One of America’s Favorites – Belgian Waffles

April 16, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A Belgian waffle with strawberries and confectioner’s sugar

In North America, Belgian waffles are a variety of waffle with a lighter batter, larger squares, and deeper pockets than ordinary American waffles. Belgian waffles were originally leavened with yeast, but baking powder is now often used.

In Belgium itself, there are several kinds of waffle, including the Brussels waffle and the Liège waffle.

In North America, they are often eaten as a breakfast food; toppings vary from whipped cream, confectioners sugar, soft fruit, and chocolate spread, to syrup and butter or margarine. They may also be served with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit (such as strawberries) as a dessert.

Originally showcased in 1958 at Expo 58 in Brussels, Belgian waffles were introduced to North America by a Belgian named Walter Cleyman at the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle in 1962, and served with whipped cream and strawberries. The waffles were further popularized in the United States during the 1964 New York World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Park. The waffle was introduced by Maurice Vermersch of Brussels, Belgium, and was named the Bel-Gem Waffle. Largely based on a simplified recipe for the Brussels waffles, Vermersch decided to change the name upon observing that many Americans could not correctly identify Brussels as the capital of Belgium. These waffles were served with whipped cream and strawberries, and retailed for a dollar.

 

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One of America’s Favorites – Risotto

April 9, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Creamy baked mushroom risotto

Risotto /rɪˈzɒtoʊ/ (Italian: [riˈzɔtto] or [riˈsɔtto]) is a northern Italian rice dish cooked in a broth to a creamy consistency. The broth can be derived from meat, fish, or vegetables. Many types of risotto contain butter, wine, and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy. Saffron was originally used for flavor and its attractive yellow color.

Risotto in Italy is normally a primo (first course), served on its own before the main course, but risotto alla milanese, (pronounced [riˈzɔtto alla milaˈneːze]), is often served together with ossobuco alla milanese.

Rice was grown in southern Italy since the 14th century, and eventually reached Milano in the northern region of Italy. While according to a legend a young glassblower apprentice from Flanders who used to use saffron as a pigment added it to a rice dish at a wedding feast, the first recipe identifiable as risotto dates from 1809. It includes rice sautéed in butter, sausages, bone marrow, onions with hot broth with saffron gradually added. There is a recipe for a dish named as a risotto in the 1854 Trattato di cucina (Treatise on Cooking) by Giovanni Vialardi, assistant chief chef to kings. However, the question of who invented the risotto in Milano remains unanswered today.

The rice varieties nowadays associated with risotto were developed in the 20th century, starting with Maratelli in 1914.

A high-starch (amylopectin), low-amylose round medium- or short- grain white rice is usually used for making risotto. Such rices have the ability to absorb liquids and to release starch and so they are stickier than the long grain varieties. The principal varieties used in Italy are Arborio, Baldo, Carnaroli, Maratelli, Padano, Roma, and Vialone Nano. Carnaroli, Maratelli (historical Italian variety) and Vialone Nano are considered to be the best (and most expensive) varieties, with different users preferring one over another. They have slightly different properties. For example, Carnaroli is less likely than Vialone Nano to get overcooked, but the latter, being smaller, cooks faster and absorbs condiments better. Other varieties such as Roma, Baldo, Ribe and Originario may be used but will not have the creaminess of the traditional dish; these varieties are considered better for soups and other non-risotto rice dishes, and sweet rice desserts. Rice designations of superfino, semifino and fino refer to the size and shape (specifically the length and the narrowness) of the grains, and not the quality.

Mushroom and Chicken Risotto

There are many different risotto recipes with different ingredients, but they are all based on rice of an appropriate variety, cooked in a standard procedure, requiring, unlike other rice dishes, constant care and attention. The rice is not pre-rinsed, as washing would remove much of the starch required for a creamy texture.

The rice is first cooked briefly in a soffritto of onion and butter or olive oil, to coat each grain in a film of fat, called tostatura; white wine is added and must be absorbed by the grains. When it has been absorbed the heat is raised to medium high, and boiling stock is gradually added in small amounts, while stirring constantly. The constant stirring, with only a small amount of liquid present, forces the grains to rub against each other and release the starch molecules from the outside of the grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a smooth creamy-textured mass. When the rice is cooked the pot is taken off the heat for mantecatura, vigorously beating in refrigerated balls of grated parmesan cheese and butter, to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible. It may be removed from the heat a few minutes earlier and left to cook with its residual heat.

Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy even if no cream is added, due to the starch in the grains, if properly prepared. It has some resistance or bite (al dente) and separate grains. The traditional texture is fairly fluid, or all’onda (“wavy, or flowing in waves”). It is served on flat dishes and should easily spread out but not have excess watery liquid around the perimeter. It must be eaten at once, as it continues to cook in its own heat, making the grains absorb all the liquid and become soft and dry.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Mission Burrito MONDAY

April 2, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Mission burrito

A Mission burrito (also known as a San Francisco burrito or a Mission-style burrito) is a type of burrito that first became popular during the 1960s in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. It is distinguished from other burritos by its large size and inclusion of extra rice and other ingredients. A key method to the burritos’ construction is to steam the wheat flour tortilla to increase its flexibility prior to adding the other ingredients, although that is not a requirement and burritos may be grilled instead. It has been referred to as one of three major styles of burritos in the United States, following the earlier, simple burrito consisting of beans, rice, and meat. It precedes the California burrito, which developed in the 1980s and contains cheese and potatoes.

Many taquerías in the Mission and greater San Francisco Bay Area specialize in Mission burritos. It is typically a large flour tortilla that is wrapped and folded around a variety of ingredients, served in a piece of aluminum foil. A food critic for the San Francisco Chronicle counted hundreds of taquerias in the Bay Area, and noted that the question of which taqueria makes the best burrito can “encourage fierce loyalty and ferocious debate”. New York-based writer Calvin Trillin said that the burrito in San Francisco “has been refined and embellished in much the same way that the pizza has been refined and embellished in Chicago.” Since its commercial availability began in the 1960s, the style has spread widely throughout the United States and Canada.

Though an authentic mission burrito is made in San Francisco’s Mission District at family owned Mexican restaurants called “taquerias”, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Panchero’s Mexican Grill, Freebirds World Burrito, Barberitos, and Taco del Mar are large national chains in North America that arguably offer versions of a San Francisco style burrito. Chipotle was started by a chef who directly acknowledges the inspiration of Mission taquerias. The New York City–based restaurant chain BurritoVille, which existed from 1992 to 2008, specialized in San Francisco–style burritos. Atlanta was home to one of the first San Francisco–style burrito restaurants on the East Coast, called Tortillas, from the mid-1980s until the early 2000s.

Some New York establishments advertise “Cal-Mex” or “San Francisco style” burritos. Two chains of Boston taquerias (Anna’s Taqueria and Boca Grande Taqueria) are directly modeled after a local Bay Area chain, and other burrito businesses also cite the influence of San Francisco burritos.

Burritos made in the San Francisco style can be found in other cities across the United States.

A small chain of establishments have been appearing in the UK under the name “Mission Burrito” selling Mission-style burritos in Oxford, Reading, and Bristol. M4 Burritos, with two Montreal locations, also claims to serve Mission-inspired fare.

Mission burrito as served wrapped in foil, with chips and salsa

The aluminum foil wrapping, which is present whether the customer is eating in the restaurant or taking out, acts as a structural support to ensure that the tortilla does not rupture.

Diners eating Mission burritos customarily forgo utensils entirely and eat the burrito with their hands, tearing the foil gradually down as they eat from above, but keeping the foil on the bottom to continue to support the structure of the uneaten portion. Adding salsa to the burrito before each subsequent bite is a popular practice.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Frito Pie

March 26, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Frito pie

Frito pie is a dish popular in the Southern, Midwestern, and Southwestern United States, whose basic ingredients are chili, cheese, and corn chips (especially Fritos). Additions can include salsa, refried beans, sour cream, onion, rice, or jalapeños. There are many variations and alternative names used by region. Frito pie can be prepared in a casserole dish, but an alternate preparation can be in a single-serve Fritos-type corn chip bag with various ingredients as toppings. In Mexico, a similar type of dish is tostilocos.

The exact origins of the frito pie is not completely clear. It is believed that it was created somewhere in Mexico and was popular at fiestas before it took off in other countries like the United States.

