One of America’s Favorites – Roasting

December 9, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Tudor style roasting meat on a spit

Roasting is a cooking method that uses dry heat where hot air covers the food, cooking it evenly on all sides with temperatures of at least 150 °C (300 °F) from an open flame, oven, or other heat source. Roasting can enhance the flavor through caramelization and Maillard browning on the surface of the food. Roasting uses indirect, diffused heat (as in an oven), and is suitable for slower cooking of meat in a larger, whole piece. Meats and most root and bulb vegetables can be roasted. Any piece of meat, especially red meat, that has been cooked in this fashion is called a roast. Meats and vegetables prepared in this way are described as “roasted”, e.g., roasted chicken or roasted squash.

For roasting, the food may be placed on a rack, in a roasting pan or, to ensure even application of heat, may be rotated on a spit or rotisserie. If a pan is used, the juice can be retained for use in gravy, Yorkshire pudding, etc. During oven roasting, hot air circulates around the meat, cooking all sides evenly. There are several plans for roasting meat: low-temperature cooking, high-temperature cooking, and a combination of both. Each method can be suitable, depending on the food and the tastes of the people.

* A low-temperature oven, 95 to 160 °C (200 to 320 °F), is best when cooking with large cuts of meat, turkey and whole chickens. This is not technically roasting temperature, but it is called slow-roasting. The benefit of slow-roasting an item is less moisture loss and a more tender product. More of the collagen that makes meat tough is dissolved in slow cooking. At true roasting temperatures, 200 °C (390 °F) or more, the water inside the muscle is lost at a high rate.

A Sunday roast consisting of roast beef, potatoes, vegetables……..

* Cooking at high temperatures is beneficial if the cut is tender enough—as in fillet Mignon or strip loin—to be finished cooking before the juices escape. A reason for high temperature roasting is to brown the outside of the food, similar to browning food in a pan before pot roasting or stewing it. Fast cooking gives more variety of flavor, because the outside is brown while the center is much less done.
* The combination method uses high heat just at either the beginning or the end of the cooking process, with most of the cooking at a low temperature. This method produces the golden-brown texture and crust, but maintains more of the moisture than simply cooking at a high temperature, although the product will not be as moist as low-temperature cooking the whole time. Searing and then turning down to low is also beneficial when a dark crust and caramelized flavor is desired for the finished product.
In general, in either case, the meat is removed from the heat before it has finished cooking and left to sit for a few minutes, while the inside cooks further from the residual heat content, known as carry over cooking.

The objective in any case is to retain as much moisture as possible, while providing the texture and color. As meat cooks, the structure and especially the collagen breaks down, allowing juice to come out of the meat. So meat is juiciest at about medium rare while the juice is coming out. During roasting, meats and vegetables are frequently basted on the surface with butter, lard, or oil to reduce the loss of moisture by evaporation. In recent times, plastic oven bags have become popular for roasts. These cut cooking times and reduce the loss of moisture during roasting, but reduce flavor development from Maillard browning, somewhat more like (boiled or steamed) stew or pot roast. They are particularly popular for turkeys.

Until the late 19th century, roasting by dry heat in an oven was called baking. Roasting originally meant turning meat or a bird on a spit in front of a fire. It is one of the oldest forms of cooking known.

Whole roast chicken

Traditionally recognized roasting methods consist only of baking and cooking over or near an open fire. Grilling is normally not technically a roast, since a grill (gridiron) is used. Barbecuing and smoking differ from roasting because of the lower temperature and controlled smoke application. Grilling can be considered as a low-fat food preparation, as it allows any fat in the food to drip away.

Before the invention and widespread use of stoves, food was primarily cooked over open flames from a hearth. To roast meat, racks with skewers, or, if accessible, complicated gear arrangements, would be utilized to turn the piece(s). In the past, this method was often associated with the upper class and special occasions, rather than customary mealtimes, because it required freshly killed meat and close attention during cooking. It was easy to ruin the meat’s taste with a smoky fire or negligence to rotate it at regular intervals. Thus, elite families, who were able to afford quality meat, appointed this task to servants or invested in technology like automatic turning devices. With further technological advances, cooking came to accommodate new opportunities. By the 1860s, working families were able to afford low-priced stove models that became sufficiently available. However, the key element of observation during roasting became difficult and dangerous to do with the coal oven. Hence, traditional roasting disappeared as kitchens became no longer equipped for this custom and soon thereafter, “baking” came to be “roasting”.

Roasting can be applied to a wide variety of meat. In general, it works best for cooking whole chickens, turkey, and leaner cuts of lamb, pork, and beef. The aim is to highlight the flavor of the meat itself rather than a sauce or stew, as it is done in braising or other moist-heat methods. Many roasts are tied with string prior to roasting, often using the reef knot or the packer’s knot. Tying holds them together during roasting, keeping any stuffing inside, and keeps the roast in a round profile, which promotes even cooking.

Red meats such as beef, lamb, and venison, and certain game birds are often roasted to be “pink” or “rare”, meaning that the center of the roast is still red. Roasting is a preferred method of cooking for most poultry, and certain cuts of beef, pork, or lamb. Although there is a growing fashion in some restaurants to serve “rose pork”, temperature monitoring of the center of the roast is the only sure way to avoid foodborne disease.

In Britain, Ireland, and Australia, a roast of meat may be referred to as a joint, or a leg, if it is a leg.

Some vegetables, such as potatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, cauliflower, asparagus, squash, and peppers, yam and plantain lend themselves to roasting as well. Roasted chestnuts are also a popular snack in winter.

It is also possible to roast fish as meat.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Tomato Soup

December 2, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Tomato soup with basil

Tomato soup is a soup made with tomatoes as the primary ingredient. It may be served hot or cold in a bowl, and may be made in a variety of ways. It may be smooth in texture, and there are also recipes which include chunks of tomato, cream and chicken or vegetable stock. Popular toppings for tomato soup include sour cream or croutons. In the United States, the soup is frequently served with crackers, which may be crumbled onto the soup by the diner, and a grilled cheese sandwich. Tomato soup is one of the top comfort foods in Poland and the United States. It can be made fresh by blanching tomatoes, removing the skins, then blending them into a puree.

The first published tomato soup is mentioned by Eliza Leslie in 1857 in her final publication New Cookery Book. Joseph A. Campbell’s recipe for condensed tomato soup in 1897 further increased its popularity.

Commercially prepared tomato soup is available in a variety of forms, including canned, condensed and in dehydrated powder form. “Tomato” ranks among the top three flavors of soup produced by the Campbell Soup Company.

