. It is highly fragrant and has long been used in weddings as cake decoration, in bridal bouquets and in head wreaths. The blossom essence is an important component in the making of perfume and the petals can also be made into “orange blossom/flower water”.

Hot Cross Buns

According to Wikipedia.org, “Hot Cross Buns” is an English language nursery rhyme, Easter song and street cry referring to the spiced English bun associated with Good Friday known as a Hot Cross Bun. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 13029.

 

Lyrics:

The most common modern version is:

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
one a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters,
give them to your sons.
One a penny two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

 

Origins
The earliest record of the rhyme is in Christmas Box, published in London in 1798. However, there are earlier references to the rhyme as a street cry in London, for example in Poor Robin’s Almanack for 1733, which noted:

Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs
With one or two a penny hot cross buns

 

Below is a recipe from Pioneer Woman by Ree

Ingredients:  

BUNS:

  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 package (2 1/4 Teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup (additional) Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Spices: Cardamom, Nutmeg, Allspice (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Raisins

GLAZE:

  • 1 whole Egg White
  • Splash Of Milk

ICING:

  • 1 whole Egg White
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Splash Of Milk

 

Directions:

BUNS:

  1. Combine 2 cups milk, canola oil, and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan. Stir and heat until very warm but not boiling. Turn off the heat and allow to cool until mixture is still warm, but not hot–about 30 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle yeast over mixture. Add 4 cups of flour and stir to combine. Mixture will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and set aside for 1 hour.
  3. Add 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir till combined.
  4. Combine 1/4 cup sugar with cinnamon and whatever other spices you want to use.
  5. Lightly flour surface. Press to slightly flatten dough. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle on about a third of the raisins. Then fold the dough over on itself and flatten again so the dough is “plain” again. Repeat the sugar/raisin process, then fold the dough again. Repeat a third time until all the raisins are used. (You won’t use all the sugar/cinnamon mixture.)
  6. Pinch off ping pong or golf ball-size bunches of dough. With floured hands, quickly roll it into a ball, then turn the edges under themselves slightly. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 30 minutes…an hour-plus is better.
  7. PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 degrees

GLAZE

  1. Mix 1 egg white with a splash of milk. Brush onto each roll.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes, give or take, or until tops of buns have turned nice and golden brown.
  3. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

ICING

  1. Mix 1 egg white with enough powdered sugar for icing to be very thick. Splash in milk as needed for consistency.
  2. Add icing to a small Ziploc bag and snip the corner. Make icing crosses on each roll, making sure they’re completely cooled first.

Year of the Rooster – Chinese New Year 2017 – Jan. 28, 2017

The Year of the Rooster will begin on January 28, 2017.

Celebrations will begin on January 27, New Year’s Eve, and typically last around two weeks, making this the longest holiday in the Chinese calendar.

This year the festivities are set to end on February 2.

 

The Chinese calendar attaches different animals from the zodiac to each lunar year in a cycle of 12 years.

This year is the Year of the Rooster.

Roosters are the tenth sign in the zodiac and are seen as confident, honest and hardworking. They also enjoy being around people but can be seen as attention seekers.

But for people born in a rooster year – 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005 – it is set to be an unlucky time because tradition denotes that the year of your birth makes for an unlucky 12 months.

Red decorations and lanterns are commonplace during Chinese New Yer celebrations.

Red decorations and lanterns are commonplace during New year celebrations.(Photo by The Mirror.)

How is Chinese New Year celebrated?

Chinese New Year is celebrated with the ringing of bells, the lighting of firecrackers and watching traditional lion dances.

In China New Year’s Eve is seen as an important date, with families gathering together for a reunion dinner. Firecrackers are then let off to signal the end of last year and the beginning of next.

On New Year’s Day, families gather, clean their houses and sweep away bad-fortune.

Red envelopes stuffed with “lucky money” are given to children, along with written wishes for their kids to grow up healthy.

However Chinese New Year has also been touched by the digital age, with red envelope apps – where people can exchange cyber money – being launched.

