Feast of the Seven Fishes

December 22, 2013 at 12:09 PM | Posted in seafood | Leave a comment
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The Feast of the Seven Fishes (Italian: Festa dei sette pesci), also known as The Vigil (Italian: La Vigilia), is a celebration of Christmas Eve with meals of fish and other seafood.

 

 

Fried calamares

Fried calamares

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American Christmas celebration. Today, it is a feast that typically consists of seven different seafood dishes. However, some Italian-American families have been known to celebrate with nine, eleven or thirteen different seafood dishes. This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. It is unclear when the term “Feast of the Seven Fishes” was popularized.

 

 

 

The long tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstinence – in this case, refraining from the consumption of meat or milk products – on Wednesdays, Fridays and (in the Latin Church) Saturdays, as well as during Lent and on the eve of specific holy days. As no meat or butter could be used on such days, observant Catholics would instead eat fish, typically fried in oil.
The meal may include seven, eight, or even nine specific fishes that are considered traditional. The most famous dish Southern Italians are known for is baccalà (salted cod fish). The custom of celebrating with a simple fish such as baccalà is attributed to the greatly impoverished regions of Southern Italy. Fried smelts, calamari and other types of seafood have been incorporated into the Christmas Eve dinner over the years.

 

 

 

The meal’s components may include some combination of anchovies, whiting, lobster, sardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eels, squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels and clams.[2] The menu may also include pastas, vegetables, baked or fried kale patties, baked goods and homemade wine. This tradition remains very popular to this day.

 

Skewered whelks

Skewered whelks

Popular dishes:

Baccalà (salt cod) with pasta, as a salad or fried
Baked cod
Cod fish balls in tomato sauce
Deep fried cod
Deep fried fish/shrimp
Deep fried scallops
Dolphinfish (Baked or Fried)
Fried smelts
Insalata di mare (seafood salad)
Linguine with anchovy, clam, lobster, tuna, or crab sauce
Marinated or fried eel
Octopus salad
Oyster shooters
Scungilli salad
Stuffed calamari in tomato sauce
Stuffed-baked lobsters
Stuffed-baked quahogs
Whiting

 

 

 

September 26-29, 2013 Barnesville Pumpkin Festival – Barnesville, Ohio

September 24, 2013 at 9:08 AM | Posted in Festivals | Leave a comment
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September 26-29, 2013 Barnesville Pumpkin FestivalBarnesville, Ohio

Barnesville Pumpkin Festival
The Barnesville Pumpkin Festival has become a tradition for families and friends who come each year to enjoy one of Ohio‘s oldest and most popular festivals. Always held during the last full weekend in September, the Festival includes four days of fun-filled contests, entertainment, tastes, sights and sounds. The festival started in 1963 in the basement of the Catholic Church and has has evolved from a small street fair to a premier event with visitors attending from all over the United States. Both adults and children will enjoy harvest-inspired arts and crafts, home-style foods, entertainment on two stages, a giant weigh-in of champion pumpkins, lots of fun contests and the Giant Pumpkin Festival Parade on Saturday. There is plenty to see and do and, best of all, admission is free.

 
http://www.barnesvillepumpkinfestival.com/

Lucky Foods for the New Year

December 28, 2012 at 10:43 AM | Posted in Food | Leave a comment
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Lucky Foods for the New Year
Our guide to feasting for future fortune
By Lauren Salkeld
F or many, January 1 offers an opportunity to forget the past and make a clean start. But instead of leaving everything up to fate, why not enjoy a meal to increase your good fortune? There are a variety of foods that are believed to be lucky and to improve the odds that next year will be a great one. Traditions vary from culture to culture, but there are striking similarities in what’s consumed in different pockets of the world: The six major categories of auspicious foods are grapes, greens, fish, pork, legumes, and cakes. Whether you want to create a full menu of lucky foods or just supplement your meal, we have an assortment of recipes, guaranteed to make for a happy new year, or at the very least a happy belly.