The main ingredients for tomato soup are tomato puree and wheat flour.

The cell wall structural importance for the plant’s growth and stability in the ripening process is equally as important to the quality of the tomato products it can produce. The pectin and cellulose are what determine the apparent viscosity of the tomato product. If they are broken at higher temperatures more enzymes are deactivated than if they are broken at lower temperatures.

High-fructose corn syrup is sometimes added to tomato soup to make it sweeter. HFCS is composed of both glucose and fructose in their free monosaccharide from that doesn’t crystallize readily. HFCS is also important in binding water, the monosaccharaides of fructose and glucose have the ability to bind to water in the product. The binding of water helps to reduce microbial growth by removing available water from the product it can also prevent the separation of water in products like sauces and soups.

Wheat flour is composed of six main groups, carbohydrates, proteins, enzymes, lipids, minerals and vitamins. Flour is added to tomato soup to increase its viscosity. The starch in the flour acts as a gelling agent and increases the viscosity of the product. When starch granules found in the flour are heated in solution they become less ordered and begin to gel. During this process of gelatinization the crystal like structures of the starch granules disappear and the swelling starts creating a viscoelastic product.

Tomato soup served with a grilled cheese sandwich

Gazpacho is a tomato soup of Spanish origin, served cold. It originates in the region of Andalucía in southern Spain. Gazpacho is widely consumed in Spanish cuisine, as well as in neighboring

Portugal, where it is known as gaspacho. Gazpacho is mostly consumed during the summer months, due to its refreshing qualities and cold serving temperature. Many variations of gazpacho exist.

Tomato soup is often paired with a grilled cheese sandwich, toast, crumpet or English muffin.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Thanksgiving Dinner

November 25, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Thanksgiving Dinner

The centerpiece of contemporary Thanksgiving in the United States and in Canada is a large meal, generally centered on a large roasted turkey. It is served with a variety of side dishes which vary from traditional dishes such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, to ones that reflect regional or cultural heritage. The majority of the dishes in the traditional American version of Thanksgiving dinner are made from foods native to the New World, as according to tradition the Pilgrims received these foods, or learned how to grow them, from the Native Americans. Thanksgiving dinner is the largest eating event in the United States; people eat more on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year.

According to what traditionally is known as “The First Thanksgiving,” the 1621 feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony contained waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. William Bradford noted that, “besides waterfowl, there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many.” Many of the foods that were included in the first feast (except, notably, the seafood) have since gone on to become staples of the modern Thanksgiving dinner. Early feasts of the Order of Good Cheer, a French Canadian predecessor to the modern Thanksgiving, featured a potluck dinner with freshly-hunted fowl, game, and fish, hunted and shared by both French Canadians and local natives.

The use of the turkey in the US for Thanksgiving precedes Lincoln’s nationalization of the holiday in 1863. Alexander Hamilton proclaimed that no “Citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day,” and Benjamin Franklin had high regard for the wild turkey as an American icon, but turkey was uncommon as Thanksgiving fare until after 1800. By 1857, turkey had become part of the traditional dinner in New England.

The White House Cook Book, 1887, by Mrs. F.L. Gillette, et al., had the following menu: oysters on half shell, cream of chicken soup, fried smelts, sauce tartare, roast turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, baked squash, boiled onions, parsnip fritters, olives, chicken salad, venison pastry, pumpkin pie, mince pie, Charlotte russe, almond ice cream, lemon jelly, hickory nut cake, cheese, fruits and coffee.

A Thanksgiving Day dinner served to the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 included: pickles, green olives, celery, roast turkey, oyster stew, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, dressing, creamed asparagus tips, snowflake potatoes, baked carrots, hot rolls, fruit salad, mince meat pie, fruit cake, candies, grapes, apples, clams, fish, and many other food harvests. French drip coffee, cigars and cigarettes.

Sugar, among other food commodities, was rationed from 1942 to 1946. In 1947, as part of a voluntary rationing campaign, the Harry Truman Administration attempted to promote “Poultryless Thursdays,” discouraging Americans from eating poultry or egg products on Thursdays. Because Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday, this meant that turkey and pumpkin pie, two Thanksgiving staples, were discouraged, not only for that holiday, but for Christmas and New Year’s Day as well, since those holidays landed on Thursday in 1947. (Pumpkin pie was discouraged because it contained eggs.) The National Poultry and Egg Board furiously lobbied the President to cease promoting the plan; it culminated in a truce at the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation shortly before Thanksgiving. Turkey was no longer forbidden, but Eggless Thursdays remained for the rest of the year, meaning no pumpkin pie was served at the White House dinner that year.

Oven roasted turkey

Turkey is the most common main dish of a Thanksgiving dinner, to the point where Thanksgiving is sometimes colloquially called “Turkey Day.” In 2006, American turkey growers were expected to raise 270 million turkeys, to be processed into five billion pounds of turkey meat valued at almost $8 billion, with one third of all turkey consumption occurring in the Thanksgiving-Christmas season, and a per capita consumption of almost 18 pounds. The Broad Breasted White turkey is particularly bred for Thanksgiving dinner and similar large feasts; its large size (specimens can grow to over 40 pounds) and meat content make it ideal for such situations, although the breed must be artificially bred and suffers from health problems due to its size.

Most Thanksgiving turkeys are stuffed with a bread-based mixture and roasted. Sage is the traditional herb added to the stuffing, along with chopped celery, carrots, and onions. Other ingredients, such as chopped chestnuts or other tree nuts, crumbled sausage or bacon, cranberries, raisins, or apples, may be added to stuffing. If this mixture is prepared outside the bird, it may be known as dressing. Deep-fried turkey is rising in popularity due to its shorter preparation time, but carries safety risks.

The consumption of turkey on Thanksgiving is so ingrained in American culture that each year since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey to the President of the United States prior to each Thanksgiving. These turkeys were initially slaughtered and eaten for the President’s Thanksgiving dinner; since 1989, the presented turkeys have typically been given a mock pardon to great fanfare and sent to a park to live out the rest of their usually short natural lives.

