Grab the kids and grandkids to dive into Holiday baking madness!! Do the traditional frosted sugar cookies or maybe try something new this year, like Cinnamon Roll Cookies, they sound AMAZING!! Here is a great link to the Top 10 Christmas cookie recipes. YUM! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
What else would today be if not the Co-conspirator of turkey everywhere? That is right, it is Cranberry Day! We once again ask why, especially when it comes to that wiggly, jiggly, ridged cranberry sauce from the can.
I don’t know how I knew that the cranberry is actually native to North America, but I did and it is. As a wild perennial, we know Native Americans used cranberries as both food and medicine. Cranberries are well-suited to the chilly climate and acidic soil of the Northern hemisphere, and are grown in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey and in parts of Washington and Oregon. Wisconsin is currently producing more than half of the world’s total crop. Cranberries, Concord grapes, and blueberries often get lumped together as the only fruits native to North America – but that’s only partially correct. They are the only native North American fruits which are commercially grown. And of those three, cranberries were the first to flourish as a commercial crop thanks to innovative growing practices, including the introduction of wet harvesting and the formation of a cooperative of growers we know today as Ocean Spray.
In the 1930’s cranberry farming shifted from dry harvesting to wet. Dry harvesting is a labor-intensive affair. Wet harvesting cuts the labor to a handful of people but comes with a caveat. The berries are often too imperfect to sell as fresh product, leaving companies like Ocean Spray to meet this challenge with a solution they had waiting on the bench the whole time: Can ‘em.
You can read more here about cranberries, their harvest and history. And if you are really interested please click here for a short video on how to create the “jellied cranberry rose”.
Gingerbread Day – Nothing says the holidays are have arrived quite like gingerbread. There are gingerbread houses, men, cookies and loaves among other things! Since I tend to always be a tad inquisitive (kind of goes with the legal profession) I decided to learn a little about where gingerbread came from and why those little houses.
“Run, run, fast as you can,
You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”
~ The Gingerbread Man, a fairy tale
Gingerbread has been around a long time, and in fact, the first known recipe for gingerbread came from Greece in 2400 B.C. The Chinese have recipes recorded in the 10th century, and in Medieval England, the term gingerbread simply meant “preserved ginger” and wasn’t applied to the desserts we are familiar with until the 15th century. Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century. The decorating of the houses became popular when the well known tale of “Hansel and Gretel” by The Brothers Grimm became popular. It was at that time that the houses migrated to the US, coming here with German settlers. And now, according to the Wilton Blog, over 2,000,000 houses were made in 2011, how far we have come!!
PBS writer Tori Avey has done a great job of getting to the bottom of gingerbread fact and fiction. She even has the world record gingerbread house specs from 2013, spanning more than 40,000 square feet. Now that, gingerbread men and women, is quite the place!! If you are interested in reading more on this fascinating history, that has become a tradition please click here.