The oldest known recipe using Fritos brand corn chips with chili was published in Texas in 1949. The recipe may have been invented by Daisy Doolin, the founder’s mother and the first person to use Fritos as an ingredient in cooking, or Mary Livingston, his executive secretary. The Frito-Lay company attributes the recipe to Nell Morris, who joined Frito-Lay in the 1950s and helped develop an official cookbook which included the Frito pie.

Another story claims that true Frito pie originated only in the 1960s with Teresa Hernández, who worked at the F. W. Woolworth’s lunch counter in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her Frito pie used homemade red chili con carne with cheddar cheese and onions, and was served in the bag – which was thicker in the 1960s.

A Louisiana man also claims to have invented the frito pie. William “Billy” Grisham says he invented the frito pie in the late 1950s while working as a short order cook in the town of Benton, Louisiana.

Frito pie is a simple dish: at its most basic, it is just a pile of Fritos with beef chili poured on top. It is often served right inside the chip bag, which is split down the middle; toppings typically include shredded cheese and chopped raw onion, and may also include additional items like sour cream and jalapeños.

Frito pie variant served in a single serve Fritos bag

Frito Pies are sometimes referred to by the name walking taco or Frito boat, and can be made in a small, single-serving bag of corn chips, with chili, taco meat, garbanzos, pork rinds, pepitas, and many other varied ingredients, poured over the top. The combination can be finished with grated cheese, onions, jalapeños, lettuce, and sour cream, known as a Frito boat or walking taco in the Midwestern United States. In the Ohio Valley region, this preparation is commonly called taco-in-a-bag. (“Walking taco”, however, is the more widespread term at least in the Midwest). In many parts of Southern California, they are known as “pepper bellies”. Frito pies are popular at sports venues, fundraisers, bingos, open houses, state fairs and street vendors. The term Tostiloco comes from Tijuana, and is found in California. Another term is Doriloco, after Doritos.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Peeps

March 19, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Peeps

Peeps are marshmallow candies, sold in the United States and Canada, that are shaped into chicks, bunnies, and other animals. There are also different shapes used for various holidays. Peeps are used primarily to fill Easter baskets, though recent advertising campaigns market the candy as “Peeps – Always in Season”, as Peeps has since expanded to include Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day; since 2014 it has been available year-round with the introduction of Peeps Minis. They are made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and various food dyes.

 

Peeps are produced by Just Born, a candy manufacturer founded in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, by Russian immigrant Sam Born (1891-1959). In 1953 Just Born acquired the Rodda Candy Company and its marshmallow chick line, and replaced the painstaking process of hand-forming the chicks with mass production. When founder Sam Born would display a sign for his freshly-made candy, he would title it “Just Born,” playing off of his last name and the fact that he made his candy fresh daily. According to Mary Bellis, the newly purchased company, Just Born, was soon the “largest marshmallow candy manufacturer in the world.” New shapes other than the chicks were produced following a theme according to the season starting in the 1960s. Twenty years later, the Marshmallow Peeps Bunny was released as a popular year round shape of the candy. The yellow chicks were the original form of the candy — hence their name — but then the company introduced other colors and, eventually, the myriad shapes in which they are now produced. Peeps were manufactured in different colors such as lavender and blue starting in 1995. Prior to that they were only being produced in the traditional colors: pink, white, and yellow. New flavors such as vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate were introduced between the years of 1999 and 2002.

Orange pumpkin Halloween Peeps

In 2009, Just Born expanded the Peeps product line further by introducing Peeps Lip Balm in four flavors: grape, strawberry, vanilla, and cotton candy. Just Born has come out with several other various accessories. Items such as nail polish, wrist bands, umbrellas, golf gloves, earrings, and necklaces are produced and sold online and in retail stores. Other companies have produced items based on the popular Peeps candy. Peeps micro bead pillows were made by Kaboodle and conform to one’s shape. The company Kaboodle promises that “they’ll last a lot longer than their edible counterpart!” Ranging from infant sizes to adult sizes, Peeps Halloween costumes can also be found on the shelves of several costume stores. The first Peeps & Co. store opened in November 2009 in National Harbor, Maryland, Prince George’s County. Peeps & Company retail stores were later opened in Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. In 2014, Peeps Minis were introduced, and were intended to be available year-round.

 

An annual “Peeps Eating” contest is held each year at National Harbor in front of the Peeps & Company store. 2017 winner, Matt Stonie of California, ate 255 Peeps in five minutes. The first such event was arranged by Shawn Sparks in 1994, and had only six participants. Dave Smith started an annual Peep Off in Sacramento after contacting a participant in the first Peep Off. Another contest in Maryland asks that participants create a diorama of a culturally important scene from the modern era, featuring a number of Peeps. The winner gets two free inflatable life jackets.

Several newspapers hold annual contests in which readers submit photos of dioramas featuring Peeps. The St. Paul Pioneer Press was the first paper to hold such a contest. Similar contests are put on by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and the Seattle Times. These contests frequently correspond with the Easter holiday. MIT also has a yearly Peeps contest.

The Racine Art Museum is sponsoring the International Peeps Competition from April 1–28. Anyone can enter the contest, centered on the theme “peep-powered work of art”.

The following are other contests held in various states. Peeps jousting consists of putting two Marshmallow Chicks into the microwave and seeing which one gets the biggest and therefore affects/deforms the other. “Peepza” is a dessert pizza made with Peeps. Also, blogs were created according to Fox News entitled “101 Fun Ways to Torture a Peep.”

 

A coconut cake garnished with Peeps candy

Several recipes and creative ideas to alter Peeps have been invented. Fox News Magazine published an article in 2013 including several recipes from various creators, including Peeps smores, home-made chocolate covered Peeps, Peeps marshmallow chocolate chip cookies, Peeps brownies, Peeps popcorn, Peeps frosting, Peeps Krispie treats, and Peeps syrup.

A recipe for “Peepshi” involves placing a peep onto a Rice Krispie treat and wrapping it in Fruit by the Foot, to create a single “Peepshi roll” in the style of a sushi roll.

In April 2017, several internet and Twitter postings, and TV news stories claimed ‘outrage’ that Peeps were being used as a pizza topping.

 

One of America’s (Irish) Favorites – Irish Stew

March 12, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Irish Stew

Irish stew (Irish: stobhach / Stobhach Gaelach) is any variety of meat-and-root vegetables stew native to Ireland. As in all traditional folk dishes, the exact recipe is not consistent from time or place to place. Common ingredients include lamb, or mutton (mutton is used as it comes from less tender sheep over a year old, is fattier, and has a stronger flavor, and was generally more common in less-affluent times) as well as potatoes, onions, and parsley. It may sometimes also include carrots. Irish stew is also made with kid goat.

 

“ Irish stew is a celebrated Irish dish, yet its composition is a matter of dispute. Purists maintain that the only acceptable and traditional ingredients are neck mutton chops or kid, potatoes, onions, and water. Others would add such items as carrots, turnips and pearl barley; but the purists maintain that they spoil the true flavor of the dish. The ingredients are boiled and simmered slowly for up to two hours. Mutton was the dominant ingredient because the economic importance of sheep lay in their wool and milk produce and this ensured that only old or economically non-viable animals ended up in the cooking pot, where they needed hours of slow cooking. Irish stew is the product of a culinary tradition that relied almost exclusively on cooking over an open fire. It seems that Irish stew was recognised as early as about 1800. ”

 

Stewing is an ancient method of cooking meats that is common throughout the world. However, the Celts did not possess their first bronze cauldrons, copied from Greek models, until the 7th century AD. After the idea of the cauldron was imported from Europe and/or Britain, the cauldron (along with the already established spit) became the dominant cooking tool in ancient Ireland, ovens being practically unknown to the ancient Gaels. The cauldron, along with flesh-hooks for suspending the meat, eventually became preferred over the spit for feasting purposes, as evidenced by archaeological findings that indicate a predominance of flesh hooks over roasting spits in Ireland and Britain (Cunliffe, Barry; “Britain Begins”; 2012). Many food historians believe that goat was originally the meat of choice, eventually being supplanted by beef and mutton.