Non-traditional foods other than turkey are usually served as the main dish for a Thanksgiving dinner. Ham is often served alongside turkey in many non-traditional households. Goose and duck, foods which were traditional European centerpieces of Christmas dinners before being displaced, are now sometimes served in place of the Thanksgiving turkey. Sometimes, fowl native to the region where the meal is taking place is used; for example, an article in Texas Monthly magazine suggested quail as the main dish for a Texan Thanksgiving feast. John Madden, who appeared on television for the NFL Thanksgiving Day game from 1981 to 2001, frequently advocated his fondness for the turducken, deboned turkey, duck and chicken nested inside each other then cooked. In a few areas of the West Coast of the United States, Dungeness crab is common as an alternate main dish, as crab season starts in early November. Similarly, Thanksgiving falls within deer hunting season in the Northeastern United States, which encourages the use of venison as a centerpiece. Vegetarians or vegans may have a tofu, wheat gluten or lentil-based substitute; or stuffed squash. In Alaskan villages, whale meat is sometimes eaten. Irish immigrants have been known to have prime rib of beef as their centerpiece since beef in Ireland was once a rarity; families would save up money for this dish to signify newfound prosperity and hope. Many Italian-Americans will serve capon as the main course to the Thanksgiving meal.

In the United States, a globalist approach to Thanksgiving has become common with the impact of immigration. Basic “Thanksgiving” ingredients, or the intent of the holiday, can be transformed to a variety of dishes by using flavors, techniques, and traditions from their own cuisines. Others celebrate the holiday with a variety of dishes particularly when there is a crowd to be fed, guests’ tastes vary and considering the financial means available.

Many offerings are typically served alongside the main dish—so many that, because of the amount of food, the Thanksgiving meal is sometimes served midday or early afternoon to make time for all the eating, and preparation may begin at dawn or on days prior. Copious leftovers are also common following the meal proper.

Traditional Thanksgiving foods are sometimes specific to the day, such as riced potatoes, and although some of the foods might be seen at any semi-formal meal in the United States, the meal often has something of a ritual or traditional quality. Many Americans would say it is “incomplete” without cranberry sauce, stuffing or dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and brussels sprouts. Other commonly served dishes include winter squash and sweet potatoes, the latter often prepared with sweeteners such as brown sugar, molasses, or marshmallows. Fresh, canned, or frozen corn is popular and green beans are frequently served; in particular, green bean casserole, a product invented in 1955 by the Campbell Soup Company to promote use of its cream of mushroom soup, has become a Thanksgiving standard. Other roasted vegetables are often served, such as carrots or parsnips, celery stalks, beets, turnips, radishes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower. A fresh salad may be included, especially on the West Coast. A relish tray, with various pickles, olives, onions or peppers, is often included either with the meal itself or as a pre-meal appetizer. Bread rolls, biscuits, or cornbread, the latter particularly in the South and parts of New England, may also be served. For dessert, various pies are usually served, particularly pumpkin pie, though apple pie, mincemeat pie, sweet potato pie, cherry pie, chocolate pie, and pecan pie are often served as well.

There are also regional differences as to the stuffing or dressing traditionally served with the turkey. The traditional version has white bread cubes, sage, onion, celery and parsley. Southerners generally make their dressing from cornbread, while those in other parts of the country may opt for wheat or rye bread as the base. One or several of the following may be added to the dressing/stuffing: oysters, apples, chestnuts, raisins, and sausages or the turkey’s giblets.

Other dishes reflect the region or cultural background of those who have come together for the meal. For example, Sauerkraut (among those in the Mid-Atlantic; especially Baltimore) is

Green bean casserole

sometimes served. Many African Americans and Southerners serve baked macaroni and cheese and collard greens, along with chitterlings and sweet potato pie, while some Italian-Americans often have lasagne on the table and Ashkenazi Jews may serve noodle kugel, a sweet dessert pudding. Other Jewish families may consume foods commonly associated with Hanukkah, such as latkes or a sufganiyah; the two holidays are usually in close proximity and on extremely rare occasions overlap. It is not unheard of for Mexican Americans to serve their turkey with mole and roasted corn. In Puerto Rico, the Thanksgiving meal is completed with arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) or arroz con maiz (rice with corn), pasteles (root tamales) stuffed with turkey, pumpkin-coconut crème caramel, corn bread with longaniza, potato salad, roasted white sweet potatoes and Spanish sparkling hard cider. Turkey in Puerto Rico is stuffed with mofongo. Cuban-Americans traditionally serve the turkey alongside a small roasted pork and include white rice and black beans or kidney beans. Vegetarians or vegans have been known to serve alternative entree centerpieces such as a large vegetable pie or a stuffed and baked pumpkin or tofu substitutes. Many Midwesterners (such as Minnesotans) of Norwegian or Scandinavian descent set the table with lefse.

The beverages at Thanksgiving can vary as much as the side dishes, often depending on who is present at the table and their tastes. Spirits or cocktails sometimes may be served before the main meal. On the dinner table, unfermented apple cider (still or sparkling) or wine are often served. Pitchers of sweet tea can often be found on Southern tables[citation needed]. Beaujolais nouveau is sometimes served; the beverage has been marketed as a Thanksgiving drink since the producers of the wine (which is made available only for a short window each year) set the annual release date to be one week before Thanksgiving beginning in 1985, and it is said to pair well with the wide variety of food served for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of eggnog season.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Ham

November 18, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in Ham, One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Half ham

Ham is pork from a leg cut that has been preserved by wet or dry curing, with or without smoking. As a processed meat, the term “ham” includes both whole cuts of meat and ones that have been mechanically formed.

Ham is made around the world, including a number of regional specialties, such as Westphalian ham and some varieties of Spanish jamón. In addition, numerous ham products have specific geographical naming protection, such as prosciutto di Parma in Europe, and Smithfield ham in the US.

The preserving of pork leg as ham has a long history, with Cato the Elder writing about the “salting of hams” in his De Agri Cultura tome around 160 BC.

There are claims that the Chinese were the first people to mention the production of cured ham. Larousse Gastronomique claims an origin from Gaul. It was certainly well established by the Roman period, as evidenced by an import trade from Gaul mentioned by Marcus Terentius Varro in his writings.

Typical slice of ham

The modern word “ham” is derived from the Old English ham or hom meaning the hollow or bend of the knee, from a Germanic base where it meant “crooked”. It began to refer to the cut of pork derived from the hind leg of a pig around the 15th century.

Because of the preservation process, ham is a compound foodstuff or ingredient, being made up of the original meat, as well as the remnants of the preserving agent(s), such as salt, but it is still recognised as a food in its own right.

 

Methods
Ham is produced by curing raw pork by salting, also known as dry curing, or brining, also known as wet curing. Additionally, smoking may be employed.

