One of America’s Favorites – Submarine Sandwich

April 6, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A submarine sandwich

A submarine sandwich, also known as a sub, hoagie, hero, or grinder, is a type of sandwich consisting of a length of bread or roll split lengthwise and filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and condiments. The sandwich has no standardized name, with over a dozen variations used around the world.

The terms submarine and sub are widespread and not assignable to any certain region, though many of the localized terms are clustered in the northeastern United States.

The Italian sandwich originated in several different Italian American communities in the Northeastern United States from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries. Portland, Maine, claims to be the birthplace of the Italian sandwich and it is considered Maine’s signature sandwich. The popularity of this Italian-American cuisine has grown from its origins in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to most parts of the United States and Canada, and with the advent of chain restaurants, is now available in many parts of the world.

Submarine
The use of the term “submarine” or “sub” (after the resemblance of the roll to the shape of a submarine) is widespread. While some accounts source the name as originating in New London, Connecticut (site of the United States Navy’s primary submarine base) during World War II, written advertisements from 1940 in Wilmington, Delaware, indicate the term originated prior to the United States’ entry into World War II.

One theory says the submarine was brought to the U.S. by Dominic Conti (1874–1954), an Italian immigrant who came to New York in the early 1900s. He is said to have named it after seeing the recovered 1901 submarine called Fenian Ram in the Paterson Museum of New Jersey in 1928. His granddaughter has stated the following:
My grandfather came to this country circa 1895 from Montella, Italy. Around 1910, he started his grocery store, called Dominic Conti’s Grocery Store, on Mill Street in Paterson, New Jersey where he was selling the traditional Italian sandwiches. His sandwiches were made from a recipe he brought with him from Italy, which consisted of a long crust roll, filled with cold cuts, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, oil, vinegar, Italian herbs and spices, salt, and pepper. The sandwich started with a layer of cheese and ended with a layer of cheese (this was so the bread wouldn’t get soggy).

Salami, ham and cheeses on a hoagie roll

Hoagie

The term hoagie originated in the Philadelphia area. The Philadelphia Bulletin reported, in 1953, that Italians working at the World War I–era shipyard in Philadelphia known as Hog Island, where emergency shipping was produced for the war effort, introduced the sandwich by putting various meats, cheeses, and lettuce between two slices of bread. This became known as the “Hog Island” sandwich; shortened to “Hoggies”, then the “hoagie”.

Dictionary.com offers the following origin of the term hoagie. n. American English (originally Philadelphia) word for “hero, large sandwich made from a long, split roll”; originally hoggie (c. 1936), traditionally said to be named for Big Band songwriter Hoagland Howard “Hoagy” Carmichael (1899–1981), but the use of the word predates his celebrity and the original spelling seems to suggest another source (perhaps “hog”). Modern spelling is c. 1945, and may have been altered by influence of Carmichael’s nickname.

The Philadelphia Almanac and Citizen’s Manual offers a different explanation, that the sandwich was created by early-twentieth-century street vendors called “hokey-pokey men”, who sold antipasto salad, meats, cookies and buns with a cut in them. When Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta H.M.S. Pinafore opened in Philadelphia in 1879, bakeries produced a long loaf called the pinafore. Entrepreneurial “hokey-pokey men” sliced the loaf in half, stuffed it with antipasto salad, and sold the world’s first “hoagie”.

Another explanation is that the word hoagie arose in the late 19th to early 20th century, among the Italian community in South Philadelphia, when “on the hoke” meant that someone was destitute. Deli owners would give away scraps of cheeses and meats in an Italian bread-roll known as a “hokie”, but the Italian immigrants pronounced it “hoagie”.

Shortly after World War II, there were numerous varieties of the term in use throughout Philadelphia. By the 1940s, the spelling “hoagie” had come to dominate less-used variations like “hoogie” and “hoggie”. It is never spelled hoagy. By 1955, restaurants throughout the area were using the term hoagie. Listings in Pittsburgh show hoagies arriving in 1961 and becoming widespread in that city by 1966.

Former Philadelphia mayor (and later Pennsylvania governor) Ed Rendell declared the hoagie the “Official Sandwich of Philadelphia”. However, there are claims that the hoagie was actually a product of nearby Chester, Pennsylvania. DiCostanza’s in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, claims that the mother of DiConstanza’s owner originated the hoagie in 1925 in Chester. DiCostanza relates the story that a customer came into the family deli and through an exchange matching the customer’s requests and the deli’s offerings, the hoagie was created.

Woolworth’s to-go sandwich was called a hoagie in all U.S. stores.

Bánh mì sandwiches are sometimes referred to as “Vietnamese hoagies” in Philadelphia.

New York style meatball hero with mozzarella

Hero
The New York term hero is first attested in 1937. The name is sometimes credited to the New York Herald Tribune food writer Clementine Paddleford in the 1930s, but there is no good evidence for this. It is also sometimes claimed that it is related to the gyro, but this is unlikely as the gyro was unknown in the United States until the 1960s.

Hero (plural usually heros, not heroes) remains the prevailing New York City term for most sandwiches on an oblong roll with a generally Italian flavor, in addition to the original described above. Pizzeria menus often include eggplant parmigiana, chicken parmigiana, and meatball heros, each served with sauce.