 

The root vegetables and meat (originally goat) for the stew were then all in place, save for the potato. The introduction of the potato, originally a South American crop, did not occur until after the 16th century.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Snickerdoodle

March 5, 2018 at 6:03 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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A snickerdoodle is a type of cookie made with butter or oil, sugar, and flour, and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Eggs may also sometimes be used as an ingredient, with cream of tartar and baking soda added to leaven the dough. Snickerdoodles are characterized by a cracked surface and can be crisp or soft depending on the ingredients used.

Snickerdoodles are often referred to as “sugar cookies”. However, traditional sugar cookies are often rolled in white sugar whereas snickerdoodles are rolled in a mixture of white sugar and cinnamon.

 

The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word Schneckennudel (“snail noodles”), a Palatine variety of schnecken. It is also possible that the name is simply a nonsense word with no particular meaning, originating from a New England tradition of whimsical cookie names.

The snickerdoodle is a very common cookie in the United States and Canada, but is relatively unknown in other countries.

In more recent times, the Snickerdoodle cookie has transformed into a popular flavor of desserts, sweets, drinks, etc. Big brands have taken the simple dessert and turned them into their own original products. For example, General Mills created a Snickerdoodle flavored Chex Mix Muddy Buddies to their snack line. During the 2014 holiday season, Dunkin’ Donuts unveiled a Snickerdoodle Cookie Latte on their holiday menu. In addition to a Snickerdoodle latte, Nestlé Coffee-Mate introduced their take on the cookie in the form of a coffee creamer. Brands such as Braum’s Ice Cream and Prairie Farms have dedicated an ice cream flavor to the popular cookie.

 

The Snickerdoodle scent has also become popular in non-edible products. In 2014, Bath and Body Works launched their “Made with Love” holiday collection. This collection included a Snickerdoodle scented candle. However, this scent failed to gain popularity. In addition, the skin care company Philosophy, Inc. released a Snickerdoodle scented body wash and shampoo in their “Twas the Night Before Christmas” collection. Similar to the Bath and Body Works candle, this scent has been discontinued since it is unable to be found on retailer sites besides resellers like Amazon and eBay.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Chili Burger

February 26, 2018 at 6:03 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Chili burger with fries

A chili burger (also known as a chili size, or simply size, stemming from “hamburger size” is a type of hamburger. It consists of a hamburger, with the patty topped with chili con carne. It is often served open-faced, and sometimes the chili is served alongside the burger rather than on top. The chili may be served alone, or with cheese, onions, or occasionally tomatoes as garnishes.

 

 

 

Chili burgers appear to have been invented in the 1920s by Thomas M. “Ptomaine Tommy” DeForest, who founded a sawdust-floored all-night restaurant, “Ptomaine Tommy’s”, located in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. Ptomaine Tommy’s was open from around 1919 to 1958, where his chili burger was referred to as “size”, and chopped onions as “flowers” or “violets”.

The term size for a chili burger arguably derives from the portion size of the chili used at Ptomaine Tommy’s. Ptomaine Tommy “had two ladles, a large and a small” with which to serve his chili, whether smothered on top of the burger or in a bowl; originally the ordering lingo used by his patrons was “hamburger size” vs. “steak size”, but later simplified to “size” and “oversize”. The use of the shorthand term “size” for burger-size portion of chili (in a bowl or on a burger) then gained currency throughout Los Angeles. Ptomaine Tommy was forced to close his restaurant August 10, 1958 and sell his property to satisfy creditors, and he died just a week later. His service to the community and his invention was noted by resolution of the California State Senate that same year. Food author John T. Edge considers the invention the milestone that marks the start of “traceable history of burgers in LA”, a first step to what he considers the “baroque” character of the Los Angeles hamburger scene. By interviewing former customers and friends decades after the fact, columnist Jack Smith wrote a definitive article in 1974 about DeForest and the dish that he had invented which became a very important part of the history of Los Angeles. What helped spread the popularity of this is dish was Deforest’s diverse clientel which included doctors coming off the late shift at the local county hospital, fight fans on their way home after attending matches at the Olympic Auditorium, and people associated with the Hollywood film industry.

 

 

 

The Carolina Burger is a regional variant of the chili burger served with coleslaw, mustard and chopped onions. Common in local restaurants in the Carolinas, it is also periodically offered at Wendy’s restaurants as the Carolina Classic.