People also decorate their houses with red paper cutouts, banners and special New Year paintings during the festive period. This year is also likely to see Rooster themed decorations.

National Bird Day – January 5th

Why National Bird Day?

  • The beauty, songs, and flight of birds have long been sources of human inspiration.
  • Today, nearly 12 percent of the world’s 9,800 bird species may face extinction within the next century, including nearly one-third of the world’s 330 parrot species.
  • Birds are sentinel species whose plight serves as barometer of ecosystem health and alert system for detecting global environmental ills.
  • Many of the world’s parrots and songbirds are threatened with extinction due to pressures from the illegal pet trade, disease, and habitat loss.
  • Public awareness and education about the physical and behavioral needs of birds can go far in improving the welfare of the millions of birds kept in captivity.
  • The survival and well-being of the world’s birds depends upon public education and support for conservation.

 

Bird Brain Trivia

Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is one of the smallest hummingbird species. (Photo by Hummingbirds Plus)

  1. What is the only bird that can fly backwards?  Answer: Hummingbird
  2. What is the average life span of a robin? Answer: 12 Years
  3. What is a group of owls called? Answer: Parliament
  4. What is a group of geese called? Answer: Gaggle
  5. How many eggs will the average hen lay a year? Answer: 227 eggs
  6. How much water can the pouch of a pelican carry?  Answer: 12 Gallons
  7. How long does it take to hard boil an ostrich egg? Answer: 40 minutes
  8. What is the maximum speed of a chicken? Answer: 9 miles per hour

 

 

 

 

A To-Do Activity:

Cheerios® Birdfeeders: To make each feeder, string Cheerios® onto a large pipe cleaner, leaving about an inch from the top. Hang the bird feeders on the trees outside.

Here’s another Cheerios® bird feeder recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Sharpened pencil
  • Sugar ice cream cone
  • Pipe cleaner (chenille stem)
  • Table knife
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Cheerios™ cereal
  • Birdseed

 

Directions:

  1. Use the pencil to poke a hole in the pointed end of the ice cream cone.
  2. Twist a knot in the end of the pipe cleaner. Thread the pipe cleaner into the ice cream cone and out the hole (the knot will hold the pipe cleaner in place).
  3. Use the table knife to spread the peanut butter on the outside of the cone. Press the cereal all over the peanut butter to cover the cone. Sprinkle the birdseed over the cone, pressing it into the peanut butter with your fingers.

 

For something unconventional to feed birds this winter, read this article from Bird Watcher’s Digest on the Top 10 Weird Things to Feed Birds by Bill Thompson, III.  Grape jelly and eggshells are among the list.

 

For the Birds – Joke

 

Parrot and Rottweiler

Introduce other pets to your Rottweiler early. Click here for ASPCA tips on how to prevent and solve Common Dog Behavior Issues.  (Photo by Rottweiler – Best Guardian Dog)

Mrs. Smith’s dishwasher quit working, so she called a repairman.  He couldn’t accommodate her with an evening appointment and since she had to go to work the next day, she told him, “I’ll leave the key under the mat.  Fix the dishwasher and leave the bill.  I will bring a check by for you later.”

“Oh and by the way,” she added, “Don’t worry about my dog.  He won’t bother you.  But, whatever you do, under NO circumstances, don’t talk to my parrot!”

When the repairman arrived the next day, he discovered the biggest and meanest looking Rottweiler he had ever seen.  But, as she said, the dog just lay there, watching him go about his business.

However, the parrot drove him crazy with his ceaseless squawking and talking.  Finally unable to contain himself he shouted, “Shut up, you stupid bird!”

The parrot replied, “Sic ’em, Rocky!

(joke copyrighted by Creative Forecasting, Inc., February 2008)

 

 

National Trivia Day – Jan. 4

No trivia is too trivial.  Beat the winter of the doldrums and pull out the trivia board game for a round or two.

Mental Floss offers 54 Fantastic Facts for National Trivia Day.  Here’s a few below:

  • Some cats are allergic to humans.

