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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Health Benefits of Hiring a Personal Chef

26 Jul 2022

It’s no secret that a balanced diet is a key to a healthy lifestyle, and home-cooked meals are the best way to meet those daily nutrient requirements. But for the majority, following a diet plan with their busy schedule is impossible. If you struggle to prepare healthy, fresh meals for yourself and your family daily, you might benefit from hiring a personal chef. 

Having a personal chef prepare your meals will make it much easier to develop a healthy lifestyle. You will also be able to spend quality time with your family and ease the pressure of cooking and cleaning. 

To ensure that your family is eating well, a personal chef can step in to help meet your family’s needs for quality, nutritious food in the following ways. 

No Stress of Planning Meals or Shopping

Planning your daily or weekly meals and shopping for the required ingredients is part of the job of your private chef. It means you don’t need to go through the stress of buying groceries, preparing meals, and cleaning up the kitchen. 

Without a personal chef, juggling kitchen chores, hectic work schedules, and kids’ after-school activities affect your stress level. Following this routine daily, sooner or later, takes a toll on your mental and physical health. 

However, with a personal chef at home, you can have enough time to look after your other priorities and enjoy quality time with your family. 

Better Portion Control with Less Wastage

While keeping a check on your diet is a task in itself, it gets more challenging when you also need to control the portions for every meal. Inexperienced home cooks can overestimate the quantity, making you consume more calories and ruin your hard day in the gym. 

With the convenience of a personal chef, you can be assured that the food gets prepared in the right portion sizes with little or no wastage. 

Meet Daily Nutritional Requirements with No Compromise on Taste 

Preparing wholesome, nutritious meals that taste like restaurant food but without unhealthy ingredients requires skills that personal chefs know better than home cooks. As a dietician helps you make healthy and nutritious food choices, a personal chef ensures you meet those nutritional requirements through the food prepared by him without compromising taste. 

Food Gets Prepared, Keeping Dietary Restrictions and Allergies in Check 

A personal chef knows multiple ways to prepare the same dish with different ingredients. This talent allows them to cater to clients with varied dietary specifications efficiently. 

If you are allergic to some ingredients or your doctor has suggested avoiding something specific (like trans-fat to manage your cholesterol level) a personal chef can help. Your chef can produce meals accommodating such restrictions while not depriving you of your favorite dishes. Expecting mothers can also hire a private chef to satisfy their cravings without overlooking dietary constraints. 

Freshly Cooked Food is Healthier   

Studies have proved that fresh, home-cooked meals are healthier than those ordered from fast food outlets. Still, people tend to prefer having the latter accusing their busy lifestyle and not having the time to cook. In the long run, such a lifestyle causes health risks, and thus one must consider home-cooked meals freshly prepared by a personal chef. 

With a personal chef, you can enjoy the taste of restaurant-style food (if that’s what you crave) without the hacks (high sugar and fat) used by eateries. What sweetens the deal, even more, is how hiring a personal chef is more affordable than spending time and money ordering online and visiting restaurants. 

Book A Personal Chef Now 

Now that you know the health benefits of hiring a personal chef, book one today and let him cook and customize your meals to support your health goals and nutritional needs. When you eat meals prepared using fresh groceries (bought by the chef), you can always stay on track as you strive to maintain your health. You will not need to waste time agonizing over menus, shopping, and preparation, as you can count on your personal chef. 

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Amazing Date Ideas for Winter

11 Jul 2022

Winter is the perfect time to create moments that will keep your memories warm forever. The amalgamation of long nights, cool breeze, low humidity, and quiet weather set up the perfect scene and mood for couples of all ages. While in wintertime, even a hot cup of coffee with your significant other at home can be as romantic as being on a date in a plush restaurant or a foreign destination, such experiences tend to lose their luster when they become recurring each year. So, if you have decided to keep the intimacy UP this winter while the temperature DIPS, here are some unique dating ideas that will help you kill the chill.  

1- Hire a Personal Chef and Turn Your Regular Winter Day into a Special and Memorable One

Whether you are going out on a date or trying to make the day special at home, it can’t be complete without food. While for outdoor dates, you save yourself from cooking efforts, but what if you and your partner are an “indoorsy” kind of couple? Would you like to cook every time (or order online) you host a special night?   

