Tag Archives: march

Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

Slice-of-Lemon-Chiffon-Cake-2-e1363107867246March 29 is Lemon Chiffon Cake Day! This tasty dessert has a lighter-than-air texture not found in most cakes with the addition of zesty lemon flavor – yum!

Chiffon cake was the invention of a former insurance salesman named Harry Baker, who turned to catering and concocted the cake recipe in 1927. He began selling his chiffon-like creations to the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, and pretty soon all of Hollywood was swooning over his cakes and their fluffy texture. Baker kept the recipe a secret for 20 years before finally selling it to General Mills, who own the Betty Crocker brand. General Mills then published the recipe for the newly named “Chiffon Cake” in Better Homes & Gardens in 1948, marketing it as “the first new cake in 100 years.”

The cake skyrocketed in popularity and it’s secret to fluffiness was finally revealed – Baker had used vegetable oil instead of butter to get the light airy texture everyone loved. Using vegetable oil, combined with eggs, sugar, flour, and baking powder, chiffon cake takes on a structure which is a combination of batter and foam cakes. It is left with a moist texture that stays at it’s best when refrigerated, meaning you can amp up the flavor with the addition of fresh fruit, ice cream, or pastry cream.

Because of their lack of butter, chiffon cakes are inherently lower in saturated fat than regular batter cakes. The lack of butter also contributes to chiffon cakes being less rich in flavor, so compensations are usually made by the addition of icings and other toppings and fillings.

If you would like to celebrate today, here are a few recipes we found for some deliciously tart and fluffy lemon chiffon cakes:

Sources: CNN’s Eatocracy, Punchbowl, Foodimentary

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National “Joe” Day

gijoeMarch 27 is National “Joe” Day! Since the list of obscure and ridiculous holidays keeps growing (seriously – yesterday was “Make Up Your Own Holiday Day“), why not add another silly day to the mix to celebrate anyone or anything with the name Joe?

The origins of this weird holiday are unknown, but we’re going to take a wild guess and say that someone named Joe probably invented it. The name “Joe” likely came from the Scottish word jo or joe, which means “sweetheart.” Since then, Joe has also come to mean a regular guy or everyday average man. The first documented usage of the name Joe was in 1846, and Joseph was a popular name for babies in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Use of the word “joe” in common phrases is thought to have started in the 1930s. In 1935, “G.I.” was used to denote “Government Issue,” and soon became a common term used to refer to lower ranking soldiers. “G.I. Joe” first appeared in Private Breger comic strips and was then used to describe the average soldier. The character soon became popular and was used in a cartoon series and then later took on action figure form. Joe can also refer to a cup of coffee i.e. “cup of joe.” Customers began using this phrase in the 1940s when ordering coffee. It’s likely that “joe” is a derivative of java or jamoke, which are other terms used to describe coffee.

woodstock-snoopy-joe-coolOver the years there have been several other well-known Joes in popular culture, but probably one of the most beloved is Snoopy the dog’s alter ego “Joe Cool.” When Snoopy would slip on a pair of sunglasses and walk on two legs, he was suddenly transformed into “Joe Cool.” There was even a song recorded for the Peanuts character called “Joe Cool” by B.B. King.

Whether you do something special for your friend named Joe, rename yourself Joe for the day, enjoy a nice hot cup of joe, buy a G.I. Joe, or watch your favorite Peanuts shows or movies featuring Snoopy as Joe Cool, there are plenty of ways to celebrate today. Happy National “Joe” Day!

Sources: AnythingArts.com, Yahoo News, Examiner.com

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Chocolate Covered Raisin Day

loose_raisins_600_2March 24 is Chocolate Covered Raisin Day! Chocolate covered raisins combine sundried grape morsels with milk, dark, or white chocolate to make a seemingly healthy and sweet snack treat.

The discovery of raisins is believed by culinary historians to have come about when people noticed grapes drying out while they were on the vine. They soon became the second most popular food sweetener after honey. Exactly when these sundried sweet fruits were combined with chocolate is unknown, but a popular German folk tale referencing a ”wenig Schokolade Ball,” or little chocolate ball is thought to be the first reference to the treat.

In 1927, the Blumenthal Chocolate Company created Raisinets, which were the earliest and most popular brands of chocolate-covered raisins. The brand was acquired by Nestle in 1984, and became a popular movie theater snack and the number one bestselling candy in United States history.

