This Week in Food History – 08/14/2017

Where were we? Ah yes, we started telling you about the great food articles resources we love to turn to for this Monday, Food Holidays series. The Kitchen Project is the next one we’d like to tell you about. Does the name “Alan Parsons Project” ring a bell? Stephen Block, the author of the website, loved the band and the word “project” fits his experience in the kitchen to a T. The Kitchen Project began with a cookbook to revive and preserve his German grandmother’s time-honored dishes. It evolved into an exploration of the history behind traditional and modern recipes. For instance, you can read about the History of Buffalo Wings RIGHT HERE.

Meanwhile, here are this week’s noteworthy Food Highlights… 

August 14 is National Creamsicle Day – Frank Epperson. Remember that name? Yes. The popsicle kid! At just 11-years old, the frozen treat wiz successfully enclosed vanilla ice cream within an outer layer of fruit juice. Bet a number of scientists out there who slapped their foreheads wondering, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Today, Epperson would go viral on the Internet, for sure. A recipe clip seems fitting. Enjoy.

August 15 is Julia Child’s Birthday – The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. Life itself is the proper binge. Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it… Just a few of the many words of wisdom the great dame of cooking we know as Julia Child left behind as part of her immense legacy. The legendary chef who’s own first attempts at cooking resulted in an oven fire and an exploded duck became an inspiration and a reminder: Savor, savor, savor with abandon, from table to every corner of each day. It is not a Food Holiday that we chose to highlight on this day, but rather an attitude. Happy Birthday Julia!

August 16 is National Bratwurst Day – The first known “cookbook” was compiled in Rome in the early 3rd century AD, and it features several sausage recipes. One of the reasons Germans produce some of the best cured sausages is climate. The curing process is especially enhanced by the drier air and cool northern winds of mountainous regions. The name “Bratwurst” comes from Old German spoken sometime between 800 and 1000 AC. “Brat” means “meat without waste.” “Wurst” refers to “mixture.”

August 17 is National Vanilla Custard Day – Custards played an important role in the history of our country. By the mid-9th century, the savory boiled puddings that had conveniently fed large families were no longer an important staple since there was an abundance of food (relatively speaking, of course). This inspired more creative concoctions, and the sweet custard was born. Custard powder was introduced as an alternative to egg as a thickening agent at about the same time. This greatly broadened the range of foods colonists on the move could preserve and enjoy along the way.

August 18 is National Soft Ice Cream Day – Soft ice cream was initially known as “frozen custard.” As with other frozen delights devised in the early 1900’s, many claim “inventor” status. Two stories stand out; the first in 1919 when Coney Island Vendor Archie C. Kohr added eggs to his ice cream recipe to give it a fluffier texture. The second claim comes from Harsdale, NY, Memorial Day Weekend 1934. Tom Carvellus’ ice cream truck got a flat tire. He proceeded to sell his softening product as is, and it was a hit.

August 19 is National Potato Day – Spanish Conquistadors fell in love with potatoes when they conquered Peru in 1536. They introduced it to Europe upon returning home. The native Incas had been cultivating it since around the 7th century B.C. European crop farmers soon realized that the potato was easier to grow and harvest than the corn, rice and wheat they relied on as staple grain crops. Incidentally, more people could be fed per acre of potato harvest and potatoes provided more essential nutrients.

August 20 is National Bacon Lovers Day – It’s also Lemonade Day. Which would you rather discuss? You might have had a lemonade stand as a child, or at least you’ve heard about this fun summer activity common to towns and suburbs from the 1950’s to 70’s. But why have we never heard of a bacon stand? Did you know that when asked what food they would favor as a “National Food,” nearly 70% of Americans say BACON!


Thanks for reading. Liked what you learned here? Please share it. Also visit 158 Main and JPD on Facebook and See you here next week for more historical nibbles…

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