History of Chess Pie and How to Make it

According to James Beard‘s American Cookery (1972), chess pie was brought from England originally and was found in New England as well as Virginia.[2] A recipe similar to chess pie appears in Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery, from the mid-18th century. A recipe for chess pie appeared in the 1877 cookbook by Estelle Woods Wilcox, Buckeye Cookery.

Chess pie is most commonly associated as a dessert of the American South. Common types of chess pie are buttermilk, chocolate, lemon, and nut.

The origin of the name chess pie is unknown, but many theories have been proposed. It could be a derivation of “cheese pie”, the combination of eggs, butter, and sugar making a custardlike filling that is similar in texture to British cheesecakes and lemon curd;  it could be named after the town of Chester, England;  it could be from a piece of furniture used prior to home refrigeration called a “pie chest“, in which pies were stored; or it could have come from a mangling of “It’s just pie”/”It’s jes’ pie”

Ingredients

The basic chess pie recipe calls for the preparation of a single crust and a filling composed of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. Some variations call for the addition of cornmeal as a thickener. Many recipes call for an acid such as vinegar, buttermilk, or lemon juice.

Watch How to Make Chess Pie

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Americans Asked to Go Meatless and Wheatless During World War I

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  • Biographical/Historical:
    • Cushman Parker was an American illustrator and portrait painter. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1881, he studied at the Academie Julian, and was a member of the Society of Illustrators. Parker’s magazine illustrations appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. He died in 1940.
    • World War I began as a conflict between the Allies (France, the United Kingdom, and Russia) and the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary). The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and his wife Sophie ignited the war in 1914. Italy joined the Allies in 1915, followed by the United States in 1917. A ceasefire was declared at 11 AM on 11 November 1918. Food shortages were widespread in Europe during the war. Even before the United States entered the war, American relief organizations were shipping food overseas. On the home front, it was hoped that Americans would adjust their eating habits in such a way as to conserve food that could then be sent abroad. Americans were told to go meatless and wheatless and to eat more corn and fish. Americans were also encouraged to plant victory gardens and to can fruits and vegetables. The poster was a major tool for broad dissemination of information during the war. Countries on both sides of the conflict distributed posters widely to garner support, urge action, and boost morale.
    • Poster Available Click Here

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Bananas Foster, A New Orleans Original Dessert Recipe

 

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Bananas Foster is an American dessert that originated in New Orleans made with cooked bananas served in a butter, brown sugar and rum sauce.

In 1951, with ever an eye for publicity and the promotion of his city, Owen Brennan challenged his chef Paul Blangé to create a dish featuring the fruit.  The dramatic, flambéed result is now the most-ordered item on Brennan’s menu; it is not unusual for guests who have dined elsewhere to arrive just for a dessert of Bananas Foster.

The dish was named for Richard Foster, a friend of Owen Brennan and the chairman of the New Orleans Crime Commission, on which Brennan served.  See the Original Recipe from Brennans.

The New Orleans dessert of bananas Foster inspired this riff on a classic banana cream pie. It features a layer of rum-spiked sautéed bananas under the traditional pudding filling, plus a brown sugar-mascarpone cream topping.  See Recipe

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 A staple at the French Quarter’s legendary Brennan’s restaurant since 1951, bananas Foster is New Orleans in dessert form: bananas, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla ice cream, and rum, set afire for both taste and spectacle.

Bananas Foster at Stanley’s Restaurant, New Orleans.   Bananas Foster is a popular dessert for tourist to try and a number of restaurants offer it.

 

About Blood Oranges

Buying Blood Oranges

Blood oranges are in season from December through May, though the exact months vary o-16481depending on what type of blood orange you’re buying. The Moro variety is available from December through March, while the Tarocco is available from January through May. Blood oranges are readily available during these winter and spring months because the climate where the fruit trees grow plays a role in the formation of the red hue, according to the National Gardening Association. The temperature is thought to play a part in the darkness of the red color and how pronounced it is, but the exact temperature requirements remain unknown, the National Gardening Association reports.

Anthocyanins

The red color of blood oranges is due to the presence of anthocyanins, which are compounds that give many other fruits and vegetables their red, blue or purple colors, as well. Harvesting blood oranges at the peak of freshness ensures the maximum amount of anthocyanins in the fruit.  READ MORE

Fine Dining: The History and Collection of White House China

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George W. Bush Administration

I have been wanting to do an article on White House China for years.   I got a chance to visit the Ronald Reagan Library and they had an exhibit on White House China.   I hope you enjoy exploring this unique history of the United State demonstrated through China.