Besides salt, several ingredients may be used to obtain flavoring and preservation, from black pepper (e.g. Prosciutto Toscano) to saffron (e.g. the “Zafferano di San Gimignano.

Dry-cured

Sea salt being added to raw pork leg as part of a dry cure process

Traditional dry cure hams may use only salt as the curative agent, such as with San Daniele or Parma hams, although this is comparatively rare. This process involves cleaning the raw meat, covering it in salt while it is gradually pressed draining all the blood. Specific herbs and spices may be used to add flavour during this step. The hams are then washed and hung in a dark, temperature-regulated place until dry. It is then hung to air for another period of time.

The duration of the curing process varies by the type of ham, with, for example, Serrano ham curing in 9–12 months, Parma hams taking more than 12 months, and Iberian ham taking up to 2 years to reach the desired flavour characteristics. Some dry cured hams, such as the Jinhua ham, take approximately 8 to 10 months to complete.

Most modern dry cure hams also use nitrites (either sodium nitrite or potassium nitrate), which are added along with the salt. Nitrates are used because they prevent bacterial growth and, in a reaction with the meat’s myoglobin, give the product a desirable dark red color. The amount and mixture of salt and nitrites used have an effect on the shrinkage of the meat. Because of the toxicity of nitrite (the lethal dose of nitrite for humans is about 22 mg per kg body weight), some areas specify a maximum allowable content of nitrite in the final product. Under certain conditions, especially during cooking, nitrites in meat can react with degradation products of amino acids, forming nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens.

The dry curing of ham involves a number of enzymatic reactions. The enzymes involved are proteinases (cathepsins – B, D, H & L, and calpains) and exopeptidases (peptidase and aminopeptidase). These enzymes cause proteolysis of muscle tissue, which creates large numbers of small peptides and free amino acids, while the adipose tissue undergoes lipolysis to create free fatty acids. Salt and phosphates act as strong inhibitors of proteolytic activity. Animal factors influencing enzymatic activity include age, weight, and breed. During the process itself, conditions such as temperature, duration, water content, redox potential, and salt content all have an effect.

The salt content in dry-cured ham varies throughout a piece of meat, with gradients determinable through sampling and testing or non-invasively through CT scanning.

Wet-cured
Wet-cured hams are brined, which involves the immersion of the meat in a brine, sometimes with other ingredients such as sugar also added for flavour. Meat is typically kept in the brine for around 3 to 14 days. Wet curing also has the effect of increasing volume and weight of the finished product, by about 4%.

The wet curing process can also be achieved by pumping the curing solution into the meat. This can be quicker, increase the weight of the finished product by more than immersion, and ensure a more even distribution of salt through the meat. This process is quicker than traditional brining, normally being completed in a few days.

Smoking
Ham can also be additionally preserved through smoking, in which the meat is placed in a smokehouse (or equivalent) to be cured by the action of smoke.

The main flavor compounds of smoked ham are guaiacol, and its 4-, 5-, and 6-methyl derivatives as well as 2,6-dimethylphenol. These compounds are produced by combustion of lignin, a major constituent of wood used in the smokehouse.

Labeling

A platter of ham and cheese sliced for sandwiches

In many countries the term is now protected by statute, with a specific definition. For instance, in the United States, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) says that “the word ‘ham’, without any prefix indicating the species of animal from which derived, shall be used in labeling only in connection with the hind legs of swine”.

In addition to the main categories, some processing choices can affect legal labeling. For instance, in the United States, a “smoked” ham must have been smoked by hanging over burning wood chips in a smokehouse or an atomized spray of liquid smoke such that the product appearance is equivalent; a “hickory-smoked” ham must have been smoked using only hickory. However, injecting “smoke flavor” is not legal grounds for claiming the ham was “smoked”; these are labeled “smoke flavor added”. Hams can only be labeled “honey-cured” if honey was at least 50% of the sweetener used, is at least 3% of the formula, and has a discernible effect on flavor. So-called “lean” and “extra lean” hams must adhere to maximum levels of fat and cholesterol per 100 grams of product.

Whole fresh pork leg can be labeled as fresh ham in the United States.

Protected designations
A number of hams worldwide have some level of protection of their unique characteristics, usually relating to their method of preservation or location of production or processing. Dependent on jurisdiction, rules may prevent any other product being sold with the particular appellation, such as through the European protected geographical indication.

 

One of America’s Favorites – French Toast

November 11, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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French toast served at a restaurant

French toast is a dish made of sliced bread soaked in eggs and milk, then fried. Alternative names and variants include eggy bread, Bombay toast, German toast, gypsy toast, poor knights (of Windsor), torrija and Arme Riddere.

The earliest known reference to French toast is in the Apicius, a collection of Latin recipes dating to the 4th or 5th century, where it is described as simply aliter dulcia (“another sweet dish”). The recipe says to “slice fine white bread, remove the crust, and break it into large pieces. Soak these pieces in milk and beaten egg, fry in oil, and cover with honey before serving.”

A fourteenth-century German recipe uses the name Arme Ritter (“poor knights”), a name also used in English and the Nordic languages. Also in the fourteenth century, Taillevent presented a recipe for “tostées dorées”. Italian 15th-century culinary expert Martino da Como offers a recipe.

The usual French name is pain perdu, “lost bread”, reflecting its use of stale or otherwise “lost” bread — which gave birth to the metaphoric term pain perdu for sunk costs. It may also be called pain doré, “golden bread”, in Canada. There are fifteenth-century English recipes for pain perdu

An Austrian and Bavarian term is pafese or pofese, from zuppa pavese, referring to Pavia, Italy. The word “soup” in the dish’s name refers to bread soaked in a liquid, a sop. In Hungary, it is commonly called bundáskenyér (lit. “furry bread”).

French toast topped with fruit, butter and cream, served with maple syrup.

Slices of bread are soaked or dipped in a mixture of beaten eggs, often whisked with milk or cream. Sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla may be variously added to the mixture. The bread is then fried in butter or olive oil until browned and cooked through. Day-old bread is often used, both for its thrift and because it will soak up more egg mixture without falling apart.

The cooked slices may be served with sugar or sweet toppings such as jam, honey, fruit, or maple syrup.

According to the Compleat Cook (1659) as quoted in the OED, the bread was dipped in milk only, with the egg mixture added afterwards.

Alternatively, the bread may be soaked in wine, rosewater, or orange juice, either before or after cooking.

