Category Archives: New Orleans

Unique December Facts

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“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

The good news is December has been declared Bingo Celebration

Month! I used to love it when my family would play this, with

guests. Sometimes my cousins, sometimes neighbors, we would

be out on the picnic table with our chips and our Dad would be

the one to spin the wire caged wheel and pull out the wooden

balls with the letters, “B,I,N,G” or “O.”

Did you know this is an ‘ancient’ game? It has been around since

the 1500’s.

I used to love being the “Caller” for Bingo at the Arbors Nursing Home,

while my residents were always happy to call out, “Bingo!” The young

volunteers would run over and give them their quarter. When the whole

card got filled, we would start all over again. The reward for a filled card

was one dollar bill. This was a big exciting reward to the folks who lived

there.

 

On a much more solemn note, December 16, 1944 was the day the big

“Battle of the Bulge” was carried out.

 

The Official End of WWII was on December 31, 1946.

Peace on Earth, Good will to Men.

 

Did you know every day of the month has a food item?

 

DECEMBER DAYS OF FOOD (Beverage or Other):

Dec. 1- National Pie Day.

Eat A Red Apple Day.

 

Dec. 2- National Apple Pie Day.

 

Dec. 4- National Cookie Day.

(Every day is this one for me! smiles)

 

Dec. 5- Repeal Day ~ Prohibition Day (U.S.).

National Sacher Torte Day.

(In Vienna, Austria a man named Franz Sacher created this

delicious chocolate, light cake or torte, in 1832.)

 

Dec. 6- National Gazpacho Day.

(Associated with Andalusia, part of Spain, but its roots go back

into Arab and other ancient times. Cold, savory soup, made of

raw vegetables.)

Also, National Microwave Oven Day.

(I do appreciate this electronic invention.)

 

Dec. 7- National Cotton Candy Day.

(Why is this in our winter? Is this for places who have fairs and

festivals in December?)

 

Dec. 8- National Chocolate Brownie Day.

Dec. 9- National Pastry Day.

Dec. 10- National Lager Day.

 

Dec. 11- National Noodle Ring Day.

(This is hard to find its roots, but mainly described as

a circle of noodles with a cheese incorporated into it,

attributed to Germany.)

 

Dec. 12- National Cocoa Day.

 

Dec. 13- National Ice Cream Day.

(Why, again, are we eating ice cream in the cold weather?

This must be made up by people in warmer climates.

Also, National Violins Day.

 

Dec. 14- National Bouillabaisse Day.

(I enjoy this savory, warm soup. It originated from fishing

villages in France. Marseilles may have been its first place

of origin, with three kinds of fish and Provencal seasonings.)

 

Dec. 15- National Cupcake Day.

 

**Dec. 16- National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day!!**

Woo hoo!

 

Dec. 17- National Maple Syrup Day.

(This would be the perfect day or excuse to make pancakes

or waffles!)

 

Dec. 18- National Suckling Pig Day.

(This comes from mainly Chinese cuisine, but there are some

references going back to Roman times. This is a very young

pig, which has a lot of collagen in its skin, hard to ‘crisp up,’

while it is considered a delicacy.)

 

Dec. 19- National Hard Candy.

(What is your favorite hard candy?

My Dad’s was either horehound or cinnamon drops.

Mom’s was butterscotch drops. My favorite flavor is found in

either the caramel flavored Nips or Werther’s candies.)

 

Dec. 20- National Fried Shrimp Day.

(This makes me think of Louisiana cooking with crawdads or

prawns. This would be prepared as Shrimp Creole. I enjoy

the butter sauce with garlic infusion:  Shrimp Scampi.)

 

Also on the 20th- National Sangria Day.

“Ole!”

(You probably already know this is my Mom’s favorite wine

to sip on at bedtime, using a small juice glass. I have a

Spanish toast on another post…)

 

Dec. 21- National Hamburger Day.

Going from the red meat to fruit…

National Kiwi Fruit Day.

 

Dec. 22- National Date Nut Bread.

 

Dec. 23- National Pfeffernuesse Day.

(This traditional German spice cookie covered with powdered

confectioner’s sugar is one that takes me back to my Grandma’s

kitchen. It reminds me of the flavors of gingerbread cookies.)

 

Dec. 24- National Feast of the Seven Fishes.

