“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment.
The more experiments you make the better.”
The Sweetest Day October 19th
An American Tradition
- The Sweetest Day observance originally started in the Midwest US in the 1920′s.
The Sweetest Day…
is always the third Saturday in October.
This holiday is much more important in some regions than in others (Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo being the biggest Sweetest Day cities). It is a holiday that has been gaining in popularity every year throughout the country.
What It Is …
How it all began…
One version tells that over 60 years ago, a Cleveland man, believing that the city’s orphans and shut-ins too often felt forgotten and neglected, conceived the idea of showing them that they were remembered. He did this through the distribution of small gifts. With the help of his friends and neighbors, he distributed these small remembrances on a Saturday in October.
The first Sweetest Day was pronounced as October 8, 1921 in Cleveland. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s October 8, 1922 edition, which chronicles the first Sweetest Day in Cleveland, states that the first Sweetest Day was planned by a committee of 12 confectioners chaired by they candymaker C. C. Hartzell. The Sweetest Day in the Year Committee distributed over 20,000 boxes of candy to “newsboys, orphans, old folks, and the poor” in Cleveland, Ohio. The Sweetest Day in the Year Committee was assisted in the distribution of candy by some of the biggest movie stars of the day including Theda Bara and Ann Pennington.
Of the twelve Cleveland committeemen who planned Cleveland’s Sweetest Day , eleven directly profited from the sale of greeting cards or candy. Three were on the Board of Directors for Hallmark, four on the boards of various candy companies and four owned card and candy shops in the Cleveland area.
The photo of the 12 Candymakers who “Arranged the Details of The Sweetest Day in the Year and Planned Its Success.” The Candymakers’ names are (from left to right) C.R. Canter, A.E. Barton, R.T. Fuller, J.J. Wilsdon, R.H. Sheehan, W.A. Katzenmeyer, A.A. Sarouch, Louis Hahn, W.J. Nichols, C.C. Hartzell (chairman of the “Sweetest Day in the Year Committee”), L. Narwold, and L.E. Gruber.
The caption at the top of the page reads: “Eat Candy as a Portion of Your Daily Meal and Enjoy the Best of Health.” The sub-headline below the caption reads: “Cleveland Committeemen Who Arranged the Details of the Sweetest Day of the Year and Planned Its Success.” Under the photos of the Founders of Sweetest Day is an article written by The Commissioner of Health from New York City, Royal S. Copeland M.D. (later U.S. Senator from New York). The article is entitled “Eat Candy As Part Of Meal And Be Happy.” Below the headline is a caption which reads: “Love of Sweets is an Inborn Instinct, and Craving Should be Satisfied, Since Nature Expresses Her Bodily Needs Through Demands of the Stomach.”
During the years that followed, other Clevelanders began to participate in the celebration ceremony, which came to be called “Sweetest Day”. In time, the Sweetest Day idea of spreading cheer to the underprivileged was broadened to include everyone, and became an occasion for remembering others with a kind act or a small remembrance. And soon the idea spread to other cities all over the country.
With a very health conscious population out there I am curious how this celebration now almost 100 years old has evolved over the years? I would suspect that the candy companies all still have a plan this close to Halloween and all its sugary creations but there are great healthy alternatives to enjoy this longstanding day amongst our American compadres. Anyone have a great gluten-free brownie recipe? Coconut milk caramels?
Enjoy The Sweetest Day however you see fit…and remember it is more about the message it is meant to convey than the bellyache due to all that SUGAR!
“Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition” will be the focus of World Food Day in 2013.
The official World Food Day theme – announced at the start of every year by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – gives focus to World Food Day observances and helps increase understanding of problems and solutions in the drive to end hunger.
About World Food Day
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations marks World Food Day each year on the 16th of October, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945.
The objectives of World Food Day are to:
- encourage attention to agricultural food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental efforts to this end;
- encourage economic and technical cooperation among developing countries;
- encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions;
- heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world;
- promote the transfer of technologies to the developing world; and
- strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development.
“A Vietnamese Recipe for a Food System that Works.
What is a sustainable food system? One Vietnamese model harnesses tradition and bolsters that with technology and the right policy mix: ‘V-A-C’ farming. It’s a no-waste system integrating fish farming, raising livestock and growing fruit and vegetables, all on the same farm. It has assured sufficient, healthy food to Viet Nam’s rural farmers — about half the population — while generating income and feeding the growing cities. In V-A-C, livestock can even power the lights.”