French toast was popularly served in railroad dining cars of the early and mid-20th century. The Santa Fe was especially known for its French toast, and most of the railroads provided recipes of these and other dining car offerings to the public as a promotional feature.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Hamburger

November 4, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Hamburger with french fries and a beer

A hamburger (short: burger) is a sandwich consisting of one or more cooked patties of ground meat, usually beef, placed inside a sliced bread roll or bun. The patty may be pan fried, grilled, smoked or flame broiled. Hamburgers are often served with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, bacon, or chiles; condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, or “special sauce”; and are frequently placed on sesame seed buns. A hamburger topped with cheese is called a cheeseburger.

The term “burger” can also be applied to the meat patty on its own, especially in the United Kingdom, where the term “patty” is rarely used, or the term can even refer simply to ground beef. Since the term hamburger usually implies beef, for clarity “burger” may be prefixed with the type of meat or meat substitute used, as in beef burger, turkey burger, bison burger, or veggie burger.

Hamburgers are sold at fast-food restaurants, diners, and specialty and high-end restaurants (where burgers may sell for several times the cost of a fast-food burger, but may be one of the cheaper options on the menu). There are many international and regional variations of the hamburger.

Hamburg steak has been known as “Frikadelle” in Germany since the 17th century.

The term hamburger originally derives from Hamburg, Germany’s second-largest city. In German, Burg means “castle”, “fortified settlement” or “fortified refuge” and is a widespread component of place names. The first element of the name is perhaps from Old High German hamma, referring to a bend in a river, or Middle High German hamme, referring to an enclosed area of pastureland. Hamburger in German is the demonym of Hamburg, similar to frankfurter and wiener, names for other meat-based foods and demonyms of the cities of Frankfurt and Vienna respectively.

The term “burger” eventually became a suffix back-formation that is associated with many different types of sandwiches, similar to a (ground meat) hamburger, but made of different meats such as buffalo in the buffalo burger, venison, kangaroo, turkey, elk, lamb or fish like salmon in the salmon burger, but even with meatless sandwiches as is the case of the veggie burger.

There have been many claims about the origin of the hamburger, but the origins remain unclear. The popular book “The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy” by Hannah Glasse included a recipe in 1758 as “Hamburgh sausage”, which suggested to serve it “roasted with toasted bread under it”. A similar snack was also popular in Hamburg by the name “Rundstück warm” (“bread roll warm”) in 1869 or earlier, and supposedly eaten by many emigrants on their way to America, but may have contained roasted beefsteak rather than Frikadeller. Hamburg steak is reported to have been served between two pieces of bread on the Hamburg America Line, which began operations in 1847. Each of these may mark the invention of the Hamburger, and explain the name.

There is a reference to a “Hamburg steak” as early as 1884 in the Boston Journal. On July 5, 1896, the Chicago Daily Tribune made a highly specific claim regarding a “hamburger sandwich” in an article about a “Sandwich Car”: “A distinguished favorite, only five cents, is Hamburger steak sandwich, the meat for which is kept ready in small patties and ‘cooked while you wait’ on the gasoline range.”

A bacon cheeseburger, from a New York City diner

According to Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, the hamburger, a ground meat patty between two slices of bread, was first created in America in 1900 by Louis Lassen, a Danish immigrant, owner of Louis’ Lunch in New Haven. There have been rival claims by Charlie Nagreen, Frank and Charles Menches, Oscar Weber Bilby, and Fletcher Davis. White Castle traces the origin of the hamburger to Hamburg, Germany with its invention by Otto Kuase. However, it gained national recognition at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair when the New York Tribune referred to the hamburger as “the innovation of a food vendor on the pike”. No conclusive argument has ever ended the dispute over invention. An article from ABC News sums up: “One problem is that there is little written history. Another issue is that the spread of the burger happened largely at the World’s Fair, from tiny vendors that came and went in an instant. And it is entirely possible that more than one person came up with the idea at the same time in different parts of the country.”

Hamburgers are usually a feature of fast food restaurants. The hamburgers served in major fast food establishments are usually mass-produced in factories and frozen for delivery to the site. These hamburgers are thin and of uniform thickness, differing from the traditional American hamburger prepared in homes and conventional restaurants, which is thicker and prepared by hand from ground beef. Most American hamburgers are round, but some fast-food chains, such as Wendy’s, sell square-cut hamburgers. Hamburgers in fast food restaurants are usually grilled on a flat-top, but some firms, such as Burger King, use a gas flame grilling process. At conventional American restaurants, hamburgers may be ordered “rare”, but normally are served medium-well or well-done for food safety reasons. Fast food restaurants do not usually offer this option.

Hamburger preparation in a fast food establishment

The McDonald’s fast-food chain sells the Big Mac, one of the world’s top selling hamburgers, with an estimated 550 million sold annually in the United States. Other major fast-food chains, including Burger King (also known as Hungry Jack’s in Australia), A&W, Culver’s, Whataburger, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s chain, Wendy’s (known for their square patties), Jack in the Box, Cook Out, Harvey’s, Shake Shack, In-N-Out Burger, Five Guys, Fatburger, Vera’s, Burgerville, Back Yard Burgers, Lick’s Homeburger, Roy Rogers, Smashburger, and Sonic also rely heavily on hamburger sales. Fuddruckers and Red Robin are hamburger chains that specialize in the mid-tier “restaurant-style” variety of hamburgers.

Some restaurants offer elaborate hamburgers using expensive cuts of meat and various cheeses, toppings, and sauces. One example is the Bobby’s Burger Palace chain founded by well-known chef and Food Network star Bobby Flay.

Hamburgers are often served as a fast dinner, picnic or party food and are often cooked outdoors on barbecue grills.

A high-quality hamburger patty is made entirely of ground (minced) beef and seasonings; these may be described as “all-beef hamburger” or “all-beef patties” to distinguish them from inexpensive hamburgers made with cost-savers like added flour, textured vegetable protein, ammonia treated defatted beef trimmings (which the company Beef Products Inc, calls “lean finely textured beef”), advanced meat recovery, or other fillers. In the 1930s ground liver was sometimes added. Some cooks prepare their patties with binders like eggs or breadcrumbs. Seasonings may include salt and pepper and others like as parsley, onions, soy sauce, Thousand Island dressing, onion soup mix, or Worcestershire sauce. Many name brand seasoned salt products are also used.

* Safety
Raw hamburger may contain harmful bacteria that can produce food-borne illness such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, due to the occasional initial improper preparation of the meat, so caution is needed during handling and cooking. Because of the potential for food-borne illness, the USDA recommends hamburgers be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 °F (71 °C). If cooked to this temperature, they are considered well-done.

