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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Personal Chef -a Safer Way for dinner party - cookinGenie

25 Aug 2021

One of the hardest things about the pandemic is that we haven’t been able to celebrate the significant events in our lives the same way. Gathering for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays has become much riskier and with restrictions in place, much harder too.

With all of those events, one of the best ways to celebrate has always been going out to eat. For a special occasion, there’s nothing better than having someone else cook delicious food for you, while you sit back and relax. But in the era of Covid, celebrating with a dinner out may not be something you, or your family, would be totally comfortable with, especially with an infectious new variant swirling around.

But what about that birthday party? Wouldn’t it be nice to still have someone take care of all the cooking and cleaning for you, even if you don’t want to go out? Well, you could do takeout, but by now, we’re all pretty well sick of opening up Styrofoam boxes. Instead, why not book a personal chef with CookinGenie?

A CookinGenie chef will do all the shopping, arrive at your home, and cook a delicious restaurant quality meal for you and your guests. CookinGenie has a wide variety of delicious chef-inspired dishes to choose from, representing a multitude of different cuisines.

Many of the dishes we offer are great for sharing, making them excellent for a casual or formal gathering. Get a bowl of genie Christian’s Guacamole and Chips to pass around, or perhaps dazzle your guests with genie Dylan’s artisanal charcuterie board.  For the bacon lovers in your group, genie Jared offers delectable appetizers of bacon-wrapped dates and water chestnuts. Whatever your party needs, our chefs are very adaptable and can tailor the amount of food to fit your number of guests.

When you choose to hold your gathering at home, you have much more control over everything. At a crowded public restaurant, you may be seated indoors, you’ll be unsure of the vaccination status of the people around you, and there may or may not be mask wearing. At home, you can choose to eat outside, choose to enforce masking, and you can reduce the risk of your gathering by keeping it just between close friends and family. At home, whatever you’re comfortable with, you can do.

But the best part is that even with all those added health measures, there’s no comprising the quality of the food! CookinGenie will still deliver a restaurant quality meal from your kitchen and there’s no cooking or cleanup that you have to do. You can feel comfortable having a CookinGenie chef come cook for you. Each of our genies undergoes a health questionnaire the morning of the cooking appointment and are required to wear masks the entire time they’re in your home. You will also see our genies practice frequent handwashing and other good hygiene and food safety measures.

In these crazy times, we all just want a little bit of normalcy. So, for your next celebration, book a genie and experience a safer way to celebrate.

 

Written by:  Jared Kent

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Bibimbap-CookinGenie

07 Apr 2021

CookinGenie lets you travel with food all around the world. Next stop: Korea. 

Sometimes, the humblest foods are the best foods. That’s certainly the case with bibimbapKorea’s answer to fried rice, and—if you ask us—one of the top must-try foods around the world. 

The word “bibimbap” means “mixed rice with meat and vegetables,” and variations of the dish abound. It’s a dish that is endlessly customizable based on whatever the cook has on hand: some versions are made with raw beef and eggs, while others incorporate cooked seafood or pork and fried egg. What all these versions have in common is a base of rice topped with ingredients that are individually prepared and carefully seasoned, then stirred together just before serving. The result is a colorful dish with flavors and textures that are hearty, bold and harmonize beautifully with one another.   

In its article about bibimbap, the Korean Culture Blog cites different origin stories for this famed food, which is centuries old. “One story is that ancestral rituals were performed in the countryside away from home and after the rituals, instead of bringing all the foods back home which was cumbersome, the people mixed together all the foods in one big bowl and ate them all. Another story is that bibimbap came from the ancient custom of mixing leftover cooked rice with all the remaining side dishes and eating it as a midnight snack on the eve of Lunar New Year.  Another story is that while working out in the fields, the farmers mixed together all the nutritious ingredients in one big bowl to have a quick and healthy meal.”1  

Over time, regional variations developed with the most famous version coming from Jeonju, a small city in South Korea. Jeonju bibimbap is made with bean sprouts, gingko nut, pine nut, chestnut, spinach, lettuce, bracken, mushroom, turnip, carrot, seaweed, and beef. It beautifully represents the philosophy of Hansik (traditional Korean food), by combining the five colors that represent the elements that make up the universe—green/water, red/fire, yellow/wood, white/metal and black/earth—and the five flavors: sweet, hot, sour, salty and bitter.2 