Raisins are an excellent source fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, and certain B vitamins. By adding a layer of dark chocolate to the outside of the raisin, you can add to the sweet treats health benefits because dark chocolate contains antioxidants and important minerals. Since there is also a fair amount of sugar in these treats though, be careful with how many consume! Unless you want a mouth full of cavities as well…

Don’t worry about those pesky side effects today though. Indulge and celebrate today by eating a handful (or two) of delicious chocolate covered raisins!

Sources: Punchbowl, National Day Calendar, Wikipedia

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Elizabeth Taylor Dies

oTTo_WatsonOn March 23, 2011, actress Elizabeth Taylor died. Taylor was best known for her role in the Golden Era of Hollywood, starring in popular movies such as A Place in the Sun, Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, BUtterfield 8 and Cleopatra. Later in her life, she became an advocate for HIV and AIDS awareness and research.

Taylor was born to two American parents in London, England in 1932. They soon returned to the United States and settled in Los Angeles where people began to encourage Taylor’s mother, who was a former actress, to screen test her daughter because of her incredible beauty. The idea of a child star was something very foreign to Taylor’s mother, and she refused to allow her daughter to be a part of the industry until both Universal Pictures and MGM were offering Taylor contracts. After starring in a Lassie film, she was offered a long-term contract with MGM starting in 1943. Her breakout role came the next year when the 12-year-old starred in National Velvet.

As she grew older, instead of fading out of the spotlight like most child actors of the time, her star only began to shine brighter. Because of her incredible beauty, she became known as a sex symbol and a quintessential part of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She starred in many films during this time starting most notably with Father of the Bride alongside Spencer Tracy, and moving on to other big hits like Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Cleopatra (which cost around $37 million to make). She later starred in two movies which she received Academy Awards for – BUtterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 

Taylor’s acting career was not the only thing that kept her in the spotlight. Ever since the age of 18, Taylor’s personal life had been a roller coaster, and in her lifetime she was married a total of eight times, with most of these marriages being short-lived. Her most well-known love affair was with Richard Burton, whom she first met on the set of Cleopatra and subsequently married and divorced twice. Their relationship was passionate and volatile, and Burton once said of it, ”You can’t keep clapping a couple of sticks [of dynamite] together without expecting them to blow up.”

Also known for her love of jewelry, Taylor’s jewelry collection was estimated to be worth $150 million at the time of her death. She owned some of the most famous jewelry pieces in the world, including the Krupp Diamond, and the Taylor-Burton Diamond – both bought for her by Richard Burton. She also possessed the La Peregrina Pearl, which has a history spanning 500 years.

In her later years, she took on acting roles less and instead focused more on her philanthropic efforts. When her lifelong friend, Rock Hudson, died in 1985 after battling HIV/AIDS, she started to bring the disease to national attention by helping to found the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. She also started her own jewelry and perfume lines as part of her own entrepreneurial efforts.

In the 1990s, she had mostly retired from the world of acting and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1993. In 2000, she was honored again, but this time by the country she was born in when she became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). By this time her health had begun to decline and she suffered from diabetes, congestive heart failure, had both hips replaced, and had a brain tumor removed. It is reported that she went through over 30 surgeries. She was admitted into Cedars-Sinai Hospital for congestive heart failure in February 2011, and died on March 23, 2011.

Years earlier, in an interview with Barbara Walters, the reporter asked Taylor how she would like to be remembered after she was gone. She said she would like her tombstone to read, “‘Here lies Liz. She lived,’” before admitting, “No, I don’t like ‘Liz.’ I hate that name. ‘Here lies Elizabeth. She hated being called Liz. But she lived.’”

Sources: Wikipedia, ABC News, Biography.com

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National Goof Off Day

GoofsNSpoofsFILMMarch 22 is National Goof Off Day! Today should be a day of no work, and all play! Let go of your responsibilities and embrace a life of carefree silliness.

We’re not sure who created this brilliant holiday, but we love them regardless. Have you been hard at work with your eyes burning from being glued to a computer screen or has your nose buried in a textbook? Have you spent hours doing demanding physical labor? Have you been sitting in an office, a classroom, or a library for just a tad too long? Whatever stress your job or life entails, it’s time to let go of it all and do something completely irresponsible, but 100% fun! You deserve a day to unwind and act silly, irrational, and do something that will amuse your tired self.

What can you do on this, the goofiest of days? We’ve come up with a little list for you!

