American as Apple Pie? Not So Fast

Apple Pie_CookinGenie

12 Mar 2021

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American as Apple Pie? Not So Fast

There are certain things that just evoke America 

 – Baseball. 

– Uncle Sam.  

– Corn fields.  

– Apple pie.  

 

But what if we told you one of these iconic symbols doesn’t really belong on the list? 

 Turns out there’s nothing all that American about apple pie. In fact, neither apples or pie originated in North America: the ancient Egyptians get the credit for creating pie, and modern apples originated in the mountains of Kazakhstan, then spread along the Silk Roads from Central Asia to Europe 

While early pies were made with meatEmily Upton, writing for Today I Found Out, reports that the first recorded apple pie recipe was from England way back in 1381. These early recipes bear little resemblance to the apple pies we know today—they rarely called for sugar (which was an expensive, luxury ingredient at that time) and came served in a pastry that went by the rather unappetizing name of “coffin.” This “coffin” was not meant to be eaten; it was really just a container to hold the filling, sort of the Middle Ages version of a paper plate. The first apple pie recipe that resembles the pie we know and loves today, with a sweetened filling and a lattice top, appeared in a 1514 Dutch cookbook. 

So how did apple pie—which is so deeply rooted in Europe—become synonymous with America? European-style apple trees arrived on American shores with the Jamestown colonists, who brought seeds and cuttings to plant in the New World. (And here’s a fun fact from What’s Cooking America: In Colonial times, apples were sometimes called winter bananas.) As colonists pushed westward, they brought apples with them. Upton credits Johnny Appleseed with cementing the apple as part of American folklore, as he roamed the frontier planting acres upon acres of apple orchards. By the 19th century, American farmers had planted and cross-pollinated trees to develop an astounding 14,000 different varieties of apples. And of course, many of those varieties were perfect for making pie. 

(Also ReadA Whirlwind Tour of US Barbecue)

Nearly as intriguing as the history of the apple in America is the history of the phrase “as American as apple pie. Upton cites a newspaper article in 1902 that said “no pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished” and a 1924 ad in the Gettysburg Times selling “New Lestz Suits that are as American as apple pie.” The phrase became such a part of the American fabric that by World War II, soldiers told journalists that they were fighting for “mom and apple pie.” 

Apple pie may have become a symbol of all that’s good about Americans, but there is a dessert that’s actually a better candidate for the title. While it might not have the same ring, a more apt phrase might be “As American as a blueberry cobbler.” Unlike the apple, blueberries—along with black cherries, strawberries, cranberries, and elderberries—are native to North America, and cobblers are a uniquely American creation. These fruit and pastry desserts, along with regional variations with such colorful names as Bettys, pandowdies, grunts, slumps, buckles, sonkers, crumbles, and crisps were created by early American settlers who turned to the simple ingredients they had on hand to create satisfying desserts. Nevertheless, it’s apple pie that became the apple of Americans’ eyes. 

At CookinGenie, we’ve recently added fresh homemade desserts to our menu and naturally, our choices include an all-American apple pie. Genie Brande Colson folds tart green apples and warm spices into a flaky, golden, homemade crust. She can even make a gluten-free variety. Cap off your next CookinGenie visit with a slice of this wholesome, rustic goodness—we can’t think of a better way to end a home-cooked meal. 


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30 Oct 2019

Workarounds to cooking are ubiqitous. From food delivery apps to meal kits. Quietly, unobserved by mainstream food industry, private individuals are selling meals right from their own kitchens. Allowing neighbors to pick up from their homes or offering delivery or meet up options. These individuals can make a decent side hustle providing regular menus and meals for a small group of customers. Things like Facebook groups make this easy to expand and reach a wider customer base.

But how do you know the condition of the kitchens in which this food is getting cooked? Cleanliness? Safety? Commercial kitchens have to be mindful about environmental cleanliness. There, your food is prepared in a safe and sanitary environment. You can expect safe handwashing practices. Safe food handling. Attention is paid to proper food storage and safe cooking temperatures to avoid illness. Professional restaurants even have to think about food safety during delivery. Such as keeping hot and cold items packaged separately and insulated properly to maintain proper temperatures. For your average neighborhood cooks, you have to take for granted that their homes are safe places to cook in. The Board of Health is not inspecting these home kitchens. If they did a surprise inspection on one of these home chef kitchens what would they find? In each of our homes we have different levels of cleanliness that we deem acceptable. What is acceptable to you might not work for me. Let’s explore some of those grey areas. Does the home have pets? Is the owner’s precious kitty walking on the same counter your chopped salad will be prepped on? Perhaps after she’s been digging in kitty litter? Is there smoking in the home? Even if not while the cooking is being done, are those chemicals in the air? What about common kitchen pests? Are their kids in the home? Are they helping to prepare the food? That’s a lovely thought unless we consider all the things little hands touch, and the lack of thoroughness in their hand washing.

We all love the idea of eating home cooked meals. We enjoy eating freshly prepared food that is lovingly prepared. We aren’t saying that all these kitchens are biohazards. But we do encourage you to find out for yourself. The provider of such foods should not be offended by questions regarding food prep and safety. When in doubt ask the provider in question what levels of food safety are being practiced keeping your food safe before you eat it. If you’ve ever been affected by food poisoning, you’ll understand the threat skimping in any of these areas can cause.

Alternately, if you put your faith on us, we will simply use your kitchen to cook your meals. Now, that is a surest way to ensure that your food is being prepared fresh in an environment you trust.

Reference: https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/operations/food-safety-strategies-safer-delivery-takeout

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Chicken Tacos

25 Nov 2020

When thinking about famous foods from around the world, some key dishes come to mind. We’re willing to bet Mexican cuisine ranks high on many people’s lists, with tacos at the top. But, have you ever stopped to wonder how the tasty taco came to be?  

It turns out, the history of the taco is as colorful and varied as the taco fillings themselves.  

Tacos as we know them today were believed to have started in the 1800s as the humble lunch of Mexican silver miners. The word “taco” translates to “plug” or “wad” – reflecting the small sticks of dynamite used in the mines.  

There is evidence, however, that the taco’s origins began much earlier.  

It is believed that the Aztecs invented tortillas using masa cooked on hot stones. The Aztec emperor, Montezuma, used the tortillas like a spoon to scoop or hold food such as cochineal, beans, and chiles. The word “taco” stems from the Nahuatl word “tlahco,” meaning “half” or “in the middle” in reference to how it is formed. 

(Also ReadMade to Cook: The Cooking Hypothesis)

Early taco fillings were simple and reflected what was available, such as fishcooked organs, small insects, ants, locusts, and snails. It wasn’t until the 1500s, when Spanish soldiers arrived in Mexico with pigs from Cuba, that pork was introduced as a filling and served at large banquets (the first “taco parties” as documented in 1520 by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a Spanish soldier sailing with Hernan Cortes). From here, the taco spread across the “New World” as a staple food 

Whether crediting the Aztecs or silver miners, the taco is a dish woven through the fabric of Mexican cuisine. 

Into America & Beyond 

Portable and easy to eat, tacos became a primary meal of the working class. In time, street food vendors filled soft corn tortillas with a simple, spicy filling to offer workers on their breaks. Around 1905, this delicious and practical meal crossed the border into the United States when Mexican laborers moved north to work on the railroads.  

It wasn’t until the 1920s that the traditional filling of organs was replaced by beef and chicken. In addition, lettuce, tomato, and cheddar cheese became standard fillings in America  this fusion brought forth by the availability of American ingredients and a more subtle palate.   

While some may prefer more traditional preparation, today, tacos in America include a vibrant blend of traditional Mexican flavors combined with new ingredients and influences from around the globe – a fusion of flavors to satiate a wide variety of tastes.  

Need further evidence of the taco’s cult-like following? In 2019, Netflix released the first season of Taco Chronicles, a docuseries that explores the rich histories of popular taco styles. From barbacoa to carnitas, cochinita to birria, and many others, watch this mouth-watering series on your next taco night.  

Whatever fillings you like, tacos are arguably one of the most-loved foods in the world. Whether you prefer vegetarian sweet potato and black bean, or chicken, pork or beef, CookinGenie offers fresh, authentic home-cooked Mexican-styled tacos to make every night taco night. We cook from scratch with wholesome ingredients, right in your kitchen. Whether meal prepping or organizing a small dinner party, our Genies can help create a taco bar like no other, connecting you back to hundreds of years of tradition and fusion of cultures through food.  