“Do your part to Engage, Empower and Inspire everyone to make a difference in the world”
Fresh Canteen – Garam Masala Seared Duck Breast Out of A Box
A short while ago, I was pleased to be invited to join a handful of other blogger and food media guests for a hands-on experience with Fresh Canteen’s new ready-to-cook meal-in-a-box service. This awesome new food delivery service in town is really doing some exciting things. They offer up to the consumer a new version of food prep, giving you an assortment of recipes to choose from each week, and sending you all the ingredients you need to make the dish of your choice. Easey peasey – no shopping required (except selecting on their website) and creative editing allowed!
This service that caters to people who want to cook fresh, delicious dinners in their own kitchens but are often just too busy to shop or perhaps intimidated to shop for all the ingredients they need. They are very committed to using local food producers, focusing on fresh, seasonal ingredients whenever possible and that has a great appeal as I like to support local as much as I can.
Working in teams, (my team consisted of @the awesome duo of @gavmartell & @DailyBreadBlog and myself @TraveliciousDee) and under the guidance of the Fresh Canteen team, we worked our way through the easy-to-follow step by step recipe for – DUCK! The dish to be made was Seared Duck Breast with Garam Masala and Sautéed Grapes (no intimidation at all). While it has been something I have rarely prepared myself, I do so love duck, I love Garam Masala, (yes I could stand and just sniff for a while) and fresh crisp grapes – mmmmhhhmmm. I think we all were impressed by the results of our efforts especially given that our fry pan had its temperamental moments with its heat source.
Each week you have a choice from a great selection of recipes online you can choose from by Friday and then on Tuesday you will receive an insulated box filled with all of the ingredients that you will need to make that dish. Each recipe is portioned out for two (or you can order a double enough for four) but easily the recipes that I have made would easily feed at least three or two with enough leftovers for someone to take to lunch the next day at approximately $12-$15 per serving (includes delivery to your front door) it’s a pretty amazing deal with no tip required (but better ask the chef at hand on that). The included recipe card shows its difficulty rating, estimated time and the step-by-step instructions which guide you through the cooking processes and there is also basic nutrition information – calories, carbohydrates, fat & protein info.
This is such a great idea for those friends who eat out or do take away at least 3 to 4 nights a week because of their busy schedule and when they get home from work the last thing they are going to do is go shopping. It’s also a great option for a weeknight dinner party or intro cooking lesson for your friends – you just come home from work, open the box, and create some kitchen magic with some amazing food and voilà. Having 4 brothers I know this would have been a great way to teach them some cool fancy meals to impress a girlfriend or partner, not break the bank and know that at least on few nights they were eating well.
The food is packed in an insulated bag with some reusable freezer packs and will stay cold all day in case you aren’t home when the box comes. If you pop the whole thing in the fridge, it will stay fresh for a couple of days too so you don’t even have to make it that night. Also, each recipe comes with a plastic covered recipe sheet with super detailed instructions and photos – kind of like DIY cooking for those not friendly with shopping and following a regular cookbook so even those who aren’t 100% confident in the kitchen are going to be able to finesse a meal and feel like a “TOP CHEF” in the kitchen. Most recipes can be made within 35-45 minutes with minimal prep of washing and chopping. Three new recipes are offered each week, and each recipe is available for 2 weeks. The minimum order is $60 with Fresh Canteen (so it’s 2 recipes serving 2 people = 4 servings total) and the maximum order is $180 (4 recipes serving 4 people = 16 servings total)
Right now delivery is only available in the downtown Toronto are but a great idea is to get it delivered to your office downtown and take it home at the end of the day(packaged in an insulated bag with freezer packs so you are safe to have a full day at work). Expansion of their delivery area is sure to follow the more people find out about the quality, value and ease of this great service.
At the end of the night our well-fed bodies left with some great goodies like our wonderful long red Fresh Canteen aprons, signature shopping bag, our box of our next meal and a lovely knife chef knife from Nella Cucina.
What I got to come home with for our #recipe challenge was their Mock Butter Chicken of which I made a few additions and a substitution to the original recipe. I was very happy to open the box 2 days later and find that all of the ingredients were still super fresh and enticing.