  • If you’re at work or school, goof off by playing a practical joke or prank on one of your classmates or co-workers! Just make sure they know it’s all in good fun.
  • Instead of straining your eyes doing work on your computer, why not take some time out to play a computer game? You can find TONS here!
  • Is that textbook you’re studying a total snooze fest? While you’re at the library, why not pick up something to read for pleasure instead? There’s nothing better than diving into a great new book!
  • Sitting inside all the time can be stuffy and confining – venture outside today! Go to your favorite park, take a walk, or even a bike ride around your favorite parts of the city you live in.
  • If you’re getting a little too tired of the town or city you live in, talk some of your best friends to going on a day trip to another nearby town or city with you, or take a nice relaxing drive to somewhere new on your own.
  • Don’t just limit yourself to the car either – take a train, plane, or even boat to somewhere new!

These are just a few suggestions, and we’re sure there’s plenty more you’ve been wanting to do today stored up in your brain. Sift through those stored away fun times, and let loose! There is no better day than today to let your inner wild child loose!

Sources: Holiday Insights, Examiner.com, Yahoo News

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Fragrance Day

perfume-bottle-Sarah-BarthMarch 21 is Fragrance Day! Today is a celebration of all good-smelling things that our noses know they love! Perfumes, colognes, potpourri, soaps, scented candles, incense, fragrant food dishes, and anything else that you can’t stop smelling should all be a part of your life today!

Smell is said to be the most powerful of the senses. Animals and humans alike rely on their sense of smell for survival. It is used in the selection of mates, to smell our predators and other dangers, and to find food. Smell has a direct connection with certain memories and associations because when we smell something, it travels directly to our memory cortexes in our brains. Other senses must first travel through multiple other layers of the brain. It becomes our strongest sense because it was probably the first to develop, and is a direct reaction to chemicals in the outside environment. It is no wonder that certain smells can bring back a rush of memories – good and bad.

Much like fingerprints, every human being (with the exception of identical twins) has their own particular fragrance or “smellprint.” Romantically involved partners are thought to be able to smell each other’s happiness, fear, and arousal. Your sense of smell is also known to be stronger during the warmer months of spring and summer and after exercising, and a study done by Yale showed that coffee was the most recognizable scent.

Women have keener sense of smell than men which is evidence as to why the female perfume industry is much larger and more successful than the men’s cologne industry. Specific fragrances can become part of who we are and we have a tendency to wear different scents to fit our personalities and moods. The art of perfumery and personal fragrances started as early as ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt when people bathed less often, and thus needed a way to disguise their odor. It was then refined by the Romans and Persians. Perfumery as we know it today did not start, however, until the late 19th century when chemists began to commercially synthesize aroma compounds. One of the most well-known and best-selling perfumes of all time is Chanel No. 5, released by Coco Chanel in 1921. It is estimated that around $25 million is spent per year to market Chanel No. 5.

Fragrances play a vital role in our quality of life and sense of well-being. Celebrate today by trying some (or all!) of the following:

  • When you wake up, make yourself a delicious pot of coffee and take in one of the most recognizable and comforting smells!
  • Buy yourself a new perfume, scented candle, incense, or anything to make yourself or where you live smell wonderful.
  • Bake or cook yourself your favorite treat or meal and fill your home with delicious food aromas.
  • Learn how to make your favorite perfume or cologne last all day by reading these helpful tips.
  • Visit a garden, nursery, or florist and surround yourself with amazing floral smells.

However you decide to celebrate, just make sure those good ol’ olfactory glands are part of the celebration!

Sources: Gone-ta-Pott, Examiner.com, Yahoo News, Wikipedia

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Bock Beer Day

shiner bockMarch 20 is Bock Beer Day! A bock is a type of strong lager that originated in Germany. There now are many different types of bocks of different strengths in existence including maibocks or heller bocks, doppelbocks, and eisbocks.

Though we couldn’t find out why Bock Beer Day is celebrated on this day, we did find out that bock beers were first brewed by Germans in the town of Einbeck in the 14th century. Upon its first brews, bocks were dark, malty, and lightly hopped. It wasn’t until the 17th century when brewers in Munich adopted this style and changed the bock to be brewed in a lager style. There are a few varying stories as to why the name “bock” was adopted for the beer. Some say because the people of Munich had heavy Bavarian accents, they pronounced the town Einbeck like “ein Bock,” which literally translates to “a billy goat.” Soon it was shortened to just “bock.” As a visual pun, most bock manufacturers put pictures of goats on the labels. Others say that the beer was only brewed during the sign of the Capricorn goat and thus goats were always associated with the beer. The beer became a symbol of the end of winter and the beginning of better times. Doppelbocks were first created to sustain German monks during Lent’s 46 days of fasting, and it soon became known as “liquid bread.” The hearty beer had enough carbohydrates and calories to keep the monks alive, and drunk!