 

Sources 

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birthday party at home - CookinGenie

25 Oct 2021

Birthday parties are fun for young and old. However, having a birthday party at your house for your parents, children, yourself, or other loved ones may seem like a hassle, but you can plan a perfect birthday party for the next big occasion if you follow these tips.  

How To Plan a Birthday Party? 

It can seem overwhelming at first when planning a shindig at your home, even if it’s just a small intimate party for close family and friends. Here are some considerations to keep in mind during the planning process. 

Date and Time – 

One of the first things you should consider is when you should plan to have your party. It can be helpful to get in touch with family and friends you’re thinking of inviting to work on finding the perfect date and time. However, it may not be possible for larger parties to reach out to everyone personally to get everyone’s schedule. In these cases, you may want to send out a survey in an email to get an idea of when most of your guests will be able to attend. Ultimately, you may not be able to find a date and time that works for everyone. 

Tip: Setting an actual time for the start and end of the party can be helpful. Creating a start time makes it easier for everyone to know when the food will be served, while the end time can help you guide stragglers out at the end of the night. 

Guest List

Concurrently to determining the date and time, you’ll also want to consider your guest list. Even with small gatherings that only include family, it can be beneficial to get a headcount of who’s invited and who’s going to be able to attend. You’ll also want to determine if your guests can bring a plus one, which can dramatically impact your guest list. 

Tip: Respectfully request an RSVP by a particular date before your party. You’ll be able to finalize your headcount better for how many people are planning on coming.  

Budget

Another essential factor you’ll need to consider early on in the planning stages is your budget. You’ll want to sit down and think about how much you’re willing to spend for the party and then look at the different options available to you to fit your set budget best. There are some great options at every budget level for planning a birthday party at your home.  

Break down your budget by the different things you want to offer at your party, such as food, party bags, entertainment, decorations, and so on. The great thing about having a party at home is that venue is one of the costs you don’t have to think about when deciding how much you want your budget to be overall. Plus, think outside of the box. For example, you can save by picking up your party decorations at a dollar store while spending more money on wow items like the cake. 

Tip: Get an idea for your budget by multiplying how much you want to spend per person by how many people you’re inviting.   

Theme

Themes are a fun idea for parties of any age. Of course, it can be fun to create a theme on your own, but if you are worried about the celebrated person not liking the theme, you may want to consider letting them help brainstorm a theme.  

Tip: Pinterest can be a great place to get ideas for themes if you’re stuck. 

Invitations 

Once you’ve picked out a theme and got your guest list together, it’s time to create the invitations. You can go old school and pick up paper invites that fit the theme you picked to mail out or hand deliver to your guest list. Paper invitations can be fun to introduce some potential themes, such as a murder mystery birthday party. 

Electronic invites can also be fun, and they are often the easiest way to get an accurate headcount since it’s straightforward to click whether or not the person will attend the party. Some electronic invitation sites even send reminders out to get any straggler RSVPs. 

Tip: Be clear on your invites about the details, such as the RSVP deadline and if guests can have a plus one.  

Food

Food is often the centerpiece of the occasion. No birthday party, or really any kind of party, is complete without food. An option that you should explore is CookinGenie for your next birthday party. It’s easy to set a menu, figure out how many portions you need to order for your guest list, and have a personal chef handle the cooking in your kitchen. Then you have no worries about the food getting cold as the catering company brings it to your home. 

Tip: Explore CookinGenie.com to learn more about the different offerings that you can have for your party. 

Party Bags

Goodie bags are a great touch no matter the age of the person you’re celebrating. Giving out party bags is often associated with children’s birthday parties as a fun way to end the event. A small bag with toys, stickers, candy, and other little items is given out as the kids leave to thank them for coming. The same can be done for adults with a fun token of appreciation that commemorates the event.  

Tip: Have these waiting at the door for when your guests leave.   

After the Party

Yes! You had a successful birthday party for one of your favorite people. Everyone had an excellent time at the party you planned. Once the party is over, that means it’s time to clean and organize. Did you know that by utilizing CookinGenie, you’ll save yourself some time? Not only does your personal chef for the birthday party prepare a fantastic menu, but they also clean up the cooking area, getting it back to how it was before they arrived. That means you can focus on tackling cleaning up elsewhere. 

Check out CookinGenie today while planning your next birthday party or other home events. See what loyal CookinGenie clients already know: affordable personal chefs coming to your home has never been easier. 

 

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