National Strawberry Day
I grew up in the Strawberry Capital of the World. At least, I thought it was - that's how it was touted by the tourism board and we had the California Strawberry Festival, so it had to be, right? Well, Plant City, Florida, lays claim to the title "Winter Strawberry Capital of the World" and has a strawberry festival of it's own. (Starting in two days, actually!) Ok, ok...I can be cool with that... the addition of "Winter" makes it different enough. But did you know Louisiana has a strawberry festival, too? And Texas? Virginia? Tennessee? Wisconsin?!
Most of those places are not places I've associated with strawberries. California, Florida, and New England are the US locations I most associated with strawberries. According to this USDA paper, CA, FL, and Oregon are the three states that are the biggest suppliers of strawberries in the US. (Take a look - some of the stats in that paper are very interesting.) This economic paper from Iowa State has some interesting information about the cost of producing strawberries in CA, FL, and OR, as well as information about how US production compares to other regions of the world.
That paper would've come in handy when a Finnish penpal sent me a postcard saying some city in Finland was the Strawberry Capital of the World. Or when a French guy tried to convince me that a city in France was the Strawberry Capital of the World. We had a very loud argument about that because I wasn't going to concede and neither was he.
National Kahlua Day
I'm not a fan of drinking Kahlua, but I sure do enjoy baking with it. There are hundreds of different Kahlua cake recipes out there, but I have a favorite. I got this from one of my former roommates, who got it from her mom, who... Well, this is where it gets a little complicated. Apparently my roommate's mom worked with a lady who made a delicious, delicious cake and refused to give the recipe to anyone. She eventually gave it to a couple as a wedding gift, making them swear never to share the recipe. One day, the original baker dropped the recipe in the parking lot, left it on her desk, or somehow left it vulnerable because one of her coworkers copied it and shared it with everyone before the original baker knew. At least, that's the story I've been told- I often wonder at the veracity of the story. It almost has the makings of a fairy tale.
Anyhow, here's the recipe! It's a very moist, very rich cake.
CHOCOLATE KAHLÚA CAKE
1 German chocolate cake mix w/pudding
½ cup Kahlua
¼ cup oil
16 oz. sour cream
12 oz. chocolate chips
Blend cake mix, eggs, Kahlua, oil and sour cream. Stir in chocolate
chips. Pour into a greased and floured tube or Bundtcake pan. Bake
40-45 minutes at 350. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan.
Can be sprinkled with powdered sugar.