Grinder
A common term in New England is grinder, but its origin has several possibilities. One theory has the name coming from Italian-American slang for a dock worker, among whom the sandwich was popular. Others say that it was called a grinder because it took a lot of chewing to eat the hard crust of the bread used.

Pastrami grinder

In Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and parts of New England, the term grinder usually refers to a hot submarine sandwich (meatball, sausage, etc.), whereas a cold sandwich (e.g., cold cuts) is usually called a “sub”. In the Philadelphia area, the term grinder is also applied to any hoagie that is toasted in the oven after assembly, whether or not it is made with traditionally hot ingredients.

Wedge
The term wedge is used in Westchester County, New York, Putnam County, New York, Dutchess County, New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut – four counties directly north of New York City.

Some base the name wedge on a diagonal cut in the middle of the sandwich, creating two halves or “wedges”, or a “wedge” cut out of the top half of the bread with the fillings “wedged” in between, or a sandwich that is served between two “wedges” of bread. It has also been said wedge is just short for “sandwich”, with the name having originated from an Italian deli owner located in Yonkers, who got tired of saying the whole word.

Spukie
The term spukie (“spukkie” or “spuckie”) is unique to the city of Boston and derives from the Italian word spuccadella, meaning “long roll”. The word spucadella is not typically found in Italian dictionaries, which may suggest that it could be a regional Italian dialect, or possibly a Boston Italian-American innovation. Spukie is typically heard in parts of Dorchester and South Boston. Some bakeries in Boston’s North End neighborhood have homemade spucadellas for sale.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Chicken and Dumplings

March 30, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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Chicken and dumplings

Chicken and dumplings is a soup that consists of a chicken cooked in water, with the resulting chicken broth being used to cook the dumplings by boiling. A dumpling—in this context—is a biscuit dough, which is a mixture of flour, shortening, and liquid (water, milk, buttermilk, or chicken stock). The dumplings are either rolled out flat, dropped or formed into a ball.

It is a popular comfort food dish, commonly found in the Southern and Midwestern United States, that is also attributed to being a French Canadian meal that originated during the Great Depression. Some sources say that chicken and dumplings originated in the Southern United States during antebellum era and was considered a mainstay during harsh economic times. One of the earliest versions of the recipe was cornmeal dumplings cooked with turnip greens. Chicken and dumplings as a dish is prepared with a combination of simmered chicken meat, broth produced by simmering the chicken, multiple dumplings, and salt and pepper for seasoning. Sometimes finely chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery, are added to the broth, and herbs such as dill, parsley, thyme, or chives are added to the dumpling dough.

Various commercial preparations of chicken and dumplings are available, including canned and frozen versions of the prepared dish. Frozen raw dumplings, typically very flat strips about 1×4 inches, can be cooked in any broth. The consistency of the prepared dish, whether homemade or purchased, varies from a thin soup to a very thick casserole-like consistency, easily eaten with a fork. Thicker preparations are made by gently simmering the dumplings longer and/or adding flour or another thickening agent directly to the broth. Flour tortillas or canned biscuits, rolled thin on a floured surface, cut into strips, are a quick and easy substitute for homemade dough. Butter may be added to the recipe for added richness. Since chicken meat would become dry and tough if it is boiled long enough to cook the dumplings and thicken the broth, the chicken or parts are removed from the broth before adding the dumplings. While the dumplings are cooking, the meat is separated from the bones. When the dumplings are done and the broth seasoned and thickened, the chicken is returned to the broth. The dish is then ready to be served, but may be kept on low heat so as to not further cook the chicken.

Variations

Chicken and dumplings with vegetables

A variant known as “chicken and pastry” or simply “chicken pastry” features wide, flat noodles rolled from biscuit dough. Where such a distinction is made, it is sometimes considered a different dish from “chicken and dumplings”, which is known for small balls of dough rather than flat strips. In the Appalachian region of the United States, this preparation is called chicken and slicks. The Pennsylvania Dutch version is called bott boi. Chicken and dumpling soup is another variation, and is very popular in the Midwest.

Bott boi
Pennsylvania Dutch bott boi is a soup popular in central and southeastern Pennsylvania, also called chicken and dumplings in the American south. Bearing no resemblance to the baked dish known elsewhere as pot pie (itself known within Pennsylvania as “meat pies”), bott boi consists of large square noodles and a meat such as chicken, ham, or beef simmered in stock. Other common ingredients include potatoes, carrots, or celery. Saffron may also be added as a flavoring, particularly in Pennsylvanian restaurants catering to a niche market among the Pennsylvania Dutch farming communities.

Created to use up leftovers, Pennsylvania Dutch pot pie developed from the more widespread baked variety. Its characteristic noodles were added as a staple of the Pennsylvania Dutch and English diets. The ease of preparing it in large quantities has made it popular for fundraisers, community dinners, and other large-scale preparations.

Preparation
Bott boi is a soup of thick square-cut dough boiled in chicken broth. (Turkey or other poultry can be substituted for the chicken.) Potatoes and various vegetables may be added, and the broth can also be seasoned with saffron. The simple dough is made from flour and eggs, with a little water or milk.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Slugburger

March 23, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A slugburger (originally Weeksburger) is a traditional Southern food found in the area of Northeast Mississippi, particularly Corinth, New Albany, Booneville, Iuka, Tishomingo, Burnsville, West

A slugburger with onion rings

Tennessee, and north Alabama, particularly Decatur, Hartselle, Athens, Moulton, and Cullman. Consisting of a patty made from a mixture of beef or pork and an inexpensive extender such as soybeans, it is deep fried in oil. It is typically served on a bun with mustard, pickles, onion, and in some places with a side of French fries or onion rings.