beer calendarBock beers have become popular around the world. Bock beers are stronger than other modern-day lagers, and are known for their dark amber brown hue. Bocks are bottom fermenting lagers, and their strong brew is usually smoothed out by being lagered (kept in cold storage) for a few extra months. They are usually lightly hopped so as not to mask the malty flavor. Several different subcategories of bocks also exist today. The first of these are known as maibocks or heller bocks and are paler and more hopped than normal bocks. Doppelbocks, like those similar to what monks used to drink, are stronger and maltier. The last kind is known as an eisbock, and it is made by partially freezing the beer and then removing the frozen water, making the beer stronger.

Wherever you are in the world, you can celebrate today by tossing back a cold bock beer! Click here to find all the different variations of bocks found in the world.

Sources: Wikipedia, Beer Advocate, Bayou City Sipping

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Julius Caesar Dies

On March 15, 44 BC, Julius Caesar, Roman Consul, statesman, general, and Latin prose author was assassinated. He played a crucial role in the events leading up to the fall of the Roman Republic and the subsequent rise of the Roman Empire.

During Caesar’s time, Romans were reluctant to give praise to a king. Caesar was a powerful member of the Roman senate, and although he turned down the idea of kingship when it was presented to him, he held steady in the position of “dictator for life.” This action is what turned many against Caesar and plots for his assassination began to take hold. More disdainful feelings started to brew in the minds of many when Caesar’s face appeared on Roman coinage. This angered many because that honor was usually only given to deities.

The conspirators behind the attack on Caesar were called “the liberators.” At the head of this group was Marcus Brutus, who was somewhat torn with his relationship with Caesar. Caesar had spared the life of Brutus and promoted him in office even though Brutus had fought against Caesar in the Roman civil war. Brutus’s family, however, was known for defying those who were power hungry, and thus Brutus’s animosity towards Caesar grew.

Cassius Longinus was also a main conspirator and worked to get Brutus to join him in plotting against the “dictator for life.” Caesar was scheduled to leave Rome on March 18 to begin help fighting a battle, so the conspirators knew they had to work fast. Upon entering a Senate meeting, Caesar was apparently handed a note, warning him of his fate, but he failed to read it. He was soon surrounded by senators holding daggers, and was stabbed 23 times. In all, there were 60 conspirators involved in the attack.

The “Ides of March” has been marked in history as the famous day when Caesar met his demise.

Sources: Wikipedia, History.com, National Geographic

 

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National Coconut Torte Day

coconut torteMarch 13 is National Coconut Torte Day! A torte is a luscious multi-layered cake dessert filled with heavy creams or fruits. You can deduce then that a coconut torte is a multi-layered creamy treat topped with coconut goodness. Yum!

What makes a torte different from a regular cake, you say? Tortes differ from cakes in that they are usually made with very little or no flour. Instead, breadcrumbs or ground nuts take the place of flour as the base and sugar, eggs, and other flavorings are added as well. In between the spongey layers of the torte, you will usually find buttercream, whipped cream, mousse, jam, icing, or fruit. The torte is then typically cooled, glazed and garnished. Because today is National Coconut Torte Day, be sure to top your torte with coconut, and maybe add some to the layers in between for good measure.

To celebrate, try one of these coconut torte recipes below, and add a scoop of ice cream on the side if the torte itself is not enough indulgence for you!

Sources: CNN’s Eatocracy, Examiner.com, Wikipedia

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Worship of Tools Day

OutsetMarch 11 is Worship of Tools Day! If it weren’t for tools, how would we have built the world around us? Celebrate every tool in its glory today!

We can thank our Neanderthal ancestors for the invention of tools, who used tools made from stone, like hand axes and cleavers, to hunt, kill, and skin their food. They also used tools to carve pictures into stone. Though the origin of this strange holiday remains unknown, we can use this day to appreciate the tools we use regularly use (as well as the ones that are lonely in our toolbox) for all the things they have helped us create, build, and fix over the years.

You can celebrate today by carefully thinking about what needs to be repaired in your life, and showing your tools love by using them to complete these old projects. Even if you don’t have anything that needs to be fixed, you can get crafty and think of a new DIY project to use what tools you have at your disposal. Help others celebrate by buying your loved ones some new tools and helping them take on projects of their own.

Happy Worship of Tools Day!

Sources: Holiday Insights, Examiner.com, Delaware County News Network, Zillow

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