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January 17, 2021
Pancake Tuesday and its History: A Lenten Preparation

In Christianity, the liturgical season of Lent represents the 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert and is a period of reflection and abstinence from excess. In the Northern Hemisphere, Lent also coincides with coming out of winter's long, dark days. When faced with an extended period of reflection and moderation, as humans, it makes […]

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January 17, 2021
King Cake and its History: from France to Mardi Gras

The twelfth day of Christmas, also known as the Epiphany, is the day the Three Wise Men – the Magi – first met the baby Jesus. The day also celebrates the start of Mardi Gras or the Carnival season. One of the ways we celebrate the season? We eat king cakes.  This tradition traveled through Spain to France and eventually spread to the […]

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December 3, 2020
History of Apple Pie – The Longstanding, Adopted American Symbol

As a symbol of U.S. culture, apple pie has a special significance. Think of the phrase "as American as apple pie"—and the fact that we celebrate everything from Thanksgiving to Christmas, to the Fourth of July (!) with this iconic pastry. However integral to the United States's cultural identity, apple pie's precursors and ingredients are not American. […]

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November 29, 2020
The History of the Yule Log: From Fireplace Ritual to Tasty Dessert

Burning the Yule log is one of the oldest Christmas customs. In fact, it predates Christianity in pagan rituals that eventually merged with Christian holiday traditions in the early Middle Ages. Today, few Americans still follow the Old World tradition of placing a tree on a hearth and burning it (...do you?).  However, the ritual has a […]

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November 29, 2020
The History of Fruitcake: Legendary Cake (and Christmas Re-Gift)

The fruitcake may be the butt of your re-gifting joke, but the treat's origins date back to as early as Ancient Egypt. Today, this cake is more popular as a punchline than a dessert, but either way, it's made its mark on the holiday. From annual loaf flinging contests, to moistening the cake (possibly with alcohol), […]

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November 29, 2020
History of the Mince Pie: A Holiday Dessert with a Meaty Past

Ever wondered about the mince pie? The first mince pastries developed during the Crusades were savory and literally meaty, hardly resembling the small, sweet morsels we see and enjoy today. What brought about those changes – and how did the mince pie persevere to become a holiday staple? Let's find out together! "Meat" the Mince Pie What […]

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November 28, 2020
The History of Shortbread – A Scottish Pastry with a Rich History

I've always been happy when people break out the shortbread cookies around the holidays.  Sweet? Crumbly? Pairs well with everything? Sign me up.  But – ask me the story behind shortbread? Until now, crickets.  I decided I needed to look into the matter; today, let's talk about shortbread's origin and history. The Skinny on Shortbread What […]

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November 14, 2020
History of the Apple – Global Staple and Cultural Phenomenon

The relationship between humans and apples has a long and complex past. Countless myths and stories include the seductive apple, and it has remained a popular food across different regions of the world. How has this fruit – arguably the most popular fruit in existence – had such an enormous cultural and economic impact since its […]

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November 13, 2020
History of the Sweet Potato – From Mystery Migration to Thanksgiving Staple

Have you ever heard of the mystery around the origins of the sweet potato? Its full history is a puzzle even to the most well-versed historians.  Many agree that it spread across Europe – and eventually much of the world – through the Columbian exchange. However, India and Polynesia were ahead of the curve by […]

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October 21, 2020
History of Pumpkin Beer – From Beer of Necessity to Seasonal Staple

Pumpkin beer is one of my favorite – if controversial – tastes every fall. And for me, autumn doesn't really begin until I see pumpkin beer on the shelves. But apart from being a fall staple, did you know that pumpkin beer has deep roots in American history? I've spent the past weeks researching the story of […]

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