John Weeks brought his hamburger recipe from Chicago to Corinth in 1917. Weeks had his hamburger meat ground to specification by local butchers, which included potato flakes and flour. These small hamburgers were originally called Weeksburgers. Sometime before 1950, soy grits replaced the potato and flour and has remained the primary extender. According to town legend the term “slugburger” comes from the slang term for a metal disk the size of a nickel that would work in vending machines.

At one time, five of the Weeks brothers were selling Weeksburgers in the south end of Corinth. They were John, Dave, Cord, Bill, and Fate Weeks. Fate, the youngest brother, also had a dozen different hamburger stands that he ran. He started working for his oldest brother John in 1919. In 1947, he purchased an old trolley car for $100 and converted it into a cafe. During his career, Fate Weeks converted four trolley cars into hamburger joints. His last trolly was located in Booneville Mississippi. As of the fall of 2016, his son, Willie Weeks, was still selling Weeksburgers from a portable building cafe in Booneville.

Each year the citizens of Corinth as well as those who travel from miles around descend on the town to pay tribute to this local culinary specialty at the annual Slugburger Festival. The festival is held in downtown Corinth for three weekend evenings during July and run by Main Street Corinth. There is entertainment at Train Depot and a carnival by Trailhead Park plus the World Slugburger Eating Championship.

TripAdvisor.com considers the festival one of the “wackiest” Summer events along with The Great Texas Mosquito Festival, Michigan’s Humongous Fungus festival and the Hollerin’ Contest. As a part of the entertainment, the festival holds a singing contest, Slug Idol, featuring contestants from surrounding counties in Tennessee and Mississippi.

The Slugburger Festival was started in 1988. In 2012, the first World Slugburger Eating Championship was held at the Festival, and the winners have come exclusively from Northern California, as professional Major League Eating eaters have dominated. Matt Stonie from San Jose, California won the first three, the last of which in 2014 he set the world record with 43 slugburgers eaten in 10 minutes, beating out Joey Chestnut in the field of 11. In 2015, Chestnut made amends just days after the eight-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest was defeated there by Stonie, who did not compete in Mississippi, by taking Stonie’s crown in slugburgers with 33 eaten. He repeated the feat with 41 in 2016, after he had reclaimed the Nathan’s title days earlier.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Reuben Sandwich

March 16, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Reuben from Katz’s Delicatessen

The Reuben sandwich is an American grilled sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread. It is associated with kosher-style delicatessens, but it is not kosher, because it contains both meat and cheese.

Possible origins
Reuben Kulakofsky, Blackstone Hotel: Omaha, Nebraska
One origin story holds that Reuben Kulakofsky (his first name sometimes spelled Reubin; his last name sometimes shortened to Kay), a Jewish Lithuanian-born grocer residing in Omaha, Nebraska, was the inventor, perhaps as part of a group effort by members of Kulakofsky’s weekly poker game held in the Blackstone Hotel from around 1920 through 1935. The participants, who nicknamed themselves “the committee”, included the hotel’s owner, Charles Schimmel. The sandwich first gained local fame when Schimmel put it on the Blackstone’s lunch menu, and its fame spread when a former employee of the hotel won a national contest with the recipe. In Omaha, March 14 was proclaimed Reuben Sandwich Day. Mention is made of this sandwich in a scene within the movie Quiz Show, where Richard N. Goodwin (known as Dick) orders and eats one in a restaurant with Charles van Doren, and they discuss the sandwich’s origins.

Reuben’s Delicatessen: New York City, New York
Another account holds that the Reuben’s creator was Arnold Reuben, the German-Jewish owner of Reuben’s Delicatessen (1908–2001) in New York City. According to an interview with Craig Claiborne, Arnold Reuben invented the “Reuben Special” around 1914. The earliest references in print to the sandwich are New York–based, but that is not conclusive evidence, though the fact that the earliest, in a 1926 issue of Theatre Magazine, references a “Reuben Special”, does seem to take its cue from Arnold Reuben’s menu.
A variation of the above account is related by Bernard Sobel in his 1953 book, Broadway Heartbeat: Memoirs of a Press Agent. Sobel states that the sandwich was an extemporaneous creation for Marjorie Rambeau inaugurated when the famed Broadway actress visited the Reuben’s Delicatessen one night when the cupboards were particularly bare.
Some sources name the actress in the above account as Annette Seelos, not Marjorie Rambeau, while also noting that the original “Reuben Special” sandwich of 1926 did not contain corned beef or sauerkraut and was not grilled.
Still other versions give credit to Alfred Scheuing, a chef at Reuben’s Delicatessen, and say he created the sandwich for Reuben’s son, Arnold Jr., in the 1930s.

Variations

Montreal Reuben
The Montreal Reuben substitutes Montreal-style smoked meat for corned beef.

Thousand Island dressing
Thousand Island dressing is commonly used as a substitute for Russian dressing.

Walleye Reuben
The walleye Reuben features the freshwater fish (Sander vitreus) in place of the corned beef. It is eaten in Minnesota and Ohio.