 

 

 

Several US food chains specialize in chili burgers. One of these is Original Tommy’s, which dates to 1946. Another is Wienerschnitzel, dating back to 1961. At one time Bob’s Big Boy restaurants in California served a dish named “chili size”, a serving of chili over a hamburger patty in a bowl.

One of America’s Favorites – Chips and Dip

February 19, 2018 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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Chips and dip – crab dip and potato chips

Chips and dip are a food of chips or crisps served with dips. Chips used include potato chips, tortilla chips, corn chips, bean chips, vegetable chips, pita chips, plantain chips and others. Crackers are also sometimes used, as are crudités, which are whole or sliced raw vegetables. Various types of dips are used to accompany various types of chips.

Chips and dip gained significant popularity in the United States during the 1950s, in part due to a Lipton advertising campaign for their French onion dip recipe, sometimes referred to as “California dip”. Specialized trays and serving dishes designed to hold both chips and dip were created during this time. Chips and dip are frequently served during the Super Bowl American football game in the United States. National Chip and Dip Day occurs annually in the U.S. on March 23.

 

 

 

The popularity of chips and dip significantly increased in the United States during the 1950s, beginning circa 1954, due to changes in styles of entertaining in the suburbs and also due to a Lipton advertising campaign based upon using Lipton’s instant dehydrated onion soup mix to prepare dip. The advertising campaign occurred on television and in supermarket display advertising, and promoted mixing the soup mix with sour cream or cream cheese to create a dip, to be served with potato chips or crudités. This dip began to be called California Dip. The advertising campaign realized significant success, and new, similar dip products were quickly developed thereafter. During this time, unique platters designed for chips and dip service were created that allowed for the containment of several types of chips, and service variations were devised that included serving the dip in a bread bowl or hollowed-out fruit.

Chips and dip are a popular food during the annual Super Bowl game in the United States. Eighty-five percent of Americans eat potato chips.

 

 

A bowl of chile con queso served with tortilla chips as an appetizer

Chips and salsa, typically served using tortilla or corn chips, is a common type of chips and dip dish that gained significant popularity in the United States in the late 1980s. Chips and guacamole, also typically served with corn-based chips is another type, as well as chips and bean dip. Seven-layer dip and tortilla chips is another corn-based chip combination, as is chile con queso, an appetizer or side dish of melted cheese and chili pepper typically served in Tex-Mex restaurants as a sauce for nachos.

 

 

Double-dipping involves taking a bite of a chip and then re-dipping it into a dip, which some people disapprove, while others are indifferent. Double-dipping transfers bacteria from a person’s mouth into a dip, which can then be transferred to other consumer’s mouths.

The behavior of double-dipping involves consuming chips and dip, taking a bite of the chip, and then re-dipping it into a dip. In March 2013, Tostitos, a U.S. brand of tortilla chips and dips, hired the Ketchum communications agency to perform a survey concerning double dipping that polled over 1,000 Americans. The survey found that 46% of male participants double-dip at a party, compared to 32% of females. 54% stated that they would not consume dip after seeing another person double-dip, and 22% stated that they did not care. 25% stated that they would verbally object to a person caught double-dipping.

A study performed by the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Clemson University found that three to six instances of double-dipping “would transfer about 10,000 bacteria from the eater’s mouth to the remaining dip,” which corresponds with “about 50-100 bacteria from one mouth to another, in every bite.” The study concluded with the recommendation that double-dipping should be curtailed, along with tips to prevent it from occurring.

A segment on MythBusters in 2009 tested how much bacteria is transferred during the process of double-dipping, finding that there is a transfer but that it “adds only a few more microbes”.

 

 

Tortilla chips and several salsas

National Chip and Dip Day occurs in the United States annually on March 23. Tostitos-brand tortilla chips, a major U.S. brand, observed the day in 2015 by providing coupons for free dip for interested customers named “Chip”.

 

One of America’s Favorites – King Cake MONDAY

February 12, 2018 at 6:11 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Louisiana-style king cake. The baby figurine is seen in the middle of the roll.

A king cake (sometimes shown as kingcake, kings’ cake, king’s cake, or three kings cake) is a type of cake associated in a number of countries with the festival of Epiphany at the end of the Christmas season; in other places, it is associated with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras/Carnival.

What started out roughly 300 years ago as a dry French bread–type dough with sugar on top and a bean inside now comes in many varieties depending on the country. Some king cakes are made of a sweet brioche dough in the shape of a hollow circle with a glazed topping sprinkled with colored sugar. Hundreds of thousands of King Cakes are eaten in New Orleans during the Carnival season. In other countries, king cakes are made with a puff pastry, filled with one of several fillings (e.g., almond, apple, chocolate/pear, etc.), and have a small figurine hidden inside. The figurine changes from bakery to bakery and often represents a hit movie or other cultural icon.

The cake often has a small plastic baby (to represent the Baby Jesus) inside or underneath; and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations.

 

In the southern United States, the tradition was brought to the area by Basque settlers in 1718. Originally, it was a cinnamon-filled bready cake eaten to celebrate Epiphany, but it is now associated with Carnival (also known as Mardi Gras). Celebrated across the Gulf Coast region from the Florida Panhandle to East Texas, King cake parties are documented back to the 18th century.

The king cake of the Louisiana tradition comes in a number of styles. The most simple, said to be the most traditional, is a ring of twisted cinnamon roll-style dough. It may be topped with icing or sugar, which may be colored to show the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, yellow, and purple. King cakes may also be filled with additional foodstuffs, the most common being cream cheese, praline, cinnamon, or strawberry. A so-called “Zulu King Cake” has chocolate icing with a coconut filling, because the Krewe of Zulu parade’s most celebrated throw is a coconut. Some bakers now offer king cakes for other holidays that immediately surround the Mardi Gras season, such as king cakes with green and red icing for Christmas, cakes with pink and red icing for Valentine’s Day, and cakes with green and white icing for St. Patrick’s Day. Others have gone a step further and produce specialty king cakes from the beginning of football season for Louisiana State University and New Orleans Saints tailgate parties, then for Halloween, then Thanksgiving—and do not cease until after Mardi Gras season, when they produce an Easter holiday king cake.

In the Southern culture, whoever finds the trinket must provide the next king cake or host the next Mardi Gras party.

 

Starting on Epiphany on January 6, residents begin holding parties especially dedicated to King Cake. King Cake parties bring families and community members together to celebrate the season of Mardi Gras, with its krewe parades and festivals. King Cake is so symbolic of the Mardi Gras celebration for residents it is believed that consuming King Cake outside of the Carnival season will result in rain on Mardi Gras day. The dessert’s “search for the baby,” the small figurine located inside the cake, is a fun way for residents of New Orleans to celebrate their Christian faith.

The dessert’s significance to the city was evident in the first Mardi Gras season (2006) after Hurricane Katrina: thousands of King Cake orders flooded bakeries both inside and outside of Louisiana, an example of how significant the dessert’s tradition is both inside and outside of the region.

Some sports teams around the area have also infused the tradition of the king cake baby into their teams. The Miami Marlins AAA minor league baseball affiliate, formerly known as the New Orleans Zephyrs, changed their name to the New Orleans Baby Cakes, starting in the 2017 season. The New Orleans Pelicans introduced the King Cake Baby as a second mascot during games around Mardi Gras, to accompany their main mascot, Pelican Pierre.

 

Traditional king cake baby

Traditionally, a small plastic or porcelain baby is hidden in the king cake. Originally, the baby was placed in the cake to symbolize baby Jesus. Fava beans were also used to represent Jesus.

Today, the baby symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it in his/her slice of cake. In some traditions, the finder of the baby is designated “king” or “queen” for the evening. That person is also responsible for purchasing next year’s cake, or for throwing the next Mardi Gras party.

Many bakers have recently been placing the baby outside of the cake, and leaving the hiding to the customer because there is a potential of customers choking on or swallowing the baby, and bakers want to stay clear of this liability.

 

 

There are many different recipes for king cake. However, the most common ones include: milk, butter, yeast, water, brown and white sugar, eggs, salt, nutmeg, flour and cinnamon. The frosting is typically made from confectioner’s sugar, water, lemon juice, and colored sugar crystals.

The colors of the king cake originally came from the Christian religion. The purple symbolizes justice, the green symbolizes faith, and the gold symbolizes power. The three colors honor the three kings who visited the Christ child (Jesus) on Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas.

 

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