One of America’s Favorites – Caramel Apple

October 15, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Caramel apple with peanuts

Caramel apples or taffy apples are created by dipping or rolling apples-on-a-stick in hot caramel, sometimes then rolling them in nuts or other small savories or confections, and allowing them to cool. Generally, they are called caramel apples when only caramel is applied and taffy apples for when there are further ingredients such as peanuts applied.

For high-volume production of caramel apples, a sheet of caramel can be wrapped around the apple, followed by heating the apple to melt the caramel evenly onto it. This creates a harder caramel that is easier to transport but more difficult to eat. Caramel apple production at home usually involves melting pre-purchased caramel candies for dipping or making a homemade caramel from ingredients like corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Homemade caramel generally results in a softer, creamier coating.

Bags of caramels are commonly sold during the Autumn months in America for making caramel apples.

In recent years, it has become increasingly popular to decorate caramel apples for holidays like Halloween. Methods used to do this include applying sugar or salt to softened caramel, dipping cooled, hardened apples in white or milk chocolate, or painting designs onto finished caramel apples with white chocolate colored with food coloring.

Classically, the preferred apples for use in caramel apples are tart, crisp apples such as Granny Smith or Fuji apples. Softer, grainy-textured apples can also be used, but are not preferred.

In addition to caramel apples, manufacturers and consumers have started to coat apples in chocolate syrup, peanut butter, etc. and adding toppings such as crushed peanuts, pretzels, mini M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, coconut flakes, and mini chocolate chips. Candy apple shops and candy apple bars have started to pop up in bigger cities, at weddings and parties to allow people to enjoy the apple with the dipping sauces and toppings they prefer.

* I always think of these around the Halloween Season. When I was growing up my Grandparents owned a small neighborhood store. Every Halloween Season my Grandmother would just make endless amounts of Caramel Apple with crushed Peanuts on them. So Good!!

 

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Lunch Meat of the Week – Corned Beef

October 11, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Corned beef

Corned beef is a salt-cured beef product. The term comes from the treatment of the meat with large grained rock salt, also called “corns” of salt. It is featured as an ingredient in many cuisines.

Most recipes include nitrates or nitrites, which convert the natural myoglobin in beef to nitrosomyoglobin, giving a pink color. Nitrates and nitrites reduce the risk of dangerous botulism during curing by inhibiting the growth of Clostridium botulinum spores, but have been shown to be linked to increased cancer risk. Beef cured with salt only has a gray color and is sometimes called “New England corned beef.” Sometimes, sugar and spices are also added to corned beef recipes.

It was popular during World War I and World War II, when fresh meat was rationed. It also remains especially popular in Canada in a variety of dishes.

A corned beef on rye bread sandwich

Although the exact beginnings of corned beef are unknown, it most likely came about when people began preserving meat through salt-curing. Evidence of its legacy is apparent in numerous cultures, including ancient Europe and the Middle East. The word corn derives from Old English and is used to describe any small, hard particles or grains. In the case of corned beef, the word may refer to the coarse, granular salts used to cure the beef. The word “corned” may also refer to the corns of potassium nitrate, also known as saltpeter, which were formerly used to preserve the meat.

Corned beef on a bagel with mustard

In North America, corned beef dishes are associated with traditional Irish cuisine. However, considerable debate remains about the association of corned beef with Ireland. Mark Kurlansky, in his book Salt, states that the Irish produced a salted beef around the Middle Ages that was the “forerunner of what today is known as Irish corned beef” and in the 17th century, the English named the Irish salted beef “corned beef”.

Some say until the wave of 18th-century Irish immigration to the United States, many of the ethnic Irish had not begun to consume corned beef dishes as seen today. The popularity of corned beef compared to bacon among the immigrant Irish may have been due to corned beef being considered a luxury product in their native land, while it was cheaply and readily available in America.

The Jewish population produced similar salt-cured meat from beef brisket, which Irish immigrants purchased as corned beef from Jewish butchers. This may have been facilitated by the close cultural interactions and collaboration of these two diverse cultures in the United States’ main 19th- and 20th-century immigrant port of entry, New York City.