Grouper Reuben
The grouper Reuben is a variation on the standard Reuben sandwich, substituting grouper for the corned beef, and sometimes coleslaw for the sauerkraut as well. This variation is often a menu item in restaurants in Florida.

Reuben egg rolls
Reuben egg rolls, sometimes called “Irish egg rolls” or “Reuben balls”, use the standard Reuben sandwich filling of corned beef, sauerkraut, and cheese inside a deep-fried egg roll wrapper. Typically served with Thousand Island dressing (instead of Russian dressing) as an appetizer or snack, they originated at Mader’s, a German restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where chef Dennis Wegner created them for a summer festival circa 1990.

Rachel sandwich
The Rachel sandwich is a variation which substitutes pastrami or turkey for the corned beef, and coleslaw for the sauerkraut. Other recipes for the Rachel call for turkey instead of pastrami. In some parts of the United States, especially Michigan, this turkey variant is known as a “Georgia Reuben” or “California Reuben”, and it may also call for barbecue sauce or French dressing instead of Russian dressing. The name may have originated from the 1871 song “Reuben and Rachel”.

Vegetarian versions
Vegetarian versions, called “veggie Reubens”, omit the corned beef or substitute vegetarian ingredients for it, including zucchini, cucumbers, wheatmeat, mushrooms, tempeh, etc.

Corned beef Reuben sandwich

Kosher version
As the original Reuben contains both meat (corned beef) and dairy (Swiss cheese), it is not kosher. If kosher ingredients are used, a meat version can be made by omitting the cheese and any dairy ingredients in the dressing, and a dairy version can be made by omitting the meat.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Barbecue Spaghetti

March 9, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Barbecue Spaghetti

Barbecue Spaghetti

Barbecue spaghetti is a dish from Memphis, Tennessee, that combines spaghetti with a sauce made from shredded smoked pork or pulled pork, vegetables, and barbecue sauce. It is served as a side dish in some Memphis barbecue restaurants. Southern Living called the dish iconic and “perhaps the city’s most unusual creation”. HuffPost called it “a Memphis staple”.

Barbecue spaghetti can be made with pulled pork or shredded smoked pork. The sauce is “half marinara and half barbecue sauce”, sometimes with onions and peppers included, and is simmered before adding the pork; the consistency is close to that of barbecue sauce. The spaghetti is cooked until soft, then tossed in the hot sauce. This dish is served as a side and sometimes as a main course.

The dish was invented by former railroad cook Brady Vincent, who opened a barbecue restaurant called Brady and Lil’s. In 1980 Frank and Hazel Vernon bought the restaurant and renamed it The Bar-B-Q Shop. Vincent also taught the recipe for barbecue spaghetti to Jim Neely, who opened Interstate Bar-B-Q in the late 1970s; Interstate modified the sauce recipe adding the “extra back flap meat” from a rack of ribs and cooking it in a pot with peppers and onions.

State Park restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, serves a “Memphis BBQ spaghetti” that uses pulled pork in a marinara that uses a barbecue sauce as its base.

According to John Shelton Reed, “Barbecue spaghetti is to spaghetti Bolognese as Cincinnati chili is to the Tex-Mex variety”. Filipino spaghetti is spaghetti sauced with banana ketchup and topped with hot dogs.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Eggs Sardou

March 2, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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Eggs sardou at Red Dog Diner in New Orleans

Eggs Sardou is a Louisiana Creole cuisine dish made with poached eggs, artichoke bottoms, creamed spinach and Hollandaise sauce. It is on the menu of many Creole restaurants in New Orleans, including Antoine’s, where eggs Sardou was invented, and Brennan’s. Eggs Sardou is named for Victorien Sardou, a famous French dramatist of the 19th century, who was a guest in New Orleans when the dish was invented.

Cooked fresh spinach is creamed with a bechamel sauce, a drop or two of Tabasco sauce is added, and pre-cut artichoke bottoms are warmed in a 175°F oven for five to ten minutes. The eggs Sardou are assembled by placing spoonfuls of the warm creamed spinach on a warmed plate. The artichoke bottoms are placed on top of the creamed spinach and the poached eggs are set inside the artichoke bottoms. The assembly is then covered in the Hollandaise sauce. Some cooks omit nutmeg and cloves from the bechamel sauce when using it to cream spinach for eggs Sardou. Eggs Sardou can also be served with truffles, ham and anchovies.

Eggs Sardou should be served at once, while the spinach, artichokes, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce are still warm. For this reason, a warmed plate or bowl is recommended in most recipes. The garnish, if any, should be something of a color that contrasts well with the yellow Hollandaise sauce that tops the dish. This may be anything from crumbled bacon or a small dice of ham to a simple sprinkle of paprika. If served as an appetizer course, no side dishes are needed. If served at brunch, or as an entree, the side dishes should be such that they do not overpower the muted, carefully blended flavors of the eggs, spinach, and sauce. If wine is to be served, it should be white, preferably a slightly sweet white wine.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Calas

February 24, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Plate of calas at a New Orleans restaurant

Plate of calas at a New Orleans restaurant

Calas are dumplings composed primarily of cooked rice, yeast, sugar, eggs, and flour; the resulting batter is deep-fried. It is traditionally a breakfast dish, served with coffee or cafe au lait, and has a mention in most Creole cuisine cookbooks. Calas are also referred to as Creole rice fritters or rice doughnuts.