You may answer Yes; But what if we say there is a service – “CookinGenie” that provides delicious and healthy home-cooked meals within a few taps on your smartphone? You would prefer this over the previous options.  

Why CookinGenie?

The thing that makes CookinGenie stand apart from regular food delivery providers is that the dish is prepared right in your kitchen by a certified chef (we call them Genies). From buying groceries to cooking, and cleaning afterward, everything is handled by your Genie only. All you need to do is relax and spend quality time with your S.O. to make the date memorable.  

How to use our service?

You can visit us online at CookinGenie.com, select your dish and preferred time. The appointed Genie will be there with all the required groceries and start cooking for you.  

2- Go for A Drive-In Theater Date

Watching a movie in a drive-in theater can be the most effortless yet full-of-romance date that you can take your partner to. No need to dress up. Just take your car keys and drive to the nearest open-air theater. Park the car, blow some hot air, and pull back the seats. You are all set to make the night special.   

3- Have Fun With Ice Skating

No! You don’t have to be a pro to go for an Ice-Skating Date. In fact, as newbies, no matter if you glide, fall, or try holding on to each other, you will have nothing but just pure fun. The cooperation in incoordination will make the date a beautiful remembrance forever.    

4- Get Your Ribs Tickled With A Comedy Show

If you have been together for years, you must have been on dinner and movie outings to death. It is time to break the monotony and add some punches of LOLs and ROFLs to your life. The ideal source for such memorable laughs can be built on a Comedy Show date. So, either visit a nearby joint to get entertained by your favorite comedian or stream the top stand-up specials on Netflix or Prime Video from the warm comfort of your home.    

5- No Vacation? Say Yes to Staycation!

So what if you had to cancel your vacation plan for this winter?  A staycation date might make up for it. Even though you could be living in the same city for years, there must be a couple of places that you can explore with your partner like a tourist. Book a hotel in the vicinity for a few days and visit the places you always wanted to explore around. Such little breaks from your everyday winter life minuses the personal and professional hassles while letting you have more valuable time with your spouse.  

6- Enjoy The Weather With a Hike Together

If you and your partner are outdoor people, a winter hike can be an ideal date for both of you. Exploring new things together will help you strengthen your bonding. If you both have just started together, you would find each other communicating better compared to those awkward dinner date silences. Also, you would love the physical contact when crossing a stream or helping each other climb over a log.  

7- You Can’t Go Wrong With a Sports Game Date

Be it winter or any other season, sporting events have been a proven way for couples to get close to each other. Buy tickets for a live event near you or cheer for a local team on TV. Even if it’s not your favorite team playing, choose a side and shout out loud to show your support. You will find it hard not to have fun while cheering, chatting, and chowing with your date.    

8- Build Health and Intimacy With Yoga

As per experts, couples who involve in physical activity together are much happier and share a stronger emotional bond. That’s why a Couple Yoga could be a great idea to make you and your S.O. emotive for a winter date. Interlinked couples’ poses will help you get to know your partner’s body better. However, if you are both novices, simple guided asanas should suffice. 

9- Can’t Get Bored With Board Games

Have a chess board at home? Why not use it for your date night? Board Games, when combined with good food and small conversations, can be as fun as your outing dates. It helps you reconnect with your spouse, especially, when you haven’t spent much time together alone in a while. So, break the ice with chess or any board game you like and make your winter warmer. Who knows that Board Games might become your favorite way to spend time together.  

10- Make Out When Blackout

If you don’t like board games and don’t even want to go out, try having a Power Outage date. While power outages can be frustrating, they can provide you with an ideal romantic atmosphere. No problem if there is no TV, no Phones, no Lights, and no Electricity. You and your partner can turn the power outage “frustration” into “fun” together. Have a candlelight dinner, take turns telling a ghost story, dress up with glow stick jewelry, create shadow puppets on the wall, and do a lot more exciting things to make the time cherished forever.   