Corned beef hash out of the can

Canned corned beef has long been one of the standard meals included in military field ration packs around the world, due to its simplicity and instant preparation in such rations. One example is the American Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) pack. Astronaut John Young sneaked a contraband corned beef sandwich on board Gemini 3, hiding it in a pocket of his spacesuit.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Cincinnati Chili

October 8, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A Cincinnati chili 5-way over spaghetti

Cincinnati chili (or Cincinnati-style chili) is a Mediterranean-spiced meat sauce used as a topping for spaghetti (a “two-way”) or hot dogs (“coneys”), both dishes developed by Macedonian immigrant restaurateurs in the 1920s. Ingredients include ground beef, water or stock, tomato paste, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cumin, chili powder, bay leaf, and in some recipes unsweetened dark chocolate in a soupy consistency. Other toppings include cheese, onions, and beans; specific combinations of toppings are known as “ways.” The name “Cincinnati chili” is often confusing to those unfamiliar with it, who expect the dish to be similar to chili con carne; as a result, it is common for those encountering it for the first time to conclude it is a poor example of chili.

While served in many local restaurants, it is most often associated with the over 250 “chili parlors” (restaurants specializing in Cincinnati chili), found throughout greater Cincinnati with franchise locations throughout Ohio and in Kentucky, Indiana, and Florida. The dish is the area’s best-known regional food.

Cincinnati chili originated with immigrant restaurateurs from the Macedonian region who were trying to expand their customer base by moving beyond narrowly ethnic styles of cuisine. Tom and John Kiradjieff began serving a “stew with traditional Mediterranean spices” as a topping for hot dogs which they called “coneys” in 1922 at their hot dog stand located next to a burlesque theater called the Empress. Tom Kiradjieff used the sauce to modify a traditional Greek dish, speculated to have been pastitsio, moussaka or saltsa kima to come up with a dish he called chili spaghetti. He first developed a recipe calling for the spaghetti to be cooked in the chili but changed his method in response to customer requests and began serving the sauce as a topping, eventually adding grated cheese as a topping for both the chili spaghetti and the coneys, also in response to customer requests. To make ordering more efficient, the brothers created the “way” system of ordering. The style has since been copied and modified by many other restaurant proprietors, often fellow Greek and Macedonian immigrants who had worked at Empress restaurants before leaving to open their own chili parlors, often following the business model to the point of locating their restaurants adjacent to theaters.

Empress was the largest chili parlor chain in Cincinnati until 1949, when a former Empress employee and Greek

Price Hill Chili

immigrant, Nicholas Lambrinides, started Skyline Chili. In 1965, four brothers named Daoud, immigrants from Jordan, bought a restaurant called Hamburger Heaven from a former Empress employee, noticed the Cincinnati chili was outselling the hamburgers on their menu, and changed the restaurant’s name to Gold Star Chili. As of 2015 Skyline (over 130 locations) and Gold Star (89 locations) were the largest Cincinnati chili parlor chains, while Empress had only two remaining locations, down from over a dozen during the chain’s most successful period.

Besides Empress, Skyline, and Gold Star, there are also smaller chains such as Dixie Chili and Deli and numerous independents including the acclaimed Camp Washington Chili, probably the most well-known of the independents.Other independents include Pleasant Ridge Chili, Blue Ash Chili, Park Chili Parlor, Price Hill Chili, Chili Time, and the Blue Jay Restaurant, in all totalling more than 250 chili parlors. In addition to the chili parlors, some version of Cincinnati chili is commonly served at many local restaurants. Arnold’s Bar and Grill, the oldest bar in the city, serves a vegetarian “Cincy Lentils” dish ordered in “ways”. Melt Eclectic Cafe offers a vegan 3-way. For Restaurant Week 2018, a local mixologist developed a cocktail called “Manhattan Skyline,” a Cincinnati chili-flavored whiskey cocktail.

The history of Cincinnati chili shares many factors in common with the apparently independent but simultaneous development of the Coney Island hot dog in other areas of the United States. “Virtually all” were developed by Greek or Macedonian immigrants who passed through Ellis Island as they fled the fallout from the Balkan Wars in the first two decades of the twentieth century.

Raw ground beef is crumbled in water and/or stock, tomato paste and seasonings are added, and the mixture is brought to a boil and then simmered for several hours to form a thin meat sauce. Many recipes call for an overnight chill in the refrigerator to allow for easy skimming of fat and to allow flavors to develop, then reheating to serve. Typical proportions are 2 pounds of ground beef to 4 cups of water and 6 oz tomato paste to make 8 servings.

Ordering Cincinnati chili is based on a specific ingredient series: chili, spaghetti, grated cheddar cheese, diced onions, and kidney beans. The number before the “way” of the chili determines which ingredients are included in each chili order. Customers order a:

Two-way: spaghetti topped with chili (also called “chili spaghetti”)

A Cincinnati chili 4-way garnished with oyster crackers

Three-way: spaghetti, chili, and cheese

Four-way onion: spaghetti, chili, cheese, and onions

Five-way: spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions, and beans

Some restaurants, among them Skyline and Gold Star, do not use the term “four-way bean”, instead using the term “four-way” to denote a three-way plus the customer’s choice of onions or beans. Some restaurants may add extra ingredients to the “way” system; for example, Dixie Chili offers a “six-way”, which adds chopped garlic to a five-way. “Ways” are traditionally served in a shallow oval bowl. Cincinnati chili is also used as a hot dog topping to make a “coney”, a regional variation on the Coney Island chili dog, which is topped with grated cheddar cheese to make a “cheese coney”. The standard coney also includes mustard and chopped onion. The “Three-way” and the “Cheese Coney” are the most popular orders and very few customers order a bowl of plain chili. Most chili parlors do not offer plain chili as a regular menu item.

Oyster crackers are usually served with Cincinnati chili, and a mild hot sauce such as Tabasco is frequently available to be used as an optional topping to be added at the table. Locals eat Cincinnati chili with a fork, cutting each bite as if it were a casserole and never twirling.

Cincinnati chili is the area’s “best known regional food”. According to the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors

Cheese coneys

Bureau, Cincinnatians consume more than 2,000,000 lb (910,000 kg) of Cincinnati chili each year, topped by 850,000 lb (390,000 kg) of shredded cheddar cheese. Overall industry revenues were $250 million in 2014.

Anthony Bourdain called it, “the story of America on your plate.” National food critics Jane and Michael Stern wrote, “As connoisseurs of blue-plate food, we consider Cincinnati chili one of America’s quintessential meals” and “one of this nation’s most distinctive regional plates of food”. Huffington Post named it one of “15 Beloved Regional Dishes”. In 2000, Camp Washington Chili won a James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award. In 2013, Smithsonian named Cincinnati chili one of “20 Most Iconic Foods in America”, calling out Camp Washington Chili as their destination of choice. John McIntyre, writing in the Baltimore Sun, called it “the most perfect of fast foods”, and, referring to the misnomer, opined that “if the Greeks who invented it nearly a century ago had called it something other than chili, the [chili] essentialists would be able to enjoy it”. In 2015, Thrillist named it “the one food you must eat in Ohio.”

 

One of America’s Favorites – Hot Dog

October 1, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A cooked hot dog in a bun with mustard

The hot dog or dog (also spelled hotdog) is a grilled or steamed link-sausage sandwich where the sausage is served in the slit of a special hot dog bun, a partially sliced bun. It can also refer to just the sausage (the wurst or wörst) of its composition. Typical sausages include wiener (Vienna sausage), frankfurter (or frank), or knackwurst. The names of these sausages also commonly refer to their assembled sandwiches. Typical condiments include mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, and relish, and common garnishes include onions, sauerkraut, chili, cheese, coleslaw, and olives. Hot dog variants include the corn dog and pigs in a blanket. The hot dog’s cultural traditions include the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Although schnitzel does not commonly refer to a link sausage, the fast food restaurant Wienerschnitzel is famous for its hot dogs.

These types of sausages and their sandwiches were culturally imported from Germany and popularized in the United

Carts selling frankfurters in New York City, circa 1906.

States, where the “hot dog” became a working-class street food sold at hot dog stands and carts. The hot dog became closely associated with baseball and American culture. Hot dog preparation and condiments vary regionally in the US. Although particularly connected with New York City and its cuisine, the hot dog eventually became ubiquitous throughout the US during the 20th century, and emerged as an important part of other regional cuisines (notably Chicago street cuisine).

Claims about the invention of the hot dog are difficult to assess, as different stories assert different origin points for the distinction between hot dogs and other similar foods. The history of the dish may begin with the creation of the sausage, with the placing of the sausage on bread or a bun as finger food, with the popularization of the existing dish, or with the application of the name “hot dog” to a sausage and bun combination most commonly used with ketchup or mustard and sometimes relish.

The word “frankfurter” comes from Frankfurt, Germany, where pork sausages similar to hot dogs originated. These sausages, Frankfurter Würstchen, were known since the 13th century and given to the people on the event of imperial coronations, starting with the coronation of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor as King. “Wiener” refers to Vienna, Austria, whose German name is “Wien”, home to a sausage made of a mixture of pork and beef. Johann Georg Lahner, an 18th/19th century butcher from the Franconian city of Coburg, is said to have brought the Frankfurter Würstchen to Vienna, where he added beef to the mixture and simply called it Frankfurter. Nowadays, in German-speaking countries, except Austria, hot dog sausages are called Wiener or Wiener Würstchen (Würstchen means “little sausage”), in differentiation to the original pork-only mixture from Frankfurt. In Swiss German, it is called Wienerli, while in Austria the terms Frankfurter or Frankfurter Würstel are used.

Others are credited with first serving hot dogs on rolls. A German immigrant named Feuchtwanger, from Frankfurt, in Hesse, allegedly pioneered the practice in the American midwest; there are several versions of the story with varying

Grilled hot dogs

details. According to one account, Feuchtwanger’s wife proposed the use of a bun in 1880: Feuchtwanger sold hot dogs on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, and provided gloves to his customers so that they could handle the sausages without burning their hands. Losing money when customers did not return the gloves, Feuchtwanger’s wife suggested serving the sausages in a roll instead. In another version, Antoine Feuchtwanger, or Anton Ludwig Feuchtwanger, served sausages in rolls at the World’s Fair – either at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, or, earlier, at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, in Chicago – again, allegedly because the white gloves provided to customers to protect their hands were being kept as souvenirs.

Another possible origin for serving the sausages in rolls is the pieman Charles Feltman, at Coney Island in New York City. In 1867 he had a cart made with a stove on which to boil sausages, and a compartment to keep buns fresh in which they were served. In 1871 he leased land to build a permanent restaurant, and the business grew, selling far more than just the “Coney Island Red Hots” as they were known.

In 1916, a Polish American employee of Feltman’s named Nathan Handwerker was encouraged by Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante, both working as waiters/musicians, to go into business in competition with his former employer. Handwerker undercut Feltman’s by charging five cents for a hot dog when his former employer was charging ten.

At an earlier time in food regulation, when the hot dog was suspect, Handwerker made sure that men wearing surgeon’s smocks were seen eating at Nathan’s Famous to reassure potential customers.

Common hot dog ingredients include:

Meat trimmings and fat, e.g. mechanically separated meat, pink slime, meat slurry

Hot dog garnished with ketchup and onions

Flavorings, such as salt, garlic, and paprika
Preservatives (cure) – typically sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite
Pork and beef are the traditional meats used in hot dogs. Less expensive hot dogs are often made from chicken or turkey, using low-cost mechanically separated poultry. Typical hot dog ingredients contain sodium, saturated fat and nitrite, which when consumed in excess have been linked to health problems. Changes in meat technology and dietary preferences have led manufacturers to use turkey, chicken, vegetarian meat substitutes, and to lower the salt content.

Commercial preparation
Hot dogs are prepared commercially by mixing the ingredients (meats, spices, binders and fillers) in vats where rapidly moving blades grind and mix the ingredients in the same operation. This mixture is forced through tubes into casings for cooking. Most hot dogs sold in the US are “skinless” as opposed to more expensive “natural casing” hot dogs.

Natural-casing hot dogs
As with most sausages, hot dogs must be in a casing to be cooked. Traditional casing is made from the small

A hot dog bun toaster

intestines of sheep. The products are known as “natural casing” hot dogs or frankfurters. These hot dogs have firmer texture and a “snap” that releases juices and flavor when the product is bitten.

Kosher casings are expensive in commercial quantities in the US, so kosher hot dogs are usually skinless or made with reconstituted collagen casings.

Skinless hot dogs
“Skinless” hot dogs must use a casing in the cooking process when the product is manufactured, but the casing is usually a long tube of thin cellulose that is removed between cooking and packaging. This process was invented in Chicago in 1925 by Erwin O. Freund, founder of Visking which would later become Viskase Companies.

The first skinless hot dog casings were produced by Freund’s new company under the name “Nojax”, short for “no jackets” and sold to local Chicago sausage makers.

Skinless hot dogs vary in the texture of the product surface but have a softer “bite” than natural casing hot dogs. Skinless hot dogs are more uniform in shape and size than natural casing hot dogs and less expensive.

Home consumption
A hot dog (wiener) is prepared and served in various ways. Reheated (for food safety purposes) by any of several

A “home-cooked” hot dog with ketchup, mustard, raw onion, fried onion, artificial bacon bits, and pickle relish

methods, it is boiled, grilled, fried, steamed, broiled, baked, microwaved, toasted, and even electro-shocked (Presto Hot Dogger). Typically it is served on a hot-dog bun with prepared mustard (and optionally with choices of many other condiments), or several may be sliced laterally into bite-size pieces and used for protein in other dishes, such as rice, beans, soup or a casserole. There are many appliances dedicated (or that lend themselves) to the reheating of wieners and the warming of hot-dog buns.

In the US, the term “hot dog” refers to both the sausage by itself and the combination of sausage and bun. Many nicknames applying to either have emerged over the years, including frankfurter, frank, wiener, weenie, coney, and red hot. Annually, Americans consume 20 billion hot dogs.

Hot dog restaurants
Hot dog stands and trucks sell hot dogs at street and highway locations. Wandering hot dog vendors sell their product in baseball parks. At convenience stores, hot dogs are kept heated on rotating grills. 7-Eleven sells the most grilled hot dogs in North America — 100 million annually. Hot dogs are also common on restaurants’ children’s menus.

Hot dogs are commonly served with one or more condiments. In 2005, the US-based National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (part of the American Meat Institute) found mustard to be the most popular, preferred by 32% of respondents; 23% favored ketchup; 17% chili con carne; 9% pickle relish, and 7% onions. Other toppings include sauerkraut, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and chili peppers.

Condiment preferences vary across the U.S.. Southerners showed the strongest preference for chili, while Midwesterners showed the greatest affinity for ketchup.

Variations
An endless list of hot dog variations has emerged. The original king, known today as a “New York dog” or “New York style”, is a natural casing all-beef frank topped with sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard, onions optional. Sauteed bell peppers, onions, and potatoes find their way into New Jersey’s deep-fried Italian hot dog. In the midwest, the Chicago-style hot dog reigns, served on a poppyseed bun and topped with mustard, fresh tomatoes, onions, “sport peppers”, bright green relish, dill pickles, and celery salt.

Many variations are named after regions other than the one in which they are popular. Meaty Michigan hot dogs are popular in upstate New York (as are white hots), while beefy Coney Island hot dogs are popular in Michigan. Hot wieners, or weenies, are a staple in Rhode Island where they are sold at restaurants with the misleading name “New York System.” Texas hot dogs are spicy variants found in upstate New York and Pennsylvania (and as “all the way dogs” in New Jersey), but not Texas.

Some baseball parks have signature hot dogs, such as Dodger Dogs at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and Fenway Franks at Fenway Park in Boston, which are boiled then grilled,[citation needed] and served on a New England-style bun.

The world’s longest hot dog created was 197 ft), which rested within a 198 ft bun. The hot dog was prepared by Shizuoka Meat Producers for the All-Japan Bread Association, which baked the bun and coordinated the event, including official measurement for the world record. The hot dog and bun were the center of a media event in celebration of the Association’s 50th anniversary on August 4, 2006, at the Akasaka Prince Hotel, Tokyo, Japan.

A hot dog prepared by head chef Joe Calderone in Manhattan sold for $69 during the National Hot Dog Day in 2010, making it the most expensive hot dog sold at the time. The hot dog was topped with truffle oil, duck foie gras, and truffle butter.