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Obama Administration

Article from Whitehousemuseum.org The ground floor China Room is where the White House collection of china is kept. Even the earliest presidents received government funds to purchase state china. However, by a special clause in the appropriation bills, “decayed furnishings” could be sold and the proceeds used to buy replacements. Such “furnishings” included state china, and during the 19th century the cupboards were frequently swept clean and the contents carted off to auction. The money could then be used to order a new china service that better suited the president and his family.

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China of Clinton Administration

Even into the 20th century, White House china was often given away if it was chipped or broken. Later, Congress passed a law that required that all presidential china be kept or destroyed.  READ MORE and see More.

The China of the Reagan Administration just screams of the style, class and the red of Nancy Reagan.  It also reintroduce a trend of the prominent gold band by the Woodrow Wilson and Truman Administrations.   – Crystal A. Johnson

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Martinelli’s and The Innovation of Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Cider

A Family Tradition Since 1868
In 1859, Stephen G. Martinelli, a young Swiss, settled in the temperate and fertile Pajaro Valley near Monterey Bay, where the apples were of exceptional quality.

In 1868 he founded S. Martinelli & Company, producing bottle fermented Champagne Cider with apples from California’s first commercial orchards. Martinelli’s Cider soon became well known as the finest available. In 1890 it was awarded the first prize gold medal at the California State Fair, leading to the adoption of the brand trade mark, “Martinelli’s Gold Medal®.”

Where  there is a will, there is a way.  – Don’t let prohibition stop the family business.

Photo By Crystal Johnson

Photo By Crystal Johnson

In 1916, Stephen G. Martinelli Jr. developed a process for making unfermented apple juice, while a student at the University of California. During prohibition, the company grew by specializing in non-alcoholic apple juice products, including the first non-alcoholic sparkling cider. Martinelli’s unique “Golden Apple®” jug was introduced in 1933, along with the slogan, “Drink Your Apple A Day®.”

The Modern Era
Today, S. Martinelli & Company is managed by the founder’s grandson, Stephen C. Martinelli, (Chairman of the Board) and great-grandson S. John Martinelli, (President).

Moreover, the brand is first thought purchasing sparkling cider and many appreciate the non- alcoholic alternative for events.

 

Continuing plant modernization and expansion, along with improvements in packaging and distribution, have enabled the family owned Martinelli Company to keep pace with consumer demand for premium 100% natural apple juice products.

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The Fascinating History of Moon Pie and Recipe

Since 1917, Moon Pies have been made at the Chattanooga Bakery  Earl Mitchell Junior said his father came up with the idea for MoonPies when he asked a Kentucky coal miner what kind of snack he would like to eat, and the miner requested something with graham cracker and marshmallow which had been dipped in chocolate. When Mitchell’s father asked how big it should be, the miner looked up in the night sky and framed the full moon with his hand.

There is a custom for eating moon pies with RC Cola, although the origin of this is unknown.  It is likely that their inexpensive prices, combined with their larger serving sizes, contributed to establishing this combination as the “working man’s lunch”. The popularity of this combination was celebrated in a popular song of the 1950s, by Big Bill Lister, “Gimmee an RC Cola and a Moon Pie.”.  In 1973, NRBQ had a minor hit with the song, “An RC Cola and a Moon Pie.”

Since New Year’s Eve 2008, the city of Mobile, Alabama raises a 12-foot-tall (3.7 m) lighted mechanical moon pie to celebrate the coming of the new year. The giant banana colored MoonPie is raised by a crane to a height of 200 feet (61 m) as the clock strikes midnight.    Also, the city had for the 2008 New Year’s celebration the world’s largest moon pie baked for the occasion. It weighed 55 pounds (25 kg) and contained 45,000 calories.

See Video:

An annual RC & Moon Pie Festival is celebrated in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and a Moon Pie Eating Contest is held in Bessemer, Alabama.

On October 16, 2010, Sonya Thomas, a competitive eater known as the “Black Widow,” ate 38 MoonPies in eight minutes in Caruthersville, Missouri.

Newport, Tennessee held its first annual Moon Pie Festival in May 2012.

Click for Moon Pie Recipe

About the Desert King Watermelon

Last year at the Los Angeles Time The Taste, I had the opportunity to try a yellow watermelon.  Yes, a watermelon that looks virtually the same on the outside but yellow instead on pink in the inside.  It is called the Desert King Watermelon.  This fruit grows well in dry conditions.   See video below on harvesting the Desert King Watermelon. -Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor