Oh Granny

I love apple pie. So, I always get way more apples than needed for a pie. You know why? Because I also love to eat apples. Apples in the morning. Apples at lunch. Apples for an afternoon snack. An apple after my evening run. So, I ALWAYS get way more apples than needed for a pie.  :)))

It’s that time of year again.  I’m not sure if it’s the cool nights, early sunsets, changing cloud patterns or just my gastronomical clock changing, but there’s something about October and my need to eat lots of apple pie. It’s an odd thing, that lasts through the holidays too.  Maybe it’s the piles of apples at the market or the smell of pumpkin spice at the grocery store (can’t believe how many products offer a pumpkin spice version (saw pumpkin spice Spam – what a waste of some good SPAM!), but I have the craving.  My first subtle (no comments about me not being subtle!) effort to convince Jackie it’s time to bake is when I bring home a rather large array of different apples from the farmer’s market – green, golden, red, macs, Honeycrisp.  Then I try pulling the pie dish out and leaving it on the counter with the cinnamon.  Or maybe it’s the “backup” half-gallon of vanilla ice cream and bonus sized Cool Whip container.  Jackie, amazing as always, pulls out one of her favorite recipes for Dutch Apple Pie and goes to work.  I love it when the house fills with that amazing aroma of sweet apples and hot pastry dough – it settles the mind and gets me ready for the transition from summer to fall.  There is nothing quite like a slice of amazing pie ala mode! Below are some great recipes, and a little history on the delicacy and the all-important crust.  Enjoy, and thanks Smithsonian and the recipes from All Recipes, Inspired Taste, Taste of Home and Tasty.co.

  • Apple pie is a longstanding symbol of America, but the dessert didn’t actually come from