11- Having a Spa Day Keeps the Winter Blues Away

It doesn’t have to be food, outing, or movies as your dating options all the time. A relaxing spa with your honey can also be quite pampering and rejuvenating. Get some face masks, aroma oils, and a mani-pedi kit. Create a romantic ambiance by lighting some candles and playing a soothing music. Put on your robes and begin your home spa date. Within a few minutes, your body and mind will be tranquilized, making you forget the wintry chills.  

12- Cook Together, Much Better!

In case you are an indoor person, especially when it’s a cold season, you can show your love for each other by cooking a meal. Either refer to Gordon Ramsay’s classic recipes or invent a new dish. You might not like the food that much, but you will surely love and remember the time spent in the kitchen for winters to come.  

13- Know Who Is the Boss With A Game Show Date

Playing along with a Game show can be a fun date to have with your beloved while staying warm in bed. Just get a pen and paper and assume yourself as a contestant.  Note down the points you both earn and by the end of the show, you should know who the champ in the house is. 

14- Have a Button Smashing Date Night  

Lost the Game Show bet? Why not try to make it even with a video game date? Such a fun time together can be a great aphrodisiac. To make the date even more fun and celebrating, you can host a double or a group date. Some of the best video games for couples include – Don’t Starve Together, Rayman Legends, Portal 2, Overcooked, Mario Party, and Minecraft.    

15- Sit And Chill By the Ocean

If you have a home close to the coast, consider spending a day at the beach with your love. The landscapes in wintry weather along with the ocean breeze put the mind completely at ease. Add the midday sunshine and there you have a perfect backdrop for long, deep conversations and a few hours of siesta. 

16- Live Theatre Dates Are Unforgettable

If you wish to experience something different than a regular dinner-and-a-movie date, go see a play. The experience of Live Theater is something that every couple should have. Theater artists possess extraordinary skills; and watching them live in one-take-action is overwhelming. No matter if everything proceeds by the book or goes haywire, your theater date will certainly be memorable. 

17- Live Music Nights Are Evergreen

The first (and might be the only) thing that you and your S.O. may have in common is your love for the music. Your genre preferences could be different, but music is music. So, instead of making your winter dinner dates limited to a typical restaurants, add some magic of live music to it. And, of course, a live concert can also be ideal if you both love being in crowds.  

18- Who would say no to a Shopping Date?

Retail therapy is a perfect way to beat the winter blues. If your relationship has just started, you would love to know the fashion sense of your partner. However, if it’s been time, you know where to find the right fit for him/her. So, get yourselves spoilt at a nearby mall or shopping district like Chicago’s Magnificent Mile to get the best deals on your favorite brands. Done shopping? Make sure to complete the brief tour with a hot beverage on your way back. 

19- Enjoy a Stimulating Puzzle Date Night 

Any mutual activity you do as a couple is surely going to make the moment memorable. Jigsaw puzzles are one such way to spend fun time together, especially when the winter begins to make you feel bored and sluggish. Order a puzzle board or mat and start working as a team. Don’t need to rush and complete it in one go. Let the fun last longer. 

20- Pitch a Tent In Your Backyard for a Romantic Camping Night

If you have enough outdoor space around your home, this surely calls for a camping date. All you need to do is set up a tent, put some blankets, and build a fire pit to stay warm and enjoy the wintry night. Soft background music with some hot chocolate or any food/beverage of your choice will compel you to have more such dates together.  

To summarize, be it winter or any other time of the year, it’s all about spending quality time together. So, no matter if you find the above-mentioned date ideas for your winter worth experiencing, or have something else in mind, just remember – love knows no season. Moreover, if you’ll see winter not as a season but as a celebration, you will know how one romantic date can warm your three months of winter.  

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baby shower blog image

29 Aug 2022

A baby shower is planned for a pregnant woman, typically by her friends or family, to celebrate the child’s birth. Usually, a host organizes the baby shower before the baby is born, but one can also schedule it after the baby’s arrival. A baby shower allows the expectant mother to receive gifts for her new baby and support and advice from other women who have been through the experience of childbirth. 

Why have a baby shower?