There are also variations based on the type of dish bibimbap is made and served in. Traditional yangpun bibimbap is served in a yangpun, a large brass bowl, although these days many Korean cooks reach for a stainless steel bowl to make yangpun bibimbap instead3. One of the most beloved varieties is dolsot bibimbap, which is made in a dolsot—a heavy stone or earthenware bowl that’s heated to a high temperature before ingredients are added. The rice goes in first so it cooks in the hot bowl and forms a crispy, crackling bottom crust that adds a satisfying crunch when everything is stirred together.  

Bibimbap took flight outside Korea—literally—and gained notice as one of the best foods in the world in the late twentieth century when South Korean Airlines began serving it for inflight meals. Its popularity quickly spread: Wikipedia calls the dish a global symbol that symbolizes the harmony and balance in Korean culture4 and CNN Travel listed it at number 40 on its 2011 list of the World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods.5  

CookinGenie’s Jared Kent makes his bibimbap by topping seasoned white rice with spicy ground pork and garlicky carrots, soy-glazed spinach, quick-pickled cucumbers, green onions and kimchiand crowning it all with a crispy fried egg. (He makes a just-veggies version for you vegetarians out there too). Just before serving, he drizzles the bowl with a sweet-and-spicy gochujang-soy sauce that ties it all together.  

And just a quick note: we added bibimbap to our menu at the request of one of our customers. Are you craving a dish and don’t see it on our menu? Just ask! Our team of Genies are inventive cooks with a deep repertoire of recipes—so chances are one of our chefs can help you satisfy your cravings for famous food from around the world. Send us an email with your special request to support@cookingenie.com 

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26 Oct 2019

Lentils are one of the staple ingredients of Indian (& middle eastern) cuisine and with good reason.

Lentils, often referred to as Dal are really any type of split pulses (or legumes) A pulse refers to the dry edible seeds of the pod. (such as lentils, beans or peas) They are typically offered in a few ways, whole, split, some with skin some without.

The benefits of these are endless. Not only are they tasty but they add a nutrient dense component to any meal. To take a quick look at their nutritional profile they are high in protein and low in fat, high in fiber, as well as complex carbohydrates, and they are generally gluten-free (depending on farming techniques). Not to mention they are high in vitamins and minerals and they are even considered heart healthy. It’s such a powerful component to add to a meal.

Furthermore, lentils contain phytochemicals. Many of which protect against chronic diseases such as Heart Disease or Type 2 Diabetes. They also contain Polyphenols which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Studies have shown a link between eating lentils and lowered blood sugar.

They are also extremely popular if you are a vegan or vegetarian. Lentils pack an impressive number of vitamins and minerals. Also, when paired with rice, they are considered a complete protein. Meaning it can be a guilt free staple to your diet. Traditionally this is a dish that is often served to babies when they first start eating solid foods because it is soft, easily digested and nutrient dense.

Red Lentils are probably one of the most common types in Indian Cuisine and can easily be found in most grocery stores. They can be sprouted and used in curries and soups and rice dishes. They are popular because of their versatility. Probably equally important to Indian cuisine are yellow lentils. They are an incredible source of B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Often used in curry, sautéed with onions and garlic. These heart healthy foods can add extra nutrients to so many dishes.

Are you wondering where this superfood has been all your life? Believe it or not it’s probably sitting on the shelf of your local grocery store right now. You may feel intimidated about soaking, sprouting, and slow cooking these. Or maybe you are hung up on all the many varieties and benefits without being sure of which flavors will pair best. Our Genies can be an answer. Let us demonstrate how to incorporate this new ingredient into your diet. Ask all the questions you want and learn by watching us cook this fresh right in your kitchen. You might have just discovered a new favorite food, and your health will benefit too! You can’t go wrong. Call us today!

References:

Indian Pulses – A quick guide to lentils, beans and peas

Basics of Indian Cooking: Dal (Beans and Lentils)

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lentils

 

 

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