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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save time with personal chef - CookinGenie blog

26 Nov 2021

At first glance, most people don’t think much about the benefits of hiring a personal chef to come in once in a while to prepare a meal. For many, all they focus on is the fact that they’ll have a professionally cooked meal. However, when you consider having one less meal to cook, you can start seeing how you can save a lot of time using a personal chef through CookinGenie. 

Eliminate Planning 

Meal planning doesn’t come easily for everyone: 

  1. It can take up a great deal of your time to go through recipe books and ingredient lists to find something you want to make during the week. 
  2. You’ll need to figure out if you have to make the recipe larger or smaller to fit your family’s needs. You’ll also have to decide if it needs to be changed up to suit everyone’s tastes in your home, such as substituting one item for another because of a food allergy. 
  3. You’ll have to write out the grocery list that you must remember to take with you before going grocery shopping. 

Estimate that this takes you at least 20 minutes or longer. 

Reduce Shopping Time 

Picking up groceries for a fresh gourmet dinner often isn’t done with your regular grocery shopping trip. To get the freshest ingredients, you’d want to stop by your grocery store on the way home. That can take up at least a half-hour of time, if not longer, as often the grocery store lines are even longer after work. There’s a good chance it may take up to an hour to find everything you need and go through the checkout. 

No More Cooking Time 

Once you get home with the ingredients you need to make your special meal, it’s time to start prepping the food and get to cooking. Washing everything, chopping it up, and pulling out all of the cookware takes time. Then, you have to actually begin cooking. Depending on the meal you’re planning on making, this could take a short time or over an hour. After planning, shopping and cooking, you could be an hour or more into handling your dinner. 

Relish Your Food 

Then, it’s time to eat. Do you ever feel like you can’t enjoy the meal you’ve made because all you can think of is the next step? Taking your time to eat and really enjoy your meal means it’s that much longer until you can tackle the kitchen to clean it up and get ready for the morning. A personal chef means that you can focus more on what you’re eating rather than trying to eat as fast as you can to move on to the next task. When you have a gourmet dinner skillfully prepared for you, you’re going to want to take your time and savor every bite you take. 

Save on Clean-up Efforts 

After you’ve prepared a meal, it’s time to clean the kitchen. If you took an easy way out with dinner, such as a TV dinner, there might not be much clean-up. However, even a simple dish of spaghetti with jar sauce can dirty up your kitchen pretty easily. Doing the dishes at the end of your day can often equate to another half hour to an hour of time. That means you’re up to a few hours of tasks after you’ve come home from work.  

Additional Meals 

What about tomorrow’s lunch? It can be time-consuming getting a meal prepped for the next day. You don’t want to deal with it when you’re rushing out the door in the morning to start a new day, so it’s better to get it done at night before you go to bed. You find something in the fridge and pack it up. That may take you another 15 minutes or longer to handle before you can do something else with your time. 

Same Meal Using a Personal Chef 

When you use a personal chef through CookinGenie, you cut down this time considerably. Your personal chef will handle the grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up after you’re done. You still get the chance to relish your food without having to focus on all the other factors that come with making dinner. Spend time talking with your family and enjoying the great food you didn’t have to prepare. Plus, you no longer have to worry about those additional meals when you order a more significant portion. You can take your leftovers to work the next day or pack your child’s lunch easily. 

 By using CookinGenie for a personal chef just one evening a week can save you several hours that you can use to do anything else you’d want to handle. Multiply that by a few times a week, and the time really adds up. Plus, you get all of the other benefits from having a visit from a personal chef, such as freshly cooked meals made by a skilled individual. You don’t have to rely on your skills or regular menu for putting dinner on the table. Be adventurous and enjoy a nice variety of foods beyond what you feel comfortable making at home for yourself and your family.  

Save Time Through the Website 

The website makes it easy for you to save time, as well. Meal planning can take up a great deal of time. With CookinGenie, you’ll be able to easily search for a personal chef, schedule a time, and pick a meal along with determining your portion size. The portal makes it easy for you to set up your next professionally cooked meal. Of course, you may find yourself scrolling to discover new menu options or chefs to expand your options. 

 Ready to see how many hours you can save in a week when you use a personal chef through CookinGenie? Book a meal today through our website to start seeing the time benefits that come with our service. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner as you enjoy a home-cooked meal. 

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16 Sep 2019

You already have a lot on your plate – juggling kids sports, school events, professional schedules, groceries, shopping, and kids’ homework.Exhausting? We think so. Add an early morning or a late evening meeting (OK, make that a corporate firefight) at work & all of a sudden, putting breakfast or dinner on the family table can become a daunting challenge. Both your work and family require your attention and time. It can be very hard to make great choices towards eating fresh & healthy. Busy parents can hardly take out time to cook fresh and healthy food. To make matters worse, with all your kids’ activities, you might not have any free time over the weekend as well – travel soccer, or baseball leagues? A trip to the pool? A birthday party? Play dates? You navigate those successfully. You remember to grab the birthday present sitting on your kitchen countertop. You find the right soccer jerseys (unlike me). And then, its dinner time & cooking is the last thing on your mind. No wonder, you struggle with finding fresh, healthy food.

According to a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics, one in three American children eats unhealthy food daily. This reason is why many American children suffer from diseases associated with malnutrition and obesity. Unhealthy eating or fast food has become a new diet trend. Moreover, wrong food choices bring with them additives, dyes, saturated fats, and preservatives. Those bring more health issues in the long term.

So, how can you overcome this hurdle? Surely, you don’t have the time to

  • grab fresh ingredients from groceries
  • prepare the ingredients, marination etc
  • cook & clean up

And all you have to do is enjoy your food freshly cooked in your kitchen. What if there was someone who could do all that for you? I must be dreaming you say? But what if……….

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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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