Having a baby is a joyous occasion. But it’s also a lot of work. As a host, you could use all the assistance you get when preparing for a new arrival. Friends and family can pitch in and help with everything from building the nursery to stocking up on wipes and diapers. Organizing games, food, and gifts can add to the festivity for the little one. However, if unsure about hosting a baby shower, remember that it’s a great way to help celebrate the expectant mother with this remarkable chapter in her life. 

Where did baby showers originate?

The origins of baby showers are somewhat unclear, but one popular theory is that they began in ancient Greece. New mothers used to be isolated from the outside world for over a month after giving birth. Friends and family would bring them gifts to ensure the mother and child had everything they needed. These gifts were often placed on a pallet, giving rise to the tradition of placing gifts on a baby shower registry.   

Another theory claims that baby showers originated in ancient Rome, where people believed evil spirits could harm newborns. To ward off these spirits, friends, and family would gather around the mother and child, making noise and offering gifts. While the exact origins of baby showers are uncertain, there’s no doubt that they are a cherished tradition in many cultures.   

When should one host a baby shower?

When the expectant mother is getting close to the due date, and everyone starts asking when she will have her baby shower, you know it’s the right time to organize the baby shower. 

  • Firstly, you need to know the kind of shower the soon-to-be mother wants: coed, couples, men only, women only, or surprise.  
  • Secondly, you must create a registry, choose a theme, send out invitations, and figure out who will make the cake.  
  • Finally, you need to coordinate with the event organizer (if you hired one) to ensure everything goes smoothly. 

Luckily, there are some tried and true guidelines on when to have a baby shower. If this is the first baby for the expectant mom, you may host the baby shower about six weeks before the due date. For subsequent babies, you may plan it two to three weeks before the big day. This pre-planning will give you plenty of time to get everything ready without feeling stressed. Even if nothing works, remember that there’s no wrong time to celebrate the impending arrival of a new baby!   

How to throw a baby shower?

If you’re in charge of throwing a baby shower for an expectant mother, you’ll want to consider every detail when planning the celebration. As a host, you’ll also want to ensure the event stays true to the honoree’s preferences. Plan the event as per the soon-to-be mother’s hobbies, decor style, and taste. You can also take inspiration from her nursery ideas to ensure she loves the party theme.   

Organizing a successful baby shower begins with being prepared from the beginning and having enough time to bring everything to life. You’ll want to grab a notepad and make the checklist to keep the plans on track.   

Who to invite to a baby shower?

When throwing a baby shower, the question of who to invite can be tricky. While you want to include all the expectant mother’s closest friends and family members, you don’t want the guest list to get unmanageable. Ultimately, the last thing you want is for the baby shower to turn into a circus. Although the guest list should be according to the pregnant lady’s liking, if it’s a surprise that you are planning for her, below are a few standard guidelines that can help you plan the guest list.  

  • First, include all immediate family members of the honoree and any close friends who are like family to her.   
  • Second, keep the guest list limited to people who know her well. Inviting acquaintances or casual friends could be unnecessary.   
  • Finally, don’t forget to include a few special touches, like inviting a close friend who lives far away or someone who is also expecting a baby around the same time as the expectant mother.  

Considering these simple suggestions, creating a guest list should be a breeze.   

Ideal places to have a baby shower

Deciding where to have a baby shower can be a tough decision. After all, you want to find a comfortable place with enough space for all the guests. However, some areas are better than others when hosting a baby shower. Here are a few of the best places to have a baby shower:   

  • The first place to consider is the soon-to-be mom’s own home. Her home can be the most comfortable option for everyone, and it can be easier to manage everything if she’s in familiar surroundings. Plus, you won’t have to be concerned if the venue is clean and presentable – the guests will understand if her house is a little messy. 
  • Another great option is the home of her close friend or relative. Their place can be an excellent way to include people who might not otherwise be able to make it to the shower, making the event feel more intimate. 
  • Finally, if you’re looking for a unique setting, consider renting a small space at a local coffee shop or cafe. A rental place can provide a relaxed and fun atmosphere for the guests, and it’s usually easier to find available parking and public transportation options near these businesses.   