The origin of calas is most often credited to slaves who came from rice-growing regions of Africa. A 1653 French recipe, beignets de riz, lends support to a French origin as well. The name “calas” is said to have come from the Nupe word kara (“fried cake”). According to The Dictionary of American Food & Drink, the word calas was first printed in 1880.

Creole street vendors, typically women, sold the fresh hot calas in the city’s French Quarter, with the cry, “Bel calas tout chauds!” (Creole for “Beautiful calas, still hot”). These vendors, called “calas women”, would sell their pastries in the early morning from covered baskets or bowls carried upon their heads.

Writers in the first decade of the 20th century refer to the increasing rarity of calas as street food. Though not widely sold, calas continued to be made at home using leftover rice, and was a typical breakfast food in early 20th-century New Orleans.

After World War II, while the beignet remained popular, the calas became more and more obscure. From a breakfast food it evolved into a Mardi Gras and First Communion treat among Louisiana Creole families. It could be specially requested at some restaurants. Through the efforts of food preservationists, interest in calas was revived and it began to appear on the menus of some restaurants.

In early recipes for calas, rice was boiled and cooled, then yeast added to make a sponge that was allowed to proof overnight. From this a batter was made by adding eggs, sugar and a little flour for binding. Rice flour was preferable but difficult to obtain, according to Eustis. A dash of salt might be included, and a grating of nutmeg was a typical addition. The batter was dropped by spoonfuls into deep, boiling lard and fried until browned. Modern recipes reflect the changes in available ingredients, cooking practices, and taste. Baking powder is sometimes used in place of yeast; vegetable oil is substituted for lard; savory variations have been developed.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Quad City-Style Pizza

February 17, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Quad-City Style Pizza – This style of pizza usually has most of the toppings under the cheese

Quad City-style pizza is a unique pizza style that centers around the Quad Cities region of Iowa and Illinois in the United States. Characteristics of this style of pizza include a pizza crust made with malt, tomato sauce sometimes made with cayenne and red chili flakes, toppings placed under the cheese, and strips being cut instead of slices.

The first business to bring “Quad City”-style pizza to the public was Frank’s Pizza in 1955.

Tony’s Club Capri was the only sit-down style restaurant and bar. Phyllis Maniscalco, Tony’s wife, worked the cash registers, helped in the kitchen when needed and helped manage the business overall. Throughout the years, Tony’s children Giana and Tony Jr., as well as other family members, would also help out in the various locations. The sausage was always handmade, and Tony would pre-mix his spices by hand and measure them out in bags for his employees to then mix with the ground pork he butchered himself. Cheese was always grated in house and imported from a Chicago-area supplier. In addition to pizza, Tony served up Italian beef sandwiches, stromboli, house-made sausages, a variety of pasta dishes with his own signature marinara sauce. Desserts included spumoni ice cream and cannoli. This was his first location to offer more than just pizza.

Tony Sr.’s brother Frank Maniscalco also moved to the Quad Cities upon hearing of his brother’s success and decided to open up an additional location called Frank’s in Davenport off of Locust St. This is not to be confused with Frank’s in Silvis, IL. Tony Sr. was friends with the Serra family, and they had approached Tony Sr. about his recipe as they wanted to start a restaurant in Minnesota. Tony obliged, and after the Minnesota location failed the Serra’s came back to Tony Sr. and asked if they could open up in the Quad Cities. Since Tony Sr. did not have any restaurants in the Silvis/East Moline area at the time, it was decided that they would open a location in 1955 which still stands to this day – Frank’s Club Napoli Pizza in Silvis, IL. Also, contrary to popular belief, Harris Pizza was not the original “Quad Cities-style pizza”. Leonard and his wife Mary owned a small package liquor store in Rock Island, IL. Patrons often requested food, and Leonard saw this as an opportunity to expand his business. In 1960, an employee of Tony Sr. named Dick Kennedy, who also happened to be a good friend of Leonard Harris, had helped the Harris family develop the base recipe for Harris’ that they still use to this day.

Sausage pizza from Harris Pizza (Davenport, Iowa location)

In addition to the brick-and-mortar locations, Tony Sr. also made a name for himself in the grocery store’s freezer section. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Tony had started delivering par-baked/half-baked pizzas to the local A&P grocery stores. These were the first frozen pizzas in the Quad Cities at the time. In 1968, Tony Sr.’s pizza businesses and the recipes were sold to the family of Mama Bosso’s, who to this day still make pizzas you can purchase in the freezer section of local Quad Cities grocers such as Hy-Vee.

After that sale, Tony Sr. decided to venture into the home improvement business, but the restaurant industry still called his name. He would go on to open two additional locations in the 1970s – one in East Moline and one in the Wells Fargo Bowling Alley (where Clint’s used to be on the Avenue of the Cities in Moline). Tony finally got out of the restaurant business in the late 1970s when these locations were sold. He continued to work in home improvement until his untimely passing on July 6th, 1994.

Quad City-style pizza dough contains a “spice jam”, which is heavy on malt, which lends a toasted, nutty flavor. The pizzas are hand-tossed to be stretched into an even quarter-inch thin crust with a slight lip ringing the edge. The sauce contains both red chili flakes and ground cayenne, and the smooth, thin tomato spread is more spicy than sweet. The sausage is typically a thick blanket of lean, fennel-flecked Italian sausage sometimes ground twice and spread from edge to edge. The pizzas are cooked using a special gas oven with an average cooking time of about 12 minutes. The pizza is cut into strips, as opposed to being cut in slices. An average 16-inch pizza has about 14 strips, and a 10-inch pizza has about 10 strips.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Cornbread

February 10, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Cornbread is a generic name for any number of quick breads containing cornmeal and leavened by baking powder.