On May 31, 2012, Guinness World Records certified the world record for most expensive hot dog at $145.49. The

A Coney Island hot dog with chili, onion, and mustard

“California Capitol City Dawg”, served at Capitol Dawg in Sacramento, California, features a grilled 18 in all-beef in natural casing frank from Chicago, served on a fresh baked herb and oil focaccia roll, spread with white truffle butter, then grilled. The record breaking hot dog is topped with a whole grain mustard from France, garlic and herb mayonnaise, sauteed chopped shallots, organic mixed baby greens, maple syrup marinated/fruitwood smoked uncured bacon from New Hampshire, chopped tomato, expensive moose cheese from Sweden, sweetened dried cranberries, basil olive oil/pear-cranberry-coconut balsamic vinaigrette, and ground peppercorn. Proceeds from the sale of each 3 lb super dog are donated to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Cheese and Crackers

September 24, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Cheese and crackers

Cheese and crackers is a common dish consisting of crackers paired with various or multiple cheeses. It is also known as cheese and biscuits outside the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Historically the fare of sailors, soldiers, and pioneers, it became popular in American restaurants and taverns around the 1850s. It is prepared using various types of cheeses, and is often paired with wine. Mass-produced cheese and crackers brands include Handi-Snacks, Ritz, Jatz and Lunchables.

 

 

Cheese and crackers with red wine and other foods

Cheese and crackers is a common snack food or hors d’oeuvre consisting of crackers paired with various cheeses. In the United States it has also been served as a dessert, with the addition of ingredients such as jam, jelly, marmalade or preserves. It is also commonly served at parties in the U.S., and in the Southern United States, it is relatively common for hot chili pepper jelly to be served atop cream cheese and crackers at cocktail parties. Cheese and crackers has a relatively high amount of protein, per the cheese as an ingredient.

Cheese and crackers is a common food-pairing that can serve to complement various cheeses, and the dish can be paired with wines. The cheese can be sliced or cubed, and served separately with crackers or pre-placed atop the crackers.

Cheese and crackers has been consumed by various sailors such as immigrants, whalers and explorers before refrigeration existed, using hardtack crackers and cheese. It has also been consumed by various land explorers.

Cheese and crackers with cubed cheddar cheese

Cheese and crackers increased in popularity circa the 1850s, when bakers began producing thinner crackers with a lighter texture compared to hard tack. During this time period, the combination was placed on restaurant menus as an after-dessert course and was also served in saloons. Cheese and crackers was a food ration used by soldiers during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Some soldiers at the time referred to cheese and crackers as a “square meal”. Cheese and hardtack was consumed along with dried venison meat by Ezra Meeker during his time on the Oregon Trail in 1852. In 1915, mountaineer Philip Rogers consumed cheese and hardtack along with raisins and nuts during his expedition around Mount Rainier in Washington state.

Circa the beginning of the 20th century, cheese and crackers was being prepared in homes and cooked by baking it and adding additional ingredients after cooking, such as paprika and mustard. At this time, the combination was sometimes served with soups and salads, and was used on salads for decades thereafter. It was also commonly served at parties beginning around this time. It was consumed as a dessert, rather than after-dessert by some during the Great Depression in the United States, and was sometimes consumed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House for dessert, along with other foods.

Starting in the 1950s, cheese and crackers was recommended as a snack for children by parenting experts, home economists and authors of cookbooks. The snack increased in popularity during the mid-1980s when Oscar Mayer introduced its Lunchables product, which included cheese, crackers and lunch meat, and occurred in part to boost the company’s lunch meat sales.

A Handi-Snack

Handi-Snacks is a mass-produced cheese and crackers snack food that is prepared using processed cheese. Lunchables is another commercial product that includes cheese and crackers as ingredients. Fancy cheese and crackers was a cheese and crackers lunch product purveyed by Oscar Mayer in the mid-1980s that included additional foods such as lunch meat and a dessert.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Blueberry Pie

September 17, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A slice of blueberry pie with traditional crust

Blueberry pie is a pie with a blueberry filling. Blueberry pie is considered one of the easiest pies to make because it does not require pitting or peeling of fruit. It usually has a top and bottom crust. The top crust can be a circular crust but the pie can also have a crumble crust or no top crust at all. Blueberry pies are often eaten in the summertime because that is when blueberries are in season.

