The History of Pumpkin and Christmas

The History of Pumpkin and Christmas

When it comes to Christmas the United States can lay claim to few traditional elements of the season. Christmas trees came from Germany, Santa Claus came from Turkey, while Christmas pudding, eggnog and mistletoe all came from various places in Europe. America just adopted them all. Except for pumpkin. Pumpkin is one of America’s greatest contributions to Christmas. Wait, you say – pumpkin has nothing to do with Christmas in America? Well, hold on there, pilgrim. The pumpkin was, from the very beginning, a festive element in the Puritan Christmas. Wait, again, you say – the Puritans didn’t celebrate Christmas,Read more

Pumpkin Pie Poetry

Pumpkin Pie Poetry

The Thanksgiving of old America included a serious reverence the people of the 18th and 19th centuries had for pumpkin pie. Said the editor of the Philadelphia Ledger in 1837 “that he should like to be thrown into a pumpkin pie as large as Lake Superior, only deeper, and obliged it eat his way out.” Some historians and foodies would have you to believe that pumpkin was a staple of the early American diet. But don’t you believe it. There was nothing normal or routine or regular about it. It has been, from the very beginning, a harvest food foreverRead more

Real Onion Dip

Real Onion Dip

The staple of all dip standards when it comes to year round entertain is the timeless combination of Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix with sour cream. Have that and your dips will be a hit. But what if you want an onion dip with a little zing…a little surprise shot of freshness, a dip that makes folks grab another chip and ask, “what’s in this stuff?” The rumor about the Lipton dip is that it was devised in the 50s and proves so popular as part of holiday entertaining that more of Lipton’s product ends up on chips and not reallyRead more

Top Ten Alternative Uses for Fruitcake

Top Ten Alternative Uses for Fruitcake

1. Bury them in the back yard for future archaeologists to discover. 2. Give them to your son for a science project 3. Hang on to it to find out if there REALLY is more than one Fruitcake that’s making it’s rounds every year. 4. Use it to hold up a broken table or chair leg. 5. Mash them down and use for mortar when building a log cabin. 6. Use as exercise stepping block for step aerobics. 7. Makes a wonderful dessert for Road Kill Cafe fare. 8. Use them to pave the freeways with. Just place them onRead more

The Mesmerizing Art of Christmas Pancakes

The Mesmerizing Art of Christmas Pancakes

There are a lot of foods associated with Christmas but the last you would expect to be merry would be pancakes. But if you’re looking for a little kitchen entertainment for the kids on a December Saturday this might be a good idea. Now, just a note about these — you can find lots of Christmas pancake ideas on the Internet but most of them involve other foods like whipped cream, berries, bacon and such. In my book, that’s cheating. This guy gets it right — it’s just him, pancake batter and a hot griddle against the world here. That’sRead more

Thanksgiving Debate of Stuffing or Dressing

Thanksgiving Debate of Stuffing or Dressing

While the world embroils itself in constant debates and controversies each holiday season and calls it the War on Christmas the skirmishes over Thanksgiving get a pass. That is mostly because the debates of Thanksgiving rage about food. There is no greater debate at Thanksgiving than the one of stuffing versus dressing. Which do you have? And how can you tell the difference? The debate could well date back to Civil War times — yes, a North versus South thing. Only Yankees “stuff” their bird. They will combine bread with celery and onions and cook it inside the bird. TheRead more

Pumpkin Shortage Looms for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Shortage Looms for Thanksgiving

2015 has not been a great year for the traditional foods of Thanksgiving. A bird flu virus threatened to wipe out the 2015 turkey flocks earlier in the year and now it appears canned pumpkin may be in short supply for Thanksgiving. According to crop experts in Illinois, the country’s top pumpkin-producing state, forecasts show supplies of canned pumpkin falling short compared to past years and consumers may find grocer shelves empty of the product by the middle of November. “I would not wait until Nov. 20,” University of Illinois professor Mohammad Babadoost said, referencing the Nov. 26 holiday. “I’dRead more

History of Eggnog

History of Eggnog

Christmas of 1826 was snowy, cold and lonely for the cadets of West Point. Though called “men” they were really teenage boys — some as young as 17 — and they wanted to celebrate Christmas. Young Jefferson Davis, future president of the Confederate States of America, was among them. But West Point then, as it is now, was a house of order and discipline. The military academy was under the strictest orders of sobriety that Christmas season. And being young men some took it upon themselves to challenge those orders in the name of holiday celebration. They organized, they partiedRead more

Fruitcake Toss Day

Fruitcake Toss Day

Today is January 3rd and there are only 356 days until Christmas. It is National Fruit Cake Toss Day and no, we’re not kidding. The first Fruitcake Toss Day was celebrated in Manitou Springs, Colorado in 1995 where it is still celebrated today. Check it out: We haven’t seen their 2014 video yet. There is a rumor going about they smoke those things there now, so who knows. Today is also Festival of Sleep Day, a grand post-Christmas tradition. If you cannot sleep perhaps you would consider participating in National Humiliation Day. It’s not what you think. In my mind’sRead more

Great Debate: To Baste or Not to Baste?

Great Debate: To Baste or Not to Baste?

By Jeff Westover (Author bias: I’ve never basted our turkey. After he is stuffed we give him a light rub down with vegetable oil to give him that overall toasty look and then lightly cover him in foil. That foil stays on until the last hour and then it is removed. The habit of opening the oven to squirt the bird in his own juices seems to be a little cruel to the bird and a good waste of some serious football time). While at the grocery store buying my Thanskgiving provisions I heard a man and his wife discussingRead more