Category Archives: pfeffernusse

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!

 

 

 

December Around the World

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This is an exciting month for many people around the world! I hope

you  will find some interesting facts about holly or other news here,

along with some important dates to remember. My Mom told me that

she and Dad liked to decorate the mantel over the fireplace, with yew

branches.

I always feel there is a sense of wonder, magic and celebration in the air!

DECEMBER

2nd~  New Moon

“To have a project prosper, start it during the new moon.” Old Farmer’s

Almanac, 2013.

Hanukkah which started on November 28, 2013 lasts eight days. This

would mean that (I think) it would end on December 5, 2013, counting

the beginning day.

7th~  Pearl Harbor Day

Remembering the bombing of Pearl Harbor and how sad we felt when

our own “territory” was attacked.

12th~  National Poinsettia Day

While in Mexico, U.S. Minister Joel Roberts Poinsett (who died on this day

in 1851), came across a striking native plant. He later introduced the

plant in the United States. It became known as a Poinsettia, named in

his honor for bringing it to our attention. We love the bright pink, red

and white flowers using them to decorate around our house for the

holidays. Mom loves the pink ones the best.

17~  “Full Cold Moon”

“When ’round the moon there is a “brugh” (sounds like “bruff”)

The weather will be cold and rough.” Old Farmer’s Almanac, 2013.

Wright Brothers Day is also celebrated on Dec. 17th.

21st~ Winter Solstice

After today, the days get lighter meaning there will be more daylight

from this day onward. Celebrate by sowing lettuce seed in a pot. Or

you could try your hand at planting a window herb garden.

Place in a sunny kitchen window.

25th~ Christmas

“The holly’s up, the house is all bright,

The tree is ready, the candles alight.”

Written by German composer, Carl August Peter Cornelius (1824-74).

26th~ Boxing Day in Canada

Also, Kwanzaa begins its celebration on December 26th.

31~ New Year’s Eve

Enjoy this last night of 2013 and the beginning of new adventures and

dreams around the world…

May Peace On Earth somehow, magically reign!

I always enjoy watching the different cultures shooting off firecrackers

and having parades with dragons, along with so many other traditions

on the television shows. I have found that HGTV and PBS have some

interesting focuses on New Year’s Eve.

Out in the country, be careful when shooting off your guns into the air!

Here is a section on planting for the woodland creatures and for using

holly in decorating, too:

Old fashioned wished to “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly” resound

from my post to yours! Here are some facts about Holly (Ilex). It may be

considered evergreen or deciduous. They offer a variety of leaf types, dull

or glossy, shades of green or blue-green. Sometimes they have yellow or

white “splashes.”

Grow a few with broad, pointed leaves such as Chinese holly (I.coruta),

along with others that feature narrow, oval leaves such as inkberry

(I.glabra).

A type known as “ferox” (I.aquifolium) is also called Hedgehog holly and

has spiny edges.

I hope I have these facts correct from the Old Farmer’s Almanac, 2013.

If you are botanists, please feel free to give any needed amendments!

In our old house, I loved to cut different evergreen branches and holly

sprigs to decorate in vases, baskets with a hidden dish containing water

and even a wooden bucket by the hearth with the varieties mentioned.

The natural presentation of holly adds such a lovely scent to your rooms.

An arrangement can be made with different types to contrast and add

dimension, plus the bonus of the red berries to brighten it up. Arranged

in any kind of container you can imagine provides some extra oxygen to

the indoor environment, too.

Scents to enjoy during this month: Seasonal Aromatherapy!

*Spicy or pungent scents*

1. Evergreens boughs and branches.

2. Cranberry strings draped on branches of your trees.

3. Oranges with cloves stuck into them.

4. Cinnamon brooms or pine cones in a basket.

5. Hot mulled apple cider or eggnog with nutmeg.

*Sweet or yummy baked goods scents*

1. Sugar or Spritz cookies, so sweet and buttery, too. I like mine iced!

2. Gingerbread cookies (Don’t forget to read the Gingerbread Man or

Gingerbread Baby (I like Jan Brett’s version best.) books to little ones!)