Burgers can also be made with patties made from ingredients other than beef. For example, a turkey burger uses ground turkey meat, a chicken burger uses ground chicken meat. A buffalo burger uses ground meat from a bison, and an ostrich burger is made from ground seasoned ostrich meat. A deer burger uses ground venison from deer.

A veggie burger, black bean burger, garden burger, or tofu burger uses a meat analogue, a meat substitute such as tofu, TVP, seitan (wheat gluten), quorn, beans, grains or an assortment of vegetables, ground up and mashed into patties.

A steak burger is marketing term for a hamburger claimed to be of superior quality. or, in Australia, a sandwich containing a steak.

Steak burgers are first mentioned in the 1920s. Like other hamburgers, they may be prepared with various accompaniments and toppings.

Use of the term “steakburger” dates to the 1920s in the United States. In the U.S. in 1934, A.H. “Gus” Belt, the founder of Steak ‘n Shake, devised a higher-quality hamburger and offered it as a “steakburger” to customers at the company’s first location in Normal, Illinois. This burger used a combination of ground meat from the strip portion of T-bone steak and sirloin steak in its preparation. Steak burgers are a primary menu item at Steak ‘n Shake restaurants, and the company’s registered trademarks included “original steakburger” and “famous for steakburgers”. Steak ‘n Shake’s “Prime Steakburgers” are now made of choice grade brisket and chuck.

A steak burger with cheese and onion rings

Beef is typical, although other meats such as lamb and pork may also be used. The meat is ground or chopped.

In Australia, a steak burger is a steak sandwich which contains a whole steak, not ground meat.

Steak burgers may be cooked to various degrees of doneness.

Steak burgers may be served with standard hamburger toppings such as lettuce, onion, and tomato. Some may have additional various toppings such as cheese, bacon, fried egg, mushrooms, additional meats, and others.

Various fast food outlets and restaurants ‍—‌ such as Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, IHOP, Steak ‘n Shake, Mr. Steak, and Freddy’s ‍—‌ market steak burgers. Some restaurants offer high-end burgers prepared from aged beef. Additionally, many restaurants have used the term “steak burger” at various times.

Some baseball parks concessions in the United States call their hamburgers steak burgers, such as Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska.

Burger King introduced the Sirloin Steak sandwich in 1979 as part of a menu expansion that in turn was part of a corporate restructuring effort for the company. It was a single oblong patty made of chopped steak served on a sub-style, sesame seed roll. Additional steak burgers that Burger King has offered are the Angus Bacon Cheddar Ranch Steak Burger, the Angus Bacon & Cheese Steak Burger, and a limited edition Stuffed Steakhouse Burger.

In 2004 Steak ‘n Shake sued Burger King over the latter’s use of term Steak Burger in conjunction with one of its menu items, claiming that such use infringed on trademark rights. (According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Burger King’s attorneys “grilled” Steak ‘n Shake’s CEO in court about the precise content of Steak ‘n Shake’s steakburger offering.)

In the United States and Canada, burgers may be classified as two main types: fast food hamburgers and individually prepared burgers made in homes and restaurants. The latter are often prepared with a variety of toppings, including lettuce, tomato, onion, and often sliced pickles (or pickle relish). French fries often accompany the burger. Cheese (usually processed cheese slices but often Cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack, or blue), either melted directly on the meat patty or crumbled on top, is generally an option.

Condiments might be added to a hamburger or may be offered separately on the side including mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, salad dressings and barbecue sauce.

Other toppings can include bacon, avocado or guacamole, sliced sautéed mushrooms, cheese sauce, chili (usually without beans), fried egg, scrambled egg, feta cheese, blue cheese, salsa, pineapple, jalapeños and other kinds of chili peppers, anchovies, slices of ham or bologna, pastrami or teriyaki-seasoned beef, tartar sauce, french fries, onion rings or potato chips.

Miniature hamburgers (“sliders”)

* Standard toppings on hamburgers may depend upon location, particularly at restaurants that are not national or regional franchises.
* Restaurants may offer hamburgers with multiple meat patties. The most common variants are double and triple hamburgers, but California-based burger chain In-N-Out once sold a sandwich with one hundred patties, called a “100×100.”
* Pastrami burgers may be served in Salt Lake City, Utah.
* A patty melt consists of a patty, sautéed onions and cheese between two slices of rye bread. The sandwich is then buttered and fried.
* A slider is a very small square hamburger patty sprinkled with diced onions and served on an equally small bun. According to the earliest citations, the name originated aboard U.S. Navy ships, due to the manner in which greasy burgers slid across the galley grill as the ship pitched and rolled. Other versions claim the term “slider” originated from the hamburgers served by flight line galleys at military airfields, which were so greasy they slid right through you; or because their small size allows them to “slide” right down your throat in one or two bites.
* In Alberta, Canada a “kubie burger” is a hamburger made with a pressed Ukrainian sausage (kubasa).
* In Minnesota, a “Juicy Lucy” (also spelled “Jucy Lucy”), is a hamburger having cheese inside the meat patty rather than on top. A piece of cheese is surrounded by raw meat and cooked until it melts, resulting in a molten core of cheese within the patty. This scalding hot cheese tends to gush out at the first bite, so servers frequently instruct customers to let the sandwich cool for a few minutes before consumption.
* A low carb burger is a hamburger served without a bun and replaced with large slices of lettuce with mayonnaise or mustard being the sauces primarily used.
* A ramen burger, invented by Keizo Shimamoto, is a hamburger patty sandwiched between two discs of compressed ramen noodles in lieu of a traditional bun.

 

One of America’s Favorites -Chicken Sandwich

October 28, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A chicken salad sandwich

A chicken sandwich is a sandwich that typically consists of boneless, skinless chicken breast served between slices of bread, on a bun, or on a roll. Variations on the “chicken sandwich” include the chicken burger or chicken on a bun, hot chicken, and chicken salad sandwich.

In North America, the sandwich usually consists of a chicken filet or patty, toppings and bread. The chicken meat can be deep fried, grilled, roasted or boiled, served hot or cold, and white or dark meat chicken can be used. Shredded chicken in one form or another, such as chicken salad, can also be used in chicken sandwiches. Wrap versions of the sandwich can also be made, in which the ingredients are rolled up inside a flatbread, such as a tortilla.

Open-faced versions of the sandwich, which feature hot chicken served with gravy on top of bread, are also common variations.