(This comes from Italy, which celebrates the Wait or Vigil for

the Baby Jesus, by serving fish from the Mediterranean Sea.)

 

Also, National Egg Nog Day.

(I like this use of nutmeg, heavy cream and Irish whiskey or

other alcohol. Mom likes the non-alcoholic milky drink from

United Dairy Farmers.)

 

Dec. 25- National Pumpkin Pie Day.

(Just in case you didn’t get enough of this holiday pie at

Thanksgiving.)

 

Dec. 26- National Candy Cane Day.

Dec. 27- National Fruit Cake Day.

 

Dec. 28- National Chocolate Candy Day.

(Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter also celebrate

this national holiday- just being ‘facetious.’)

 

Dec. 29- National Pepper Pot Soup Day.

(There are recipes for this Jamaican cuisine along

with one from Philadelphia.)

 

Dec. 30- National Bicarbonate of Soda Day,

(Thank you for this Baking Soda Day. I like to use this

special rising ingredient in many baked goods, but can

taste it the most in homemade biscuits.)

 

Dec. 31- National Champagne Day.

(Say a toast to “Auld Lang Syne”  and Happy New Year, 2015!)

 

The research on some of these food items is not complete, but I did

look up the ones I did not know where the foods originated in. If

you would like to share a favorite family traditional food item in the

comments section, we would enjoy hearing about them. Thank you!

 

 

 

In the Vault: Louis Armstrong Interview

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Louis Armstrong loved performing and we all enjoyed his jazz music

immensely. He was a grandson of slaves, raised by various family

members, and led a troubled young life. He “beat the odds” and was

socially acceptable in the higher echelons of circles in his adult life

due to his talent while playing his trumpet, cornet or singing with his

famous ‘gravelly’ voice. One of his last informal interviews was with

some 13 and 14 year olds who “dared” to catch him alone and ask him

to let them talk to him.

There were three youngsters in New Orleans who were brass band

players. Their names were not given but this is a taped interview that

was released, considered kept “In the Vault.”

I imagine that it means that it was worth saving and releasing after his

death.  The young teens managed to dodge the bouncers or protective

staff to get inside and knock on his behind the stage, dressing room

door.

The great jazz artist was wearing boxer shorts and an underwear t-shirt,

tank top or what many consider ‘muscle’ shirts.

They were high school marching band players and told Louis Armstrong

that their favorite song was “When the Saints Go Marching In.”  To the

gentle, soft spoken man, Louis thought they seemed like ‘new blood,’

needed ‘encouragement and some ‘inspiration.’

I would consider Louis Armstrong’s giving his private time a very valuable

gift given. His words of encouragement were meant to push them, to give

them the drive and determination to succeed.

When I hear of famous people giving their time to impart their thoughts

and wisdom, it makes my heart warm.

I am always glad when no rudeness is shown on either side. Young

people have always needed good role models.

Here is some of the ‘essence’ of Louis Armstrong’s informal but

meaningful interview:

“Be like shining stars in the sky.”

When asked how did he know how to become successful by the

trio of boys, Louis Armstrong gave these paraphrased words:

“I was determined. You have to be good or bad, it’s the devil.

Blow your horn daily. Warm up, practice, play and clean your

horn daily.

Keep up the chops!

You either have it or you don’t.

Play church hymns and include prayer in your life.

Find the songs that make you happy and play them daily.

In other words, play music to stay happy.”

(These lessons were meant to stay with the young men.)

When they asked, “How did you get your nickname, Mr.

Armstrong?”

He said,

“I got off a train in Bristol, England, had taken it to get to a club

where my band was playing. I have always had a large mouth

and on that day while carrying a satchel, someone remarked,

‘Satchel Mouth.’ From there, the shortened version of that

nickname became ‘Satchmo.'”

When the boys were shooed out of the dressing room by someone

entering, Louis Armstrong thanked THEM.

They thanked him back.

What an honor and a privilege for those young men!

I think if each person could have a conversation with the person they

most admired during their teenage years, we all would be so much

more motivated. Even now, who would you choose to talk to, living or

dead? I have admired Eleanore Roosevelt and Clara Barton, but so

many come to mind, I might need one of those tables that some create

for a fancy dinner party with famous people. Or maybe it would be nice

to have an informal picnic. This might get the guests relaxed and more

likely to share their bits of wisdom. Mine might have more than eight at

my party!