Still keeping it with an Indian theme I chose to add in peaches to my Chicken instead of the recipe included ingredient of raisins (never been a big fan of raisins in my cooked food but understand their place in the original recipe), toasted coconut to the most amazing light and fluffy rice (think nutty pilaf) and the addition of pan toasted black mustard seed to the great crisp cucumber and radish salad dressing.
So here is my mashup redux recipe from Fresh Canteen’s Mock Butter Chicken –
Dee’s Peachy Chicken Remix
2 Chicken Breasts
1.5 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (I prefer EVOO)
1 Tbsp chopped Garlic
1.5 Tbsp chopped Ginger
1 heaping Tbsp Tomato Paste
1.5 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1.5 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tsp Turmeric
1.5 Tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Chili Flakes (I like mine hot so I did ¾ tsp)
1/5 tsp Brown Sugar
½ tsp Salt (this is always to taste but you do need some with all of these spices)
3 tbsp Plain Yogurt (I find if you are doing dairy free – plain coconut yogurt works)
½ Medium Onion chopped
½ tbsp Butter (optional – I use Coconut Oil)
1 small Japanese style cucumber
2-3 large radishes
2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
1 cup Basmati Rice
1-2 Naan Bread
1.5 tbsp toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp toasted Brown Mustard seeds
1 medium peach diced small
What you need to cook:
1 small saucepan
1 frying pan
Prepare ingredients and read through the recipe noting what needs to be washed, chopped and sliced.
Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and cilantro. (I use my Cuisinart chopper for the 1st three ingredients and it creates a great chunky paste which is very traditional for Indian starters for recipes.
Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Slice cucumbers and radishes into similar size pieces.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add ½ tsp of salt (sea or Himalayan preferred). Add rice, reduce the heat to minimum, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. When done, fluff with a fork and add in toasted coconut. (Coconut can be toasted in fry pan quickly over medium heat to a golden brown and leaves pleasant oil behind to sauté your onions etc. in)
In the fry pan head up your 1-2 tsp of Olive Oil on medium heat and add in the mustard seeds. When you hear the first popping of the seeds immediately take off of the heat and allow the oil to cool. This is the base of your dressing. In a small bowl, add the sliced cucumbers and radishes. Whisk together the Olive Oil, Mustard Seeds, 1.5 tsp of Red Wine Vinegar and add Salt & Pepper to taste. Set this aside.
Heat the remaining oil on medium-high heat until shimmering (or if using a wooden cooking utensil it should start to bubble where it touches the pan). Add your chopped ginger, garlic and onion. Cook until the onions are slightly golden in colour. Add your peaches at about a 2 minute mark and cook for about 4 minutes.
Remove the pan from the head and add in the cumin seeds, coriander, tomato paste, garam masala, brown sugar, chili flakes and turmeric. Return to the heat and cook stirring constantly for another 2-4 minutes to infuse the spice mix into the onion, garlic, ginger “paste” and releases the fragrances and flavours of the east.
Add the chicken, stirring to coat all the chicken with the spice mixture. Add 1/3 cup of water and the 3 tbsp of yogurt. Cook until chicken is done approx.7-9 minutes. If your sauce is too thick add a bit of water while cooking and you can finish with a tbsp of Butter or Coconut Oil to put an extra shine on the sauce (totally optional)
Sprinkle with chopped Coriander and serve with the Toasted Coconut Rice. Enjoy with your Cool Crisp Cucumber and Radish Salad and your Naan Bread which can be heated and sprinkled with your Chopped Coriander as well on the side.
As long as you get your order in by end of day Friday, you’ll get boxes Tuesday. They currently have a serious PROMO going on! Use code “FALL30″ at checkout for $30 dollars off your first Fresh Canteen order of two recipes.
I know the next time I am trying to plan ahead I will have Fresh Canteen bookmarked and on speed dial for easy access to order my next food experience to share! I’m excited to see how Fresh Canteen grows and develops as a local start-up and to see the recipes experiences they choose to create for your shopping and cooking pleasure!
To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.
~ Phyllis Theroux
Summer is definitely here in North America and Friday’s are a great jump-off to hopefully a relaxing weekend.
How about a cool bevvie to go with all that. Below is a recipe I collected over many years of travel.
Sadly I have forgotten which country I was in to have tried it out but it seemed fitting to set this weekend off with!
Fill a glass with ice and add:
1/2oz Triple Sec
Dash of Lime Juice
Dash of Sour Mix
Shake, Pour and Top with Cranberry Juice