3. Anise flavoring (licorice tasting) in Pfefferneuse (Germany) and

Pizzelles (Italy).

4. Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, or Butter Nut (made

with pecans) Balls melt in your mouth! These are coated with powdered

sugar on them.

5. Kuchen (Germany), fruitcake or coffee cake. What is your family’s

breakfast holiday treat? My Grandmother made kuchen, my Mom

made those cinnamon rolls with orange glazed icing that you could

squeeze from a tube.

*Tangy and Cheery Scents*

1. Oranges in jello or in the toe of your stocking hung by the fire.

2. Grapefruits to be sectioned, balancing some Vitamin C in your diet.

3. Warm cocoa with marshmallows in a big pot on the stove when you

come in from playing in the snow or taking a walk in your boots.

4. Popcorn to string on your trees and happen to be popped into one’s

mouth, too!

Whether you believe in Christmas or any of the hoopla attributed to it,

it is hard not to think of the history of such figures as:

Father Christmas

Santa Claus

Kris Kringle

Saint Nicholas

and if you have any interest in looking them up and providing more about

them on your own posts, go for the countries and when they began to be

observed.

The Beauty of Languages

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baklava (Greece layered, nut laced with honey dessert)

escargots (French for snails)

falafel (Arab specialty)

tacos, tamales (Mexican, Spanish)

sushi (Japanese raw food)

scones (British or Scottish quick bread or cake)

croissants (French pastry)

pizzelles (Italian cookies spiced with anise)

gefilte fish (Jewish fish)

Origins in different countries…

My name is Robin Elizabeth. When I was going to middle school

Spanish class, we had to choose the closest name to our own in

a list of Spanish names. I used “Roberta” for those three years,

sorry if this is your name (I have a lovely nice British girlfriend

with this name!) But I was ready for a change in high school! I

marched up to Mr. Donaldson’s desk  saying, “Senor Donaldson,

por favor, may I change my name to my middle name? It would

become ‘Isabella!'”

Well, how did this subject come up? One of Mom’s very nicest

neighbors has the first name of Isabel. I told her when I met her

that in Spanish that is “Isabella” and if it were looked up in a

translation dictionary for theEnglish version, it would be

Elizabeth. Did she know Elizabeth was a special, unfortunately

‘barren’ woman in the Bible, who is visited by an angel who

fortells that she will “bear fruit” and becomes the mother of

John the Baptist?

We talked about how foreign languages are the originators

of our English language and that our everyday vocabulary

includes a lot of foreign words or “roots” from foreign

countries. We are indeed a “melting pot” of languages,

so many different reasons why we use the words we do!

I wrote a few of the international foods that I would not

have known about nor tasted them, unless someone had

introduced them to me.

Isabel was fascinated and asked if I knew of any other “roots”

of words or where they came from? I told her the beautiful word,

“pavilion” comes from the French word pappillon, which is a

butterfly. If you notice large pavilions look a little like wings that

are spread downward.

My Grandmother Paula Hilmida Mattson used only a few German

words sprinkled into her language, but she definitely could cook

the special pastries of her country. (kuchen, spaetzle, and the

lovely combination of Spritz cookies and Pfeffernusse.

My Grandfather Walter William Mattson spoke very clear English, he

learned it quickly once he immigrated here from Sweden. Both my

mother’s parents came over as teenagers and met on a street corner

in New York City. That love story is in one of my older posts…

I think you probably recognize most foods that are from other countries.

I used to like international festivals, more so than individual ones. They

had such a “smorgasbord” of delicacies to choose from, the delicious

scents and smells intermingling as they wafted through the air.

Something new to me, recently, was an introduction to the exotic world

of bubble teas! Also known as “pearl milk tea” or “boba milk tea.” This

tea-based drink was invented in tea shops in Taichung, Taiwan in the

eighties! Wow! Took me long enough to discover their delicious and

chewy tapioca pearls and sweetly rich teas!

What have you learned recently about your heritage, any foreign foods

that you have recently been introduced to or any that are passed down

for generations? Also, are there any interesting stories attached to taking

a foreign language? Thanks for reading and hope to read about your

different beautiful languages or unique delicacies!

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