Grapes
New Year’s revelers in Spain consume twelve grapes at midnight—one grape for each stroke of the clock. This dates back to 1909, when grape growers in the Alicante region of Spain initiated the practice to take care of a grape surplus. The idea stuck, spreading to Portugal as well as former Spanish and Portuguese colonies such as Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. Each grape represents a different month, so if for instance the third grape is a bit sour, March might be a rocky month. For most, the goal is to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, but Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.

Cooked Greens
Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year’s in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage) while in the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It’s widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one’s fortune next year.

Legumes
Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. In Italy, it’s customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight—a particularly propitious meal because pork has its own lucky associations. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice, and in Japan, the osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the new year, includes sweet black beans called kuro-mame.

In the Southern United States, it’s traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin’ john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky.

Pork
The custom of eating pork on New Year’s is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year’s in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Different pork dishes such as pig’s feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity.

Fish
Fish is a very logical choice for the New Year’s table. According to Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, cod has been a popular feast food since the Middle Ages. He compares it to turkey on Thanksgiving. The reason? Long before refrigeration and modern transportation, cod could be preserved and transported allowing it to reach the Mediterranean and even as far as North Africa and the Caribbean. Kurlansky also believes the Catholic Church’s policy against red meat consumption on religious holidays helped make cod, as well as other fish, commonplace at feasts. The Danish eat boiled cod, while in Italy, baccalà, or dried salt cod, is enjoyed from Christmas through New Year’s. Herring, another frequently preserved fish, is consumed at midnight in Poland and Germany—Germans also enjoy carp and have been known to place a few fish scales in their wallets for good luck. The Swedish New Year feast is usually a smorgasbord with a variety of fish dishes such as seafood salad. In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest (sardines were once used to fertilize rice fields).

Cakes, Etc.
Cakes and other baked goods are commonly served from Christmas to New Year’s around the world, with a special emphasis placed on round or ring-shaped items. Italy has chiacchiere, which are honey-drenched balls of pasta dough fried and dusted with powdered sugar. Poland, Hungary, and the Netherlands also eat donuts, and Holland has ollie bollen, puffy, donut-like pastries filled with apples, raisins, and currants.
In certain cultures, it’s customary to hide a special trinket or coin inside the cake—the recipient will be lucky in the new year. Mexico’s rosca de reyes is a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit and baked with one or more surprises inside. In Greece, a special round cake called vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside. At midnight or after the New Year’s Day meal, the cake is cut, with the first piece going to St. Basil and the rest being distributed to guests in order of age. Sweden and Norway have similar rituals in which they hide a whole almond in rice pudding—whoever gets the nut is guaranteed great fortune in the new year.
Cakes aren’t always round. In Scotland, where New Year’s is called Hogmanay, there is a tradition called “first footing,” in which the first person to enter a home after the new year determines what kind of year the residents will have. The “first footer” often brings symbolic gifts like coal to keep the house warm or baked goods such as shortbread, oat cakes, and a fruit caked called black bun, to make sure the household always has food.

What Not to Eat
In addition to the aforementioned lucky foods, there are also a few to avoid. Lobster, for instance, is a bad idea because they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks. Chicken is also discouraged because the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away.
Now that you know what to eat, there’s one more superstition—that is, guideline—to keep in mind. In Germany, it’s customary to leave a little bit of each food on your plate past midnight to guarantee a stocked pantry in the New Year. Likewise in the Philippines, it’s important to have food on the table at midnight. The conclusion? Eat as much lucky food as you can, just don’t get too greedy—or the first place you’ll be going in the new year is the gym.
Read More http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/newyearsday/luckyfoods#ixzz2GMRzRsCi

Olde West Chester Christmas Walk – West Chester, Ohio

November 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Olde West Chester Christmas Walk

November 17, 2012 – November 17, 2012
Location: Olde West Chester
Address: along a stretch of Cincinnati-Dayton Road, West Chester, OH 45069
Times: From: 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Contact: Jan Arents
P:513-755-9241
Handicap Accessible: Yes

 

 

Christmas Walk 2012
Saturday, November 17th
2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 

 

Businesses in Olde West Chester along a stretch of Cincinnati-Dayton Road will usher in the holiday season by holding Festive Open Houses, Food, Raffles, Prizes, free gifts and lots of surprises. Along the route there will also be caroling, petting zoo, pony rides, crafts and an Elves Playland for children. Visit Santa 12:30 – 5 at Bookbums and get a free photo and treats. Kids photos at The Children’s Garden 2:00 – 6:00 with a portion of proceeds going to The Dragonfly Foundation. As evening arrives the streets will once again glow with lighted luminaries and at 7:00 p.m. the traditional West Chester Christmas Walk Parade will take place. Following the parade everyone is invited to meet at the Township Offices for the Lighting of the Community Christmas Tree Ceremony.

 

 

Activities:
12:30-5:00
Visit Santa at Book Bums
1:00
Cookie Walk, West Chester Presbyterian Church
2:00-7:30
Mini Mall at Focus on Youth
2:00-7:00
Petting Zoo at Thousand Words
2:00-7:00
Pony Rides at Village Spa
4:00-6:00
Animal Friends Humane Society at Village Spa
4:00-7:00
Chili Dinner at St. John’s Catholic Church
7:00
Parade from Union Day School south to Township Administration Building
7:45 (approx.)
Lighting Community Christmas Tree, Administration Building
 

Music line up in the Gazebo:
2:00 – 3:15
Midnight Rose (Celtic Trio, harp, violin, flute)
3:30 – 5:00
Rob Fenker
5:15 – 7:00
Ed Holcomb (Jazz)
8:00 – 9:00
West Chester Symphony Quartet at Book Bums

Weather Permitting

http://oldewestchester.com/

One of America’s Favorites – The Pretzel

November 12, 2012 at 11:00 AM | Posted in baking, cooking, Food | Leave a comment
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A pretzel (known as Breze(l) in German) is a type of baked food made from dough in soft and hard varieties and savory or sweet flavors

An assortment of pretzels

in a unique knot-like shape, originating in Europe. The pretzel shape is a distinctive symmetrical looped form, with the ends of a long strip of dough intertwine brought together and then twisted back onto itself in a certain way (“a pretzel loop”). Pretzels in stick form may also be called pretzels in the English-speaking context. For seasoning and decoration various glazes, salt crystals, sugar and various seeds or nuts can be used. The size varies from large enough for one to be a sufficient serving, to much smaller.

 

A bread pretzel popular in southern Germany and adjoining German-speaking areas, as well as in some areas of the United States, is made from wheat flour, water and yeast, usually sprinkled with coarse salt, hand-sized and made for consumption on the same day. It is relatively soft, rather than brittle. To avoid confusion with any other kind of pretzel, German speakers call this variety “Laugenbrezel” (lye pretzel) because it is dipped in lye solution (NaOH) before baking. Sweet pastry pretzels with many textures, toppings and coatings, are made. Crisp hard pretzels, e.g. pretzel sticks and a variety of shapes basically made from the same ingredients, have evolved from the lye pretzel by baking out excess moisture, thereby increasing shelf life and crispness.

There are numerous accounts on the origin of the looped pretzels, as well as the origin of the name; most agree that they have Christian backgrounds and were invented by monks. According to The History of Science and Technology, by Bryan Bunch and Alexander Hellemans, in 610 AD “…an Italian monk invents pretzels as a reward to children who learn their prayers. He calls the strips of baked dough, folded to resemble arms crossing the chest, ‘pretiola’ (“little rewards”)”. However, no source is cited to back up these details. Another source locates the invention in a monastery in southern France. The looped pretzel may also be related to a Greek ring bread, derived from communion bread used in monasteries a thousand years ago[when?]. In Germany there are stories that pretzels were the invention of desperate bakers. Meyers Konversations-Lexikon from 1905 suspects the origin of pretzels in a ban of heathen baking traditions, such as in the form of a sun cross, at the Synod of Estinnes in the year 743. The pretzel may have emerged as a substitute. The German name “Brezel” may derive also from Latin bracellus (a medieval term for “bracelet”), or bracchiola (“little arms”).

The pretzel has been in use as an emblem of bakers and formerly their guilds in southern German areas since at least the 12th century. A 12th-century illustration in the Hortus deliciarum from the southwest German Alsace region (today France) may contain the earliest depiction of a pretzel.

Within the Catholic Church, pretzels were regarded as having religious significance for both ingredients and shape. Pretzels made with a simple recipe using only flour and water could be eaten during Lent, when Christians were forbidden to eat eggs, lard, or dairy products such as milk and butter. As time passed, pretzels became associated with both Lent and Easter. Pretzels were hidden on Easter morning just as eggs are hidden today, and are particularly associated with Lent, fasting, and prayers before Easter.

Like the holes in the hubs of round Swedish flat bread (which let them be hung on strings), the loops in pretzels may have served a practical purpose: bakers could hang them on sticks, for instance, projecting upwards from a central column, as shown in a painting by Job Berckheyde (1630–93) from around 1681.

Pretzel baking has most firmly taken root in southern Germany and adjoining Upper German – speaking areas, and pretzels have been an integral part of German baking traditions for centuries.

Lye pretzels are popular in southern Germany, Alsace, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland as a variety of bread, a side dish or a snack, and come in many local varieties. Almost every region and even city has its own way of baking them. Examples for pretzel names in various Upper-German dialects are Brezn, Bretzel, Brezzl, Brezgen, Bretzga, Bretzet, Bretschl, Kringel, Silserli and Sülzerli. Baked for consumption on the same day, they are sold in every bakery and in special booths or stands in downtown streets. Often, they are sliced horizontally, buttered, and sold as Butterbrezel, or come with slices of cold meats or cheese. Sesame, poppy, sunflower, pumpkin or caraway seeds, melted cheese and bacon bits are other popular toppings. Some bakeries offer pretzels made of different flours, such as whole wheat, rye or spelt. In Bavaria, lye pretzels accompany a main dish such as Weisswurst sausage. The same dough and baking procedure with lye and salt is used to make other kinds of “lye pastry” (Laugengebäck): lye rolls, buns, croissants and even loaves (Laugenbrötchen, Laugenstangen, Laugencroissants, Laugenbrot). Yet, in some parts of Bavaria, especially in lower Bavaria, unglazed “white” pretzels, sprinkled with salt and caraway seeds are still popular. Basically with the same ingredients, lye pretzels come in numerous local varieties. Sizes are usually similar; the main differences are the thickness of the dough, the content of fat and the degree of baking. Typical Swabian pretzels, for example, have very thin “arms” and a “fat belly” with a split, and a higher fat content. The thicker part makes it easier to slice them for the use of sandwiches. In Bavarian pretzels, the arms are left thicker so they do not bake to a crisp and contain very little fat.

The pretzel shape is used for a variety of sweet pastries made of different types of dough (flaky, brittle, soft, crispy) with a variety of toppings (icing, nuts, seeds, cinnamon). Around Christmas they can be made of soft gingerbread (“Lebkuchen”) with chocolate coating.

In southern Germany and adjoining German-speaking areas pretzels have retained their original religious meanings and are still used in various traditions and festivals.

In some areas, on January 1, people give each other lightly sweetened yeast pretzels for good luck and good fortune. These “New-Years pretzels” are made in different sizes and can have a width of 50 centimetres (20 in) and more. Sometimes children visit their godparents to fetch their New Years pretzel. On May 1, love-struck boys used to paint a pretzel on the doors of the adored. On the other hand, an upside-down pretzel would have been a sign of disgrace. Especially Catholic areas, such as Austria, Bavaria or some parts of Swabia, the “Palm pretzel” is made for Palm Sunday celebrations. Sizes can range from 30 cm (1&nnbsp;ft) up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and they can weigh up to 2.5 kg (6 lbs). An old tradition on Palm Sunday dating back to 1533 is the outdoor pretzel market (Brezgenmarkt) in the Hungerbrunnen Valley near Heldenfingen.

In the Rhineland region, sweet pretzels are made with pudding-filled loops (pudding pretzels).

On Laetare Sunday in Luxembourg, the fourth Sunday in Lent, there is a festival called “Pretzel Sunday”. Boys give their girlfriends pretzels or cakes in pretzel form. The size symbolizes how much he likes her. In return, if a girl wants to increase his attention, she will give him a decorated egg on Easter. The pretzel custom is reversed on Pretzel Sunday during leap years. This custom also still exists in some areas of the Swabian Alb.

On the same occasion in Rhenish Hesse and the Palatinate, people have parades carrying big pretzels mounted on colourful decorated poles.

Popular during Lent in Biberach[disambiguation needed] are “Lent pretzels”, which are shortly boiled in water before baking and afterwards sprinkled with salt.

Schloss Burg is renowned for a 200-year-old speciality, the “Burger pretzel”. Its texture and flavour resembles rusk or zwieback. A local story says that the recipe came from a grateful Napoleonic soldier in 1795, whose wounds were treated by a baker’s family in the little town of Burg. The cultural importance of the pretzel for Burg is expressed by a monument in honour of the pretzel bakers, and by an 18-km hiking trail nearby called “Pretzel Hiking Trail”.

A variety typical for Upper Franconia is the “anise pretzel”. The town of Weidenberg celebrates the “Pretzel weeks” during the carnival season, when anise flavored pretzels are served with special dishes such as cooked meat with horseradish or roast. In the city of Lübeck, the 500-year old guild of boatmen on the Stecknitz Canal call their annual meetings in January Kringelhöge (Pretzelfun). The elaborate affair, with about 200 participants, is celebrated as a breakfast with beer, and includes Mass in the Lübeck Cathedral and a presentation of songs by a children’s choir. In earlier times, the children were very poor, coming from an orphanage, and each received a Kringel (pretzel) as a reward. Hence, the name “Pretzelfun” was adopted, because this gift was considered a highlight. Today, the children come from schools, but they still get the pretzels.

 

The city of Osnabrück celebrates the anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and organizes an annual hobby horse race for grade-four children. On finishing the race, they are presented with a sweet pretzel.

 

The lye pretzel is the theme for a number of festivals in Germany. The city of Speyer prides itself to be the “pretzel town”, and around the second weekend of July, from Friday to Tuesday, it holds an annual funfair and festival called “Brezelfest”, which is the largest beer festival in the Upper Rhine region, and attracts around 300,000 visitors. The festival includes a parade with over 100 bands, floats and clubs participating from the whole region, and 22,000 pretzels are thrown among the crowds. On the market square of Speyer, there is a fountain with a statue of a boy selling pretzels. The pretzel booths on the main street are permanently installed and were specially designed when the whole downtown area was redone for the 2000th anniversary. One-day pretzel fests and markets in other German towns are in Kirchhellen, a borough of Bottrop, or in Kornwestheim.

In 2003 and 2004, “Peace Pretzels” were baked for a UNICEF charity event and other charity purposes in Munich. Instead of the typical pretzel loop, they were made in the similar shape of a peace symbol.

In the 19th century, southern German and Swiss German immigrants introduced the pretzel to North America. The immigrants became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, and in time, many handmade pretzel bakeries populated the central Pennsylvania countryside, and the pretzel’s popularity spread.

In the 20th century, soft pretzels became extremely popular in other regions of the United States. Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York became renowned for their soft pretzels. The key to success was the introduction of the new mass production methods of the industrialized age, which increased the availability and quantity, and the opening up of multiple points of distribution at schools, convenience and grocery stores, and entertainment venues such as movie theaters, arenas, concert halls, and sport stadiums. Prior to that, street vendors used to sell pretzels on street corners in wooden glass-enclosed cases.

 

In particular, it became iconic with Philadelphia and was established as a cuisine of Philadelphia for snacking at school, work, or home,

Pretzel sticks and varieties

and considered by most to be a quick meal. The average Philadelphian today consumes about twelve times as many pretzels as the national average. The baking skill of the large immigrant Italian American populations in Philadelphia played a significant role in pretzels being established as a local cuisine of Philadelphia. Other Italian centric populations in the USA have furthered the popularity of pretzel production and consumption.

Pennsylvania today is the center of American pretzel production for both the hard crispy and the soft bread types of pretzels. Southeastern Pennsylvania, with its large population of German background, is considered the birthplace of the American pretzel industry, and many pretzel bakers are still located in the area. Pennsylvania produces 80% of the nation’s pretzels.
The annual United States pretzel industry is worth over $550 million. The average American consumes about 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg) of pretzels per year.
The privately run “Pretzel Museum” opened in Philadelphia in 1993. In 2003, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell declared April 26 “National Pretzel Day” to acknowledge the importance of the pretzel to the state’s history and economy. Philly Pretzel Factory stores offer a free pretzel to each customer on this day.

In Tell City, Indiana, the Tell City Pretzels originated over 100 years ago. In 1858 Casper Gloor, a baker from Switzerland settled in Tell City, Indiana. Gloor was a member of the Swiss Colonization Society. He soon became known for the pretzels that he baked from a recipe brought from Switzerland. Today, the recipe remains in use.

Hard pretzels originated in the United States, where, in 1850, the Sturgis bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania, became the first commercial hard pretzel bakery. Snack food hard pretzels were shaped as sticks (around 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick and 12 centimetres (4.7 in) long), loops, braids, letters or little pretzels; they have become a popular snack in many countries around the world. A thicker variety of sticks can be 1 centimetre (0.39 in) thick; in the U. S. these are called Bavarian pretzels. Unlike the soft pretzels, these were durable when kept in an airtight environment and marketable in a variety of convenience stores. In Europe, snack food pretzels are usually sprinkled with salt, but also with sesame seed, poppy seed or cheese. In the U.S., they come in many varieties of flavors and coatings, such as yogurt, chocolate, strawberry, mustard, cheese and others, and chocolate-covered hard pretzels are popular around Christmas time and given as gifts. The variety of shapes and sizes became contest of imagination in the marketing of the pretzels taste. During the 1900s, people in Philadelphia would use the small slender pretzel stick as a common accompaniment to ice cream or would crumble pretzels as a topping. This combination of cold sweet and salty taste was very popular for many years. Eventually this led to the development of an ice cream cone tasting like a pretzel. More recently Mars, Incorporated manufactures M&M’s with a small spherical pretzel covered in milk chocolate and candy coated in all of the standard M&Ms colors, called “Pretzel M&M’s”.

 

Although not as popular as among German speakers and Americans, the looped pretzel is known in other European countries and in

Viipurinrinkeli, a pretzel from Vyborg (Finnish: Viipuri), Russia

other countries around the world. In the Czech Republic, the pretzel is known as preclík, in Finland as viipurinrinkeli. The Spanish, French and Italians call it pretzel, bretzel or brezel, the Dutch favor sweet variants called krakeling, Norwegian and Danish call it a kringle, in Polish it is precel, in Serbian it is pereca, and in Hungarian it is perec. In Romania the pretzel is known as covrigi and it’s a very popular fast food in urban areas and also as a holiday gift.

Saint Patrick’s Day

March 14, 2012 at 10:22 AM | Posted in Food | 1 Comment
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Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig (The Festival of Patrick); Ulster-Scots: Saunt Petherick’sDay) is a cultural and religious holiday

Saint Patrick's Day parade on lower Magazine Street, New Orleans.

celebrated on 17 March. It commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century, and has gradually become a secular celebration of Irish culture in general.

The day is generally characterised by the attendance of church services, wearing of green attire[6] and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on eating, and drinking alcohol, which is often proscribed during the rest of the season.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint’s day in the world.

Originally, the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the color green and its association with Saint Patrick’s day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick’s Day as early as the 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention. The phrase “the wearing of the green”, meaning to wear a shamrock on one’s clothing, derives from a song of the same name.

St. Patrick’s Day, although not a legal holiday anywhere in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognized and celebrated throughout the

The Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick's Day festivities.

country. It is primarily celebrated as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture; celebrations include prominent displays of the color green, feasting, copious consumption of alcohol, religious observances, and numerous parades. The holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century, prior to the American Revolution.

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