Games and activities for a baby shower

If you wish to add some fun and festive games at a baby shower, here are some of the best games and activities to get everyone in the party mood:   

  • How big the mom-to-be’s belly is: The classic baby shower game of guessing how big the mom-to-be’s tummy is always a hit. Get everyone to write down their guess and the person with the closest answer wins a prize!   
  • A diaper changing relay race: This game will keep everyone entertained. Divided into teams, each team has to change a diaper on a baby doll as fast as they can. The winning team gets a cash prize from the losing team.  
  • A blindfolded Tasting of baby food: This one is a classic. Blindfolded guests must identify different baby food types by taste and smell. The person with the maximum correct answers gets a prize!   

So there you have some ideas for fun games and activities to host a memorable baby shower.   

Food and drink for a baby shower

To help you with some of the best baby shower food and drink ideas, here is a list of our top dishes and drinks that will delight everyone, especially the soon-to-be mom.   

  • For starters, why not try a refreshing mocktail? A Cucumber Mint Melon Cooler can be perfect for a hot summer day.  
  • The Chocolate Mousse is always a hit if you want something more indulgent.  
  • No baby shower would be complete without some delicious Finger 

Whatever you choose, we guarantee that the guests will be impressed!   

Thinking about gifts for the baby shower?

If you need suggestions for unique and memorable gifts, why not think outside the box and consider some playful gift ideas like the ones below?  

  • For the new parents who love to travel, why not give them a personalized map of the world to track their future adventures with their baby?  
  • For the food lover, how about a gourmet spice set they can use to create incredible dishes for their growing family?  
  • A gift card from CookinGenie can be a unique present to the couple. A personal chef will visit their home and cook exotic dishes of their choice. 

Whatever gift you choose for the expectant mom, remember that it’s the thought that matters.  

Also Read: Wondering Which gift Really Makes The Day for mom? A Home-Cooked Meal (That She Doesn’t Have to Make Herself) 

10 Unique Baby Shower Ideas

If you are looking for some baby shower ideas, there are a lot of options out there. You can go with the traditional games and pink or blue decorations or get a little more creative. For some unique party themes, check out the list below.  

1- A “choose your own adventure” baby shower

Give guests a series of choices throughout the shower (e.g., what color should the onesie be?) and let them vote on each option. The mother-to-be will decide the winner.  

2- A coed baby shower

Why should the ladies have all the fun? Include dads and other male family members in the festivities!   

3- A BINGO baby shower.

Have guests fill out BINGO cards with baby-related things (e.g., “Has peed their pants” or “Eats cereal with a spoon”). Anyone who gets five in a row wins a prize!   

4- A diaper raffle

Ask each guest to bring a pack of diapers as their “admission fee” to the shower. Then, hold a raffle for all of the diapers! The more guests, the more prizes you can offer.   

5- A potluck baby shower

This baby shower idea is a great way to reduce costs and get everyone involved in the fun! Assign different food items to various guests and let everyone show off their culinary skills.  

6- A scavenger hunt baby shower

Hide baby items around the house or yard and have guests search for them. The first person to find all of the things wins a prize!   

7- A “baby’s firsts” baby shower

Ask guests to give something unique to help the baby with their first 

year milestones (e.g., a rattle for their first time shaking, a book for their first time reading, etc.).   

8- A themed baby shower

Choose a fun theme for the shower (e.g., Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sesame Street) and decorate accordingly. You can ask your guests dress up in fancy costumes.   

9- A photo booth baby shower

Create a photo booth with props and let guests take turns posing for fun photos. Be sure to have a camera or smartphone on hand to snap some pictures!   

10- A digital baby shower

If you’re planning a shower for long-distance family or friends, consider hosting it online! Many excellent video chat platforms (e.g., Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom) will let you connect with people worldwide.    

In the end

If you’re planning for something different than the traditional baby shower, one (or all) of these unique baby shower ideas should get your creative juices flowing. Just be sure to avoid anything that the mom-to-be might not like. With some thought and preparation, your celebration will be fun for everyone involved.   

And, of course, no baby shower is complete without food. If you need assistance with a delicious and unique menu idea in Ohio for a baby shower or any other occasion, consider hiring a personal chef from CookinGenie. We will work with you to create the perfect menu for the guests. So don’t wait and get started planning today! 

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