Varieties
Chicken burger

Some establishments serving hamburgers also serve chicken sandwiches, giving customers an alternative to beef. Such a sandwich may also be called “chicken on a bun” or “chicken burger” in Australia or the UK, and is served on a hamburger bun with similar condiments and toppings as found on hamburgers. While most chicken sandwiches in this context usually use fried or grilled chicken breasts, a chicken burger may also be made of a grilled or fried patty of ground chicken.

History
Chick-fil-A claims that it invented the fried chicken sandwich in the 1940s. This claim is unsubstantiated, though the Chick-fil-A southern-style chicken sandwich (served with pickles on a steamed roll), introduced on March 21, 1964, was most likely the first chicken sandwich introduced by a fast food restaurant chain. Other notable vendors of chicken sandwiches include KFC and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Today, most major fast food, fast casual and casual dining chains feature some sort of chicken sandwich, even at restaurants where chicken is not a specialty.

Chicken salad sandwich
Chicken salad served between slices of bread is a chicken sandwich variation seen both in North America and elsewhere.

Chicken fillet roll
In Ireland, the popular chicken fillet roll is a baguette filled with a spicy or plain breaded chicken fillet and a mayonnaise and/or butter spread.

“Hot chicken” sandwich

Prince’s hot chicken

The hot chicken sandwich or simply “hot chicken” (Quebec French: sandwich chaud au poulet) is a type of chicken sandwich consisting of chicken, sliced bread, and gravy (which is generally poutine sauce). The sandwich is usually served with green peas and commonly found in Eastern Canadian cuisine. It’s especially popular in Quebec and is often considered one of the province’s staple dishes. Since it is so commonly found in eateries of Quebec (Rôtisserie St-Hubert, Valentine, e.g.) and less seen outside the province, many Québécois regard it as a part of Quebec cuisine and believe it to have originated in the province. This combination of chicken, gravy, and peas is known by its own term: galvaude, seen in poutine galvaude.
Although less featured in other areas of North America, the sandwich is also found in small diners from the Canadian Maritimes and throughout the Southeastern United States.

The sandwich was a working-class dish already common and well established in North American cuisine by the early 1900s and featured on the food menus of pharmacists and druggists of the time. Due to its ease of preparation and its minimal costs, the sandwich was also widely served in the mess halls and cafeterias of the mid-1900s.
This style of sandwich often makes use of leftovers from a previous meal. Substituting turkey for the chicken would make a hot turkey sandwich and substituting roast beef makes a variety of the roast beef sandwich.

Pepito

A pepito prepared with chicken meat

The pepito is a sandwich that is prepared with chicken or beef, beans or refried beans and a roll or bun as primary ingredients. It is a common street food in Mexico and Venezuela.

Shredded chicken sandwich
Found in Ohio is the shredded chicken sandwich. The sandwich is also referred to as a hot chicken sandwich in rural Ohio. The sandwich consists of shredded chicken, one or more types of condensed soup, seasoning and crushed crackers to help thicken and bind the sauce. This dish can be heated on a stove top or slow cooker. Invented as a way to use leftover chicken, these sandwiches became popular for covered dish dinners, potlucks, church dinners and tailgate parties. They are also sold in small-town restaurants, drive-ins and bars. The sandwich can also be found at “Ohio” community dinners on the Gulf Coast of Florida held by retirees or snowbirds from Ohio.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Po’ boy

October 21, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A po’ boy (also po-boy, po boy) is a traditional sandwich from Louisiana. It almost always consists of meat, which is usually roast beef or fried seafood, often shrimp, crawfish, fish, oysters or crab. The meat is served on baguette-like New Orleans French bread, known for its crisp crust and fluffy center.

Roast beef was New Orleans’ most popular po’boy filler up to the 1970s and fried oyster po’boys are popular enough that they are sometimes called an oyster loaf, but the fillings can be almost anything, according to Sarah Rohan who in her book Gumbo Tales mentions fried shrimp, catfish, crawfish, Louisiana hot sausage, fried chicken, baked ham, duck, and rabbit.

A “dressed” po’ boy has lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayonnaise. Fried seafood po’ boys are often dressed by default with melted butter and sliced pickle rounds. A Louisiana style hot sauce is optional. Non-seafood po’ boys will also often have Creole mustard.

The New Orleans sloppy roast beef po’ boy is generally served hot with gravy and resembles a Chicago Italian beef sandwich in appearance and method of preparation, although the size, bread, and toppings differ. To make it, a cut of beef (usually chuck or shoulder) is typically simmered in beef stock with seasonings such as garlic, pepper, thyme, and bay for several hours. The beef can be processed into “debris” by cutting it to shreds when done (folklore says that a po’ boy roast is done when it “falls apart with a hard stare”) and simmering the shredded beef in the pot for a longer time to absorb more of the juice and seasoning.

A roast beef po' boy

A roast beef po’ boy

In the late 1800s fried oyster sandwiches on French loaves were known in New Orleans as “oyster loaves”, a term still in use. A sandwich containing both fried shrimp and fried oysters is often called a “peacemaker” or La Médiatrice.

The origin of the name is unknown. A popular local theory claims that “po’ boy”, as specifically referring to a type of sandwich, was coined in a New Orleans restaurant owned by Benny and Clovis Martin (originally from Raceland, Louisiana), former streetcar conductors. In 1929, during a four-month strike against the streetcar company, the Martin brothers served their former colleagues free sandwiches. The Martins’ restaurant workers jokingly referred to the strikers as “poor boys”, and soon the sandwiches themselves took on the name. In Louisiana dialect, this is naturally shortened to “po’ boy”.

One New Orleans historian finds the Martin claim suspicious for several reasons, starting with the fact that it wasn’t described by the local press until 40 years after the strike, and that prior to 1969 the story from the Martin brothers themselves was that they had created the po-boy for farmers, dock workers and other “poor boys” who frequented their original location near the French Market. (The Martin brothers did write a letter, reprinted in local newspapers in 1929, promising to feed the streetcar workers, but it referenced “our meal” and made no mention of sandwiches.)

Fried shrimp po' boy at Middendorf's

Fried shrimp po’ boy at Middendorf’s

New Orleans
New Orleans is known for its grand restaurants (see Louisiana Creole cuisine), but more humble fare like the po’ boy is very popular. Po’ boys may be made at home, sold pre-packaged in convenience stores, available at deli counters and most neighborhood restaurants. One of the most basic New Orleans restaurants is the po’ boy shop, and these shops often offer seafood platters, red beans and rice, jambalaya, and other basic Creole dishes.