Blueberry pies were already baked in Germany before European settlers came to America. Blueberry pie was first eaten by early American settlers and remains a popular dessert in the United States and Canada. Similar desserts are prepared in Europe with bilberries. Blueberry pie made with wild Maine blueberries is the official state dessert of the U.S. state of Maine. Blueberry pie has been documented in the Appledore Cook Book in 1872.

Blueberry pie with almond crumb topping

A typical ingredient for blueberry pie are rinsed and stemmed blueberries. The berries can be frozen or fresh. Other ingredients include flour, or instant tapioca. cinnamon, [[nutmeg{],sugar, vanilla and butter. Recipes may vary ingredients.

Nutrients
Macro
The macronutrient count for a serving of blueberry pie is around 12.5 grams of fat, 43.6 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.3 grams of protein, for a calorie count of 290.

Micro
Blueberry pie has several vitamins including vitamin A, Folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Blueberry pie also has a variety of minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Spiedie

September 10, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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The spiedie /ˈspiːdi/ is a meat sandwich local to Binghamton in the central Southern Tier of New York State, and somewhat more broadly known and enjoyed throughout Central New York. A spiedie consists of cubes of chicken, pork, lamb, veal, venison or beef. The meat cubes are marinated overnight or longer, then grilled on spits over a charcoal pit.

The traditional method involves serving freshly prepared cubes of lamb, chicken, or beef on soft Italian bread or a

Chicken spiedie sandwich

submarine roll, occasionally drizzled with fresh marinade. Spiedie meat cubes can also be eaten straight off the skewer or can be served in salads, stir fries, and a number of other dishes. The marinade recipe varies, usually involving olive oil, vinegar, and a variety of Italian spices and fresh mint.

Spiedies have been celebrated at the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally in Binghamton, New York every August since 1983. The annual event includes a spiedie cook-off in search of the best spiedie recipes.

The original idea for the spiedie was brought by Italian immigrants to upstate New York in the early 1920s. The specific origin of the spiedie is disputed. Traditionally, the early Broome County spiedie was made only from spring lamb, but currently most commercial restaurants prepare spiedies using chicken or pork. The “chicken category” was added to the Spiedie Fest cook-off in 1987, and quickly became the most popular meat choice.

Camillo Iacovelli created the spiedie in Endwell, New York, but his brother Agostino “Augie” Iacovelli and Peter Sharak popularized spiedies, Iacovelli in his Endicott restaurant, and Sharak at Sharky’s Bar and Grill in Binghamton.

Augie Iacovelli began serving spiedie sandwiches in 1939 when he opened Augie’s, his first restaurant. He emigrated from Abruzzo, Italy (Civitella Casanova) at the age of 25 in 1923. His son Guido continued in the spiedie business into the 1990s, owning as many as 26 restaurants at the peak of his career.

Iacovelli’s marinade, which he called “zuzu”, originally was made simply from wine vinegar, water, lemon juice, garlic and mint. Italian spices, olive oil and minced onion were added later as regional tastes and the choice of meat began to vary.

Sharak is also alleged to have invented spiedies. Apparently, patrons of Sharkey’s were served lamb straight from the grill on a metal skewer with slices of bread. Sharkey’s promotes itself as the birthplace of the sandwich in television commercials across the greater Binghamton area.

Though the issue is disputed, Sharkey’s began serving spiedies in 1947, which makes Iacovelli more likely to have invented the dish first.

Through the 1960s and 1970s, spiedies also became popular with the families of deer hunters, since venison has a strong game quality and is similar to lamb. Many local families made their own marinade and enjoyed the wild game as a delicacy cooked on backyard grills.

In 1975, Rob Salamida became the first person to bottle the sauce and sell it. He began by cooking spiedies outside a local tavern at 16. After writing letters for over a year, he was allowed to have his own booth at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, New York. For 12 years he built his reputation at the fair. After a tornado nearly struck his stand in 1975, he decided it would be more lucrative and safer to bottle a spiedie marinade.