Skillet cornbread

Native Americans were using ground corn (maize) for food thousands of years before European explorers arrived in the New World. European settlers, especially those who resided in the southern English colonies, learned the original recipes and processes for corn dishes from the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek, and soon they devised recipes for using cornmeal in breads similar to those made of grains available in Europe. Cornbread has been called a “cornerstone” of Southern United States cuisine. Cornmeal is produced by grinding dry raw corn grains. A coarser meal (compare flour) made from corn is grits. Grits are produced by soaking raw corn grains in hot water containing calcium hydroxide (the alkaline salt), which loosens the grain hulls (bran) and increases the nutritional value of the product (by increasing available niacin and available amino acids). These are separated by washing and flotation in water, and the now softened slightly swelled grains are called hominy. Hominy, posole in Spanish, also is ground into masa harina for tamales and tortillas). This ancient Native American technology has been named nixtamalization. Besides cornbread, Native Americans used corn to make numerous other dishes from the familiar hominy grits to alcoholic beverages (such as Andean chicha). Cornbread was popular during the American Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different forms—high-rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried (as unleavened pone, corn fritters, hoecakes, etc.)
“ To a far greater degree than anyone realizes, several of the most important food dishes that the Southeastern Indians live on today is the “soul food” eaten by both black and white Southerners. Hominy, for example, is still eaten … Sofkee live on as grits … cornbread is used by Southern cooks … Indian fritters … variously known as “hoe cake”, … or “Johnny cake“. … Indian boiled cornbread is present in Southern cuisine as “corn meal dumplings”, … and as “hush puppies”, … Southerners cook their beans and field peas by boiling them, as did the Indians … like the Indians they cure their meat and smoke it over hickory coals. ”
—- Charles Hudson, The Southeastern Indians.

Types of cornbread

Home baked cornbread made with blue cornmeal

Cornbread is a popular item in soul food enjoyed by many people for its texture and aroma. Cornbread can be baked, fried or, rarely, steamed. Steamed cornbread is mushy, chewier and more like cornmeal pudding than what most consider to be traditional cornbread. Cornbread can also be baked into corn cakes.

* Baked cornbread – Cornbread is a common bread in United States cuisine, particularly associated with the South and Southwest, as well as being a traditional staple for populations where wheat flour was more expensive. In some parts of the South it is crumbled into a glass of cold milk or buttermilk and eaten with a spoon, and it is also widely eaten with barbecue and chili con carne. In rural areas of the southern United States in the mid 20th century cornbread, accompanied by pinto beans (often called soup beans in this context) or honey, was a common lunch for poor children. It is still a common side dish, often served with homemade butter, chunks of onion or scallions. Cornbread crumbs are also used in some poultry stuffings; cornbread stuffing is particularly associated with Thanksgiving turkeys.

In the United States, Northern and Southern cornbread are different because they generally use different types of corn meal and varying degrees of sugar and eggs. A preference for sweetness and adding sugar or molasses can be found in both regions, but salty or savory tastes are sometimes more common in the South, and thus favor using buttermilk in the batter or such additions as cracklins. Cornbread is occasionally crumbled and served with cold milk similar to cold cereal. In Texas, the Mexican influence has spawned a hearty cornbread made with fresh or creamed corn kernels, jalapeño peppers and topped with shredded cheese.

* Skillet-fried or skillet-baked cornbread (often simply called skillet bread or hoecake depending on the container in which it is cooked) is a traditional staple in the rural United States, especially in the South. This involves heating bacon drippings, lard or other oil in a heavy, well-seasoned cast iron skillet in an oven, and then pouring a batter made from cornmeal, egg, and milk directly into the hot grease. The mixture is returned to the oven to bake into a large, crumbly and sometimes very moist cake with a crunchy crust. This bread tends to be dense and usually served as an accompaniment rather than as a bread served as a regular course. In addition to the skillet method, such cornbread also may be made in sticks, muffins, or loaves.
A slightly different variety, cooked in a simple baking dish, is associated with northern US cuisine; it tends to be sweeter and lighter than southern-style cornbread; the batter for northern-style cornbread is very similar to and sometimes interchangeable with that of a corn muffin. A typical contemporary northern U.S. cornbread recipe contains half wheat flour, half cornmeal, milk or buttermilk, eggs, leavening agent, salt, and usually sugar, resulting in a bread that is somewhat lighter and sweeter than the traditional southern version. In the border states and parts of the Upper South, a cross between the two traditions is known as “light cornbread.”
Unlike fried variants of cornbread, baked cornbread is a quick bread that is dependent on an egg-based protein matrix for its structure (though the addition of wheat flour adds gluten to increase its cohesiveness). The baking process gelatinizes the starch in the cornmeal, but still often leaves some hard starch to give the finished product a distinctive sandiness not typical of breads made

Cornbread, prepared as a muffin

from other grains.

* Corn pone – Corn pone (sometimes referred to as “Indian pone“) is a type of cornbread made from a thick, malleable cornmeal dough (which is usually egg-less and milk-less) and baked in a specific type of iron pan over an open fire (such as a frontiersman would use), using butter, margarine, or cooking oil. Corn pones have been a staple of Southern U.S. cuisine, and have been discussed by many American writers, including Mark Twain.
In the Appalachian Mountains, cornbread baked in a round iron skillet or in a cake pan of any shape is still referred to as a “pone” of cornbread (as opposed to “hoe cakes,” the term for cornbread fried in pancake style), and when biscuit dough (i.e., “biscuits” in the American sense of the word) is occasionally baked in one large cake rather than as separate biscuits this is called a “biscuit pone.”
The term “corn pone” is sometimes used derogatively to refer to one who possesses certain rural, unsophisticated peculiarities (“he’s a corn pone”), or as an adjective to describe particular rural, folksy or “hick” characteristics (e.g., “corn pone” humor). This pejorative term often is directed at persons from rural areas of the southern and midwestern U.S. President John F. Kennedy‘s staffers, who despised Texan Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson, used to refer to him behind his back as ‘Uncle Cornpone’ or ‘Rufus Cornpone’.

* Hot water cornbread – Cooked on a rangetop, one frying method involves pouring a small amount of liquid batter made with boiling water and self-rising cornmeal (cornmeal with soda or some other chemical leavener added) into a skillet of hot oil, and allowing the crust to turn golden and crunchy while the center of the batter cooks into a crumbly, mushy bread. These small (3-4″ diameter) fried breads are soft and very rich. Sometimes, to ensure the consistency of the bread, a small amount of wheat flour is added to the batter. This type of cornbread is often known as “hot water” or “scald meal” cornbread and is unique to the American South.

Johnnycakes on a plate

* Johnnycakes – Pouring a batter similar to that of skillet-fried cornbread, but slightly thinner, into hot grease atop a griddle or a skillet produces a pancake-like bread called a johnnycake. This type of cornbread is prevalent in New England, particularly in Rhode Island, and also in the American Midwest and the American South. It is reminiscent of the term hoecake, used in the American South for fried cornbread pancakes, which may date back to stories about some people on the frontier making cornbread patties on the blade of a hoe.

* Hushpuppies – A thicker buttermilk-based batter which is deep-fried rather than pan-fried, forms the hushpuppy, a common accompaniment to fried fish and other seafood in the South. Hushpuppy recipes vary from state to state, some including onion seasoning, chopped onions, beer, or jalapeños. Fried properly, the hushpuppy will be moist and yellow or white on the inside, while crunchy and light to medium-dark golden brown on the outside.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Peanut Butter

February 3, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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“Smooth” peanut butter in a jar

Peanut butter is a food paste or spread made from ground, dry-roasted peanuts. It often contains additional ingredients that modify the taste or texture, such as salt, sweeteners, or emulsifiers. Peanut butter is popular in many countries. The United States is a leading exporter of peanut butter and itself consumes $800 million of peanut butter annually.

Peanut butter is served as a spread on bread, toast, or crackers, and used to make sandwiches (notably the peanut butter and jelly sandwich). It is also used in a number of breakfast dishes and desserts, such as peanut-flavored granola, smoothies, crepes, cookies, brownies, or croissants. It is similar to other nut butters such as cashew butter and almond butter.

The two main types of peanut butter are crunchy (or chunky) and smooth (or creamy). In crunchy peanut butter, some coarsely-ground peanut fragments are included to give extra texture. The peanuts in smooth peanut butter are ground uniformly, creating a creamy texture.

In the US, food regulations require that any product labelled “peanut butter” must contain at least 90% peanuts; the remaining <10% usually consists of “…salt, a sweetener, and an emulsifier or hardened vegetable oil which prevents the peanut oil from separating”. In the US, no product labelled as “peanut butter” can contain “artificial sweeteners, chemical preservatives, natural or artificial coloring additives.” Some brands of peanut butter are sold without emulsifiers that bind the peanut oils with the peanut paste, and so require stirring after separation. Most major brands of peanut butter add white sugar, but there are others that use dried cane syrup, agave syrup, or coconut palm sugar.

Organic and artisanal peanut butters are available, but their markets are small.

A tractor being used to complete the first stage of the peanut harvesting process

Production process
Planting and harvesting
Due to weather conditions, peanuts are usually planted in spring. The peanut comes from a yellow flower which bends over and infiltrates the soil after blooming and wilting, and the peanut starts to grow in the soil. Peanuts are harvested from late August to October, while the weather is clear. This weather allows for dry soil so that when picked, the soil does not stick to the stems and pods. The peanuts are then removed from vines and transported to a peanut shelling machine for mechanical drying. After cropping, the peanuts are delivered to warehouses for cleaning, where they are stored unshelled in silos.

Shelling
Shelling must be conducted carefully lest the seeds be damaged during the removal of the shell. The moisture of the unshelled peanuts is controlled to avoid excessive frangibility of the shells and kernels, which in turn, reduces the amount of dust present in the plant. After, the peanuts are sent to a series of rollers set specifically for the batch of peanuts, where they are cracked. After cracking, the peanuts go through a screening process where they are inspected for contaminants.

Roasting
The dry roasting process employs either the batch or continuous method. In the batch method, peanuts are heated in large quantities in a revolving oven at about 800 °F (427 °C). Next, the peanuts in each batch are uniformly held and roasted in the oven at 320 °F (160 °C) for about 40 to 60 minutes. This method is good to use when the peanuts differ in moisture content. In the continuous method, a hot air roaster is employed. The peanuts pass through the roaster whilst being rocked to permit even roasting. A photometer indicates the completion of dry roasting. This method is favored by large manufacturers since it can lower the rate of spoilage and requires less labor.

Cooling
After dry roasting, peanuts are removed from the oven as quickly as possible and directly placed in a blower-cooler cylinder. There are suction fans in the metal cylinder that can pull a large volume of air through, so the peanuts can be cooled more efficiently. The peanuts will not be dried out because cooling can help retain some oil and moisture. The cooling process is completed when the temperature in the cylinder reaches 86 °F (30 °C).

Blanching
After the kernels have been cooled down, the peanuts will undergo either heat blanching or water blanching to remove the remaining seed coats. Compared to heat blanching, water blanching is a new process. Water blanching first appeared in 1949.

Heat blanching
Peanuts are heated by hot air at 280 °F (138 °C) for not more than 20 minutes in order to soften and split the skins. After that, the peanuts are exposed to continuous steam in a blanching machine. The skins are then removed using either bristles or soft rubber belts. After that, these skins are separated and blown into waste bags. Meanwhile, the hearts of peanuts are segregated through inspection.

Water blanching
After the kernels are arranged in troughs, the skin of the kernel is cracked on opposite sides by rolling it through sharp stationary blades. While the skins are removed, the kernels are brought through a one-minute hot water bath and placed on a swinging pad with canvas on top. The swinging action of the pad rubs off the skins. Afterward, the blanched kernels are dried for at least six hours by hot air at 120 °F (49 °C).

After blanching, the peanuts are screened and inspected to eliminate the burnt and rotten peanuts. A blower is also used to remove light peanuts and discolored peanuts are removed using a color sorting machine.

Grinding
After blanching the peanuts are sent to grinding to be manufactured into peanut butter. The peanuts are then sent through two sizes of grinders. The first grinder produces a medium grind, and the second produces a fine grind. At this point, salt, sugar and a vegetable oil stabilizer are added to the fine grind to produce the peanut butter. This adds flavor and allows the peanut butter to stay as a homogenous mixture. Chopped peanuts may also be added at this stage to produce “chunky” peanut butter.

Packaging

A jar of commercial “creamy” peanut butter

Before packaging, the peanut butter must first be cooled in order to be sealed in jars. The mixture is pumped into a heat exchanger in order to cool it to about 120 °F (49 °C). Once cool, the peanut butter is pumped into jars and vacuum sealed. This vacuum sealing rids the container of oxygen so that oxidation cannot occur, preserving the food. The jars are then labelled and set aside until crystallization occurs. The peanut butter is then packaged into cartons distributed to retailers, where they are stored at room temperature and sold to consumers.

A 2012 article stated that “China and India are the first and second largest producers, respectively”, of peanuts. The United States of America “…is the third largest producer of peanuts (Georgia and Texas are the two major peanut-producing states)” and “more than half of the American peanut crop goes into making peanut butter.”

Nutritional profile
In a 100 gram amount, smooth peanut butter supplies 588 Calories and is composed of 50% fat, 25% protein, 20% carbohydrates (including 6% dietary fiber), and 2% water (table).

Peanut butter is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of dietary fiber, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, niacin, and vitamin B6 (table, USDA National Nutrient Database). Also high in content are the dietary minerals manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper (table). Peanut butter is a moderate source (10–19% DV) of thiamin, iron, and potassium (table).

Both crunchy/chunky and smooth peanut butter are sources of saturated (primarily palmitic acid, 21% of total fat) and monounsaturated fats, mainly oleic acid as 47% of total fat, and polyunsaturated fat (28% of total fat), primarily as linoleic acid).

Peanut allergy
For people with a peanut allergy, peanut butter can cause a variety of possible allergic reactions, including life-threatening anaphylaxis. This potential effect has led to banning peanut butter, among other common foods, in some schools.

Symptoms
* Shortness of breath
* Wheezing
* Tightening of the throat
* Itching
* Skin reactions such as hives and swelling
* Digestive problems

Peanut butter cookies, a popular type of cookie made from peanut butter and other ingredients

As an ingredient
Peanut butter is included as an ingredient in many recipes: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter cookies, and candies where peanut is the main flavor, such as Reese’s Pieces, or various peanut butter and chocolate treats, such as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and the Crispy Crunch candy bar.

Peanut butter’s flavor combines well with other flavors, such as oatmeal, cheese, cured meats, savory sauces, and various types of breads and crackers. The creamy or crunchy, fatty, salty taste pairs very well with complementary soft and sweet ingredients like fruit preserves, bananas, apples, and honey. The taste can also be enhanced by similarly salty things like bacon (see peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich), especially if the peanut butter has added sweetness.

One snack for children is called “Ants on a Log”, with a celery stick acting as the “log”. The groove in the celery stick is filled with peanut butter and raisins arranged in a row along the top are “ants”.

Plumpy’nut is a peanut butter-based food used to fight malnutrition in famine-stricken countries. A single pack contains 500 calories, can be stored unrefrigerated for 2 years, and requires no cooking or preparation.

As animal food
Peanut butter inside a hollow chew toy is a method to occupy a dog with a favored treat. A common outdoor bird feeder is a coating of peanut butter on a pine cone with an overlying layer of birdseed.

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