The two primary sources of po’boy bread are the Leidenheimer Baking Company and Alois J. Binder. There is fierce competition between po’ boy shops, and resident opinions of the best po’ boy shop varies widely.

Each year there is a festival in New Orleans dedicated to the po’ boy, the Oak Street Po’Boy Festival. It is a one-day festival that features live music, arts, and food vendors with multiple types of po’ boys. It is held in mid-November along a commercial strip of Oak Street in the city’s Carrollton neighborhood. The festival gives “best-of” awards, which gives the chefs an incentive to invent some of the most creative po’ boys.

Authentic versions of Louisiana-style po’ boys can be found along the Gulf Coast, from Houston through the Florida Panhandle. The term “po’ boy” has spread further and can be found in the South Atlantic States and in California, where it may instead refer to local variations on the submarine sandwich.

 

One of America’s Favorites – St. Louis-Style Pizza

October 14, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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St. Louis-Style Pizza

St. Louis-style pizza is a distinct type of pizza popular in the Midwestern American city of St. Louis, Missouri and surrounding areas. The definitive characteristics of St. Louis-style pizza are a very thin cracker-like crust made without yeast, the common (but not universal) use of Provel processed cheese, and pizzas cut into squares or rectangles instead of wedges.

The thin, cracker-like round crust is made without yeast, as opposed to a deep dish Chicago-style pizza or the thin but leavened New York-style pizza. The crust of a St. Louis pizza is somewhat crisp and cannot be folded easily so the pizza is typically cut into three- or four-inch squares or rectangles instead of the pie-like wedges typical of many pizza styles. This may be done as the square shape can support the toppings better than wedge slices. Some local restaurants make their pizzas rectangular rather than round. St. Louis pizza is cut into squares and is referred to as party or tavern cut. According to local legend, Ed Imo—founder of a prominent chain of St. Louis pizzerias—was a tile layer and cut his pizza accordingly.

A St. Louis-style pizza being sliced into squares

St. Louis-style pizza often includes a white processed cheese known as Provel. Provel is a trademark for three cheeses fused to form one (provolone, Swiss, and white Cheddar), used instead of (or, rarely, in addition to) the mozzarella or provolone common to other styles of pizza. Provel cheese was developed by the St. Louis firm Costa Grocery in the 1950s and is made in Wisconsin primarily for the St. Louis market. The cheese is not widely available outside the St. Louis area but can be made by combining Swiss, sharp cheddar and smoked provolone cheeses.

The sauce is often seasoned with more oregano than other pizza types. Despite its thin crust, St. Louis-style pizza can be layered deeply with many different toppings because of the sturdiness of the cracker-like crust. Some of the sauces have a sweetness to them, which is likely due to the influence of Sicilian immigrants upon Italian foods in St. Louis.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Pumpkin Pie

October 7, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Pumpkin pie, with two slices removed

Pumpkin pie, with two slices removed

Pumpkin pie is a dessert pie with a spiced, pumpkin-based custard filling. The pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time, and pumpkin pie is often eaten during the fall and early winter. In the United States and Canada, it is usually prepared for Thanksgiving, and other occasions when pumpkin is in season.

The pie filling ranges in color from orange to brown, and is baked in a single pie shell, rarely with a top crust. The pie is generally flavored with cinnamon, powdered ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Allspice is also commonly used and can replace the clove and nutmeg, as its flavor is similar to both combined. Cardamom and vanilla are also sometimes used as batter spices. The spice mixture is called pumpkin pie spice.

The pie is often made from canned pumpkin or packaged pumpkin pie filling (spices included), mainly from varieties of Cucurbita moschata.

Pies made from pumpkins use pie pumpkins which measure about six to eight inches in diameter. They are considerably smaller than jack o’lanterns. The first step for getting the edible part out of the pumpkin is to slice it in half and remove the seeds. The two halves are heated until soft, in an oven, over an open fire, on a stove top, or in a microwave oven. Sometimes the pumpkin halves are brined to soften the pulp instead of being cooked. At this point the pulp is scooped out and puréed.

A slice of home-made pumpkin pie

The pulp is mixed with eggs, evaporated and/or sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and a spice mixture called pumpkin pie spice, which includes nutmeg and other spices (e.g., ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, mace), then baked in a pie shell. Similar pies are made with butternut squash or sweet potato fillings.

The pumpkin is native to the continent of North America. The pumpkin was an early export to France; from there it was introduced to Tudor England, and the flesh of the “pompion” was quickly accepted as pie filler. During the seventeenth century, pumpkin pie recipes could be found in English cookbooks, such as Hannah Woolley’s The Gentlewoman’s Companion (1675). Pumpkin “pies” made by early American colonists were more likely to be a savory soup made and served in a pumpkin than a sweet custard in a crust.

It was not until the early nineteenth century that the recipes appeared in Canadian and American cookbooks or pumpkin pie became a common addition to the Thanksgiving dinner. The Pilgrims brought the pumpkin pie back to New England, while the English method of cooking the pumpkin took a different course. In the 19th century, the English pumpkin pie was prepared by stuffing the pumpkin with apples, spices, and sugar and then baking it whole. In the United States after the Civil War, the pumpkin pie was resisted in southern states as a symbol of Yankee culture imposed on the south, where there was no tradition of eating pumpkin pie. Many southern cooks instead made sweet potato pie, or added bourbon and pecans to give a southern touch.

A can of pureed pumpkin, typically used as the main ingredient in the pie filling

Today, throughout much of the United States, it is traditional to serve pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner. Additionally, many modern companies produce seasonal pumpkin pie-flavored products such as candy, cheesecake, coffee, ice cream, french toast, waffles and pancakes, and many breweries produce a seasonal pumpkin ale or beer; these are generally not flavored with pumpkins, but rather pumpkin pie spices. Commercially made pumpkin pie mix is made from Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata (Libbey Select uses the Select Dickinson Pumpkin variety of C. moschata for its canned pumpkins).

Pumpkin pies were briefly discouraged from Thanksgiving dinners in 1947 as part of a rationing campaign, mainly because of the eggs in the recipe.

The world’s largest pumpkin pie was made in New Bremen, Ohio, at the New Bremen Pumpkinfest. It was created on September 25, 2010. The pie consisted of 1,212 pounds of canned pumpkin, 109 gallons of evaporated milk, 2,796 eggs, 7 pounds of salt, 14.5 pounds of cinnamon, and 525 pounds of sugar. The final pie weighed 3,699 pounds and measured 20 feet in diameter.

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