    Cat sneezing

    Don’t ignore your cat’s sneezing and watery eyes. Find relief for your feline friend by visiting your local veterinarian.

  • If your dog’s feet smell like corn chips, you’re not alone. The term “Frito Feet” was coined to describe the scent.
  • Ingesting uncooked rice will NOT make a bird explode.
  • Forty is the only number whose letters are in alphabetical order.
  • The sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel is 666.

 

Robert L. Franklin gives us 33 more facts for National Trivia Day.  Here’s a sample below:

  • Due to the placement of the voice box, human’s are biologically incapable of breathing and swallowing at the same time
  • Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn.
  • When written, the word “almost” is the longest word in the English language that has all of its letters in alphabetical order.
  • he last execution by guillotine conducted in France was on September 10, 1977. For comparison, Star Wars: A New Hope was released in theaters four months prior.
  • You are three times more likely to get a computer virus from a religious website than you are a pornographic one.
Betty White

Actress Betty White is older than sliced bread. Pre-sliced bread was not a thing until 1928, while Betty White was born in 1922.

 

  • On January 5, 1920, The Boston Red Sox sold the contract for pitcher George Herman to the New York Yankees for $125,000. You may know George Herman as “Babe Ruth.

Halloween Trivia

Trick or treating comes from the Middle-Age practice of the poor dressing up in costumes and going around door to door during Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for prayers. The food given was often a Soul Cake, which was a small round cake which represented a soul being freed from Purgatory when the cake was eaten.

The tradition of adding pranks into the Halloween mix started to turn ugly in the 1930’s and a movement began to substitute practical jokes for kids going door to door collecting candy.

Happy Halloween

Trick or Treat!

  • Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with Fall.  The color black is associated with darkness and death.
  • Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States.
  • Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers as Number 1.
  • Candy corn was first made in the 1880s, and it was only more March through November.
  • Over 93% of children will go trick-or-treating. Approximately 84% of trick-or-treaters say candy and gum are their favorites with chocolate candy preferred by 50% and non-chocolate by 24%.
  • Kids’ least favorite items to get in their trick-or-treat bags are fruit and salty snacks like chips and pretzels.
  • Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.
  • Candy corn was invented in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Wunderies Candy Company.
    National Candy Corn Day is on October 30th.
  • There are 25 colors of M&Ms, the most popular candy sold in the U.S.
  • It takes an average of 252 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.
  • San  Francisco is the number one U.S. city for trick-or-treating
  • In 1955, UNICEF (United Nations Children Fund) for Halloween program began.  The original idea started in 1950 in Philadelphia, when a Sunday School class had the idea of collecting money for needy children when trick-or-treating.  They sent the money they made, about $17, to UNICEF which was inspired by the idea and started a trick-or-treat program in 1955.
  • A study from the National Retail Federation shows Americans spent over $300 million on pet costumes last year!

Halloween is also know by other names:

All Hallows Eve
Samhain
All Hallowtide
The Feast of the Dead
The Day of the Dead

  • The tradition of bobbing for apples originated from the Roman harvest festival that honors Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees.
  • Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.
  • Pumpkins also come in white, blue and green.
  • There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with orange, the color of pumpkin.
  • The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.
  • Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.
  • Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first.
  • Halloween also is recognized as the 3rd biggest party day after New Year’s and Super Bowl Sunday.
  • The fear of Halloween is known as Samhainopobia.

Monster Trivia & Folklore

  • Signs of a werewolf are a unibrow, hair palms, tattoos, and a long middle finger.Werewolf in the light of a full moon
  • Vampires are mythical beings who defy death by sucking the blood of humans.
  • In 1962, The Count Dracula Society was founded by Dr. Donald A. Reed.
  • Dracula means “Devil’s son.”  Bram Stoker’s creation “Dracula” was based on the life of Prince Vlad Tepes (1431-1476). He was also called Vlad the Impaler since he had a bad habit of impaling his victims on stakes. The name “Dracula” is Romanian for Devil’s Son.  Vlad Draculas father was a knight of the Order of the Draco (or dragon), so Dracula also translates as “the son of Draco.”
  • To this day, there are vampire clubs and societies with people claiming to be real vampires.
  • There really are so-called vampire bats, but they’re not from Transylvania. They live in Central and South America and feed on the blood of cattle, horses and birds.
  • According to legend, you can kill a vampire by cremate it, pound a stake through its heart or bury it at a crossroads.  Sunlight is also said to kill them. Different countries have different ideas of how to destroy vampires.  Garlic and crosses only keep vampires away.
  • Allegedly, “Revenge falls upon whoever opens the coffin of a mummy.”
  • The country most associated with mummies is Egypt.
  • Zombies often wear chains for they are slaves; slaves of their evil masters who have brought them to life using magic.
  • Two areas of the world particularly associated with the zombie myth are Africa and Haiti, a country on the island of Hispaniola.
  • Many people still believe that gargoyles were created by medieval architects and stone carvers to ward off evil spirits.

Witches

  • The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.
  • In the Middle Ages, many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into cats.
  • Black cats were once believed to be witch’s familiars who protected their powers.

Creepy Tidbits

  • If you see a spider on Halloween, it is the spirit of a loved on watching over you.
  • Worldwide, bats are vital natural enemies of night-flying insects.
  • The common little brown bat of North America has the longest life span for a mammal it’s size, with a life span averaging 32 years.
  • In about 1 in 4 autopsies, a major disease is discovered that was previously undetected.
  • In Medieval times, a spider was rolled in butter and used as a cure for diseases such as leprosy and the plague.
  • The famous magician, Harry Houdini, died on Halloween, 1926 in Detroit, MI.

The next full moon on Halloween night will be October 31, 2020.

haunted house, owl, spider and jack-o-lanterns

Happy Hallowe’en!

The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die.

Halloween is Oct. 31 – the last day of the Celtic calendar. It actually was a pagan holiday honoring the dead.

Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.

Halloween is correctly spelt as Hallowe’en.

Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations in the world, dating back over 2000 years to the time of the Celts who lived in Britain.

According to Irish legend, Jack O’Lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance into both heaven and hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths.

Halloween was originally a Celtic holiday celebrated on October 31.

Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.

Obsolete Rituals focused on the Future and Love

But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today’s trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead. In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday—with luck, by next Halloween—be married.

  • In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.
  • In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl’s future husband. (In some versions of this legend, confusingly, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.)
  • Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night she would dream about her future husband.
  • Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands’ faces.
  • Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.
  • Bobbying for apples is a fertility rite, or a marriage divination and dates back to the Celtics. Unmarried people would try to bite into an apple floating in water or hanging from a string. The first person to bite into the apple would be the next one to marry.

bobbing for applesPumpkin Facts

  • Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini. These plants are native to Central America and Mexico, but now grow on six continents.
  • The largest pumpkin pie ever baked was in 2005 and weighed 2,020 pounds.
  • Pumpkins have been grown in North America for five thousand years. They are indigenous to the western hemisphere.
  • In 1584, after French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence region of North America, he reported finding “gros melons.” The name was translated into English as “pompions,” which has since evolved into the modern “pumpkin.”
  • Pumpkins are low in calories, fat, and sodium and high in fiber. They are good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein, and iron.
  • The heaviest pumpkin weighed 1,810 lb 8 oz and was presented by Chris Stevens at the Stillwater Harvest Fest in Stillwater, Minnesota, in October 2010.
  • Pumpkin seeds should be planted between the last week of May and the middle of June. They take between 90 and 120 days to grow and are picked in October when they are bright orange in color. Their seeds can be saved to grow new pumpkins the next year.
  • The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven, who broke the world record in 1993 with a 836 lb. pumpkin.
  • Stephen Clarke holds the record for the world’s fastest pumpkin carving time: 24.03 seconds, smashing his previous record of 54.72 seconds. The rules of the competition state that the pumpkin must weigh less than 24 pounds and be carved in a traditional way, which requires at least eyes, nose, ears, and a mouth.