Monday, September 10, 2012

Hiatus...or maybe just sporadic posting

Unfortunately, this semester is shaping up to be a lot harder than I anticipated. Rather than fill this post with explanations why (which I did originally until I realized just how whiny it sounded), I'll keep this short.  I'll be putting Menu By Calendar on extended hiatus.  Hopefully, I'll get in some sporadic posting and post at least a list of the remaining food celebrations. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Oh, yikes!

I'm sorry folks.  With the start of school, a trip to DC, new work responsibilities, and a family visit, I got a little overwhelmed and have fallen behind.  Rest assured, I am working on getting caught up, and will hopefully get everything caught up by the end of Labor Day weekend. 

Sorry, folks, and I appreciate the patience.  As well as the concerned messages.  :)  Thanks.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18: National Ice Cream Pie Day and National Soft Ice Cream Day

Two cold treats are celebrated today!  Even though the temps aren't as hot as last month, cold treats are very much welcome.

National Ice Cream Pie Day

I couldn't find anything on the history of ice cream pie, but I did find out there's an ice cream pie for everyone.  Like chocolate chip cookies?  Try this chocolate chip cookie-inspired ice cream pie.  Can't start your day without your daily java jolt?  Try this coffee liquer ice cream cake.  There are just so  many different kinds of ice cream pie!  What's your favorite treat?  Because I really wouldn't be surprised to find it as an ice cream pie.  There's an ice cream pie inspired by turtles (the candy), Mississippi mud,  and grasshoppers (the drink, I think.) Oreos add nice texture and flavor to this ice cream pie. 

None of those ice cream pies strike your fancy?  Check out the recipe collections from Sunset MagazineAll Recipes, and Pillsbury.    You're very likely to find one you like.  (And as a bonus, there are tips over at the Pillsbury site.)

National Soft Ice Cream Day

Some places say this is the 19th, but it seems like it's supposed to be the 18th, so here it is!

Soft ice cream is what I know as soft serve ice cream.  Apparently you can make it at home...but you have to have the right equipment and I seriously doubt anyone reading this has a soft serve ice cream maker at home, so if you do, you won't recipes for soft ice cream here.  Maybe one, which anyone can do: take ice cream out of freezer, set it aside for 15 minues, and scoop out some soft ice cream.  Easy-peasy.

Soft serve ice cream isone of those foods with a disputed history.  Carvel claims Tom Carvel invented it, while Dairy Queen claims John McCullogh invented it and another site claims Margaret Thatcher invented it!  Whoever invented it did the world a favor - now we don't have to wait for our ice cream to melth just a bit before eating.

If you're interested in celebrating today, Burger King will sell soft serve ice cream for 50 cents until th end of the month,

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17: National Vanilla Custard Day

Vanilla custard is suprisingly very varied in form.  You can serve it with caramel sauce on top, in the classic Mexican flan.  Or how about pairing the sweet vanilla flavor with raspberries?  Try serving vanilla custard pie at your next brunch or take a cue from Guam and serve vanilla custard cake instead.  Or how about serving the vanilla custard in individual cups?

Food Timeline provides us with some history on custard, but there doesn't seem to be a way to pinpoint when vanilla became a popular custard flavor.

Well, no way yet with current techology.  I seriously doubt anyone has a working TARDIS.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16: National Rum Day and National Bratwurst Day

National Rum Day

The only way I've had rum is in mixed drinks and cakes.  I've never been one to savor rum on it's own, so I've never gotten to the point where I could identify all the notes of rum.  To me, one rum is the same as another rum.  Obviously, that's the completely wrong way to approach rum, as rums are all very different.

If you're planning a wedding and looking to serve a signature cocktail, why not consider a rum cocktail for your wedding?  Or do a rum wedding cake?  Or do a whole rum theme and give little bottles of rum to your guests?   (Sorry...seems everyone around me is getting married and I have weddings on the brain!)

Not planning a wedding anytime soon?  Check out everything you need to know about rum and use the above ideas at a party. (Bonus points if you tell everyone to show up as a pirate.)  Trust me, if you give little bottles of rum to every guest that comes by, they'll remember the party.

At least, the part before they drank.

National Bratwurst Day

Bratwursts, in the US, are typically pork sausages with a high fat content.  At barbeques, I prefer bratwursts instead of hot dogs - brats are just so much more flavorful.  I've always thought of brats as a German food, and while extremely popular and part of German cuisine, the bratwurst was actually invented by the Celtics.  Still, the Germans made bratwurst popular with each region of Germany making bratwurst with their own seasoning.  And, if I ever make it to Germany, I need to check out the Bratwurst Museum.

In the US, the apparent hotspot for bratwurst is Wisconsin, host to the World's Largets Brat Fest.  In a separate part of Wisconsin, there's Brat Days, another bratwurst festival.

To celebrate today, I suggest cooking up some of your favorite brats, and eating them topped with sauerkraut.  Or make Bobby Flay's recipe featuring bratwurst simmered in beer.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15: National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

Lemon meringue pie is one of my all-time favorite pies.  I think that's why I'm so afraid to try making it.  What if I mess up?  Will lemon meringue pie be ruined for me forever?

Actually, I think I've never made lemon meringue pie because no one around me likes it.  The cool, tart flavor that I adore is unappealing to my friends and family.  I'm not one for baking sweet treats if I'm the only one eating them.  When I do get a chance to make a lemon meringue pie, I'll be using Alton Brown's recipe

Lemon meringue pie was reportedly created by a Philadephia cook who improved upon the Quaker-created lemon custard.  (Note to self:  add "Eat lemon meringue pie in Philadelphia" to bucket list.) 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14: National Creamsicle Day

Creamsicles are popsicles with ice cream in the center, and I think most people think of the vanilla ice cream and orange flavored popsicle combo when they hear "creamsicle."  Creamsicles appear to be very popular and can be found across the country. As with any popular food item, there are many recipes for homemade versions (some with grapefruit flavor.)  This recipe made for a Zoku (but can really be used with any popsicle mold) uses buttermilk to get the creamy flavor.  I don't think any ice cream molds exist yet that will allow for homemade versions to be like the real thing.

Also as with any popular food item, there are plenty of grown-up drink recipes that try to capture the flavor.  This recipe makes a whole mug of a very close match using whipped cream vodka. If a whole mug of drink isn't your style, try making jello shots instead.  For a super-easy jello shot recipe, check out this 3-ingredient recipe.

According to WiseGeek, today is not an official "National" day because there has been no official government action to deem it so, but August 14th has become known as "National Creamsicle Day."  I think we can thank the good folks over in the Unilever publicity department for that.