Through the 1980s, Danny “Moonbeam” Fallon (a local track racing star) furthered the popularity of spiedies by selling them from porches of local bars, including the Headquarter Bar in Johnson City, at night to finance his motorcycle racing hobby. Lori Vesely featured spiedies straight off the grill at The Endwell Pub. The pork was especially good for long grilling times, making the bar spiedie a favorite of both staff and customers.

In 1983, a few families got together and held a Spiedie Fest that was a tremendous hit. Coupled with a Balloon Rally, it quickly grew to an annual festival attracting more than 100,000 attendees (and also one of the top balloon rallies in the country).

 

One of America’s Favorites – Runza

September 3, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 4 Comments
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A runza (also called a bierock, krautburger, fleischkuche, or kraut pirok) is a yeast dough bread pocket with a filling consisting of beef, cabbage or sauerkraut, onions, and seasonings. They are baked in various shapes such as a half-moon, rectangle, round (bun), square, or triangle. At Runza restaurants, the runza is baked in a rectangular shape. The bierocks of Kansas, on the other hand, are generally baked in the shape of a bun.

The runza sandwich originated in Russia during the 1800s and spread to Germany before appearing in the United States. Bierock comes from the Russian pirogi or pirozhki and is the term for any food consisting of a savory filling-stuffed dough. The recipe was passed down from generation to generation and is available throughout the Americas, particularly Argentina and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba. The recipe was spread throughout the United States by the Volga Germans (Germans from Russia) and can be found in Colorado, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma and California.

The term “runza” is registered as a trademark in the United States by Nebraska-based Runza restaurants.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Slinger (dish)

August 27, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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“St. Louis Slinger”

A slinger is a Midwestern diner specialty typically consisting of two eggs, hash browns, and a hamburger patty (or any other meat) all covered in chili con carne (with or without beans) and generously topped with cheese (cheddar or American) and onions. The eggs can be any style. Hot sauce is usually served on the side. The slinger is considered to be a St. Louis late-night culinary original. It is described as “a hometown culinary invention: a mishmash of meat, hash-fried potatoes, eggs, and chili, sided with your choice of ham, sausage, bacon, hamburger patties, or an entire T-bone steak.

Variations
There are numerous variations of the basic slinger:

* “Top one”: has a tamale served on top of the slinger
* “Vegetarian”: uses veggie burgers and veggie chili
* “The Toby”/”the Hoosier”: slinger that has white gravy instead of chili. (Named after a customer at Tiffany’s Original Diner).
* “Yin and yang”: slinger covered in half chili and half gravy. A customer favorite at Tiffany’s Original Diner, and named by manager Tom Gray. (The yin and yang is both light and dark in color).
* “The Jared”: slinger with equal amounts of chili and white gravy
* “The JP slinger”: slinger with hamburger patty, extra onions and extra chili
* “Devil’s delight”: slinger without the hamburgers patties at Courtesy Diner
* “Chicago style”: served with white bread toast on the side, burgers are specified as “cheeseburger patties”, eggs are specified as over easy, and must contain grilled onions.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Rabbit Pie

August 20, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A meat pie made with rabbit and chicken

Rabbit pie is a game pie consisting of rabbit meat in a gravy with other ingredients (typically onions, celery and carrots) enclosed in a pastry crust. Rabbit pie is part of traditional American and English cuisine. It has recently found renewed popularity.

Wild rabbit, as opposed to farmed, is most often used as it is easily and affordably obtained, and is described as more flavorsome.

Along with rabbit meat, ingredients of the filling of a rabbit pie typically include onions, celery and carrots. Other ingredients may include prunes, bacon and cider. Australian recipes for rabbit pie sometimes include the food paste Vegemite as an ingredient.

Rabbit pie was a staple dish of the American pioneers. Thanks to the increasing demand for wild and fresh ingredients, rabbit pie is often seen on the menus of fashionable restaurants and gastropubs.

Two huge rabbit pies are part of traditional Easter celebrations in the English village of Hallaton, Leicestershire.

In Beatrix Potter’s children’s book The Tale of Peter Rabbit, the title character’s father was put into a rabbit pie for going into Mr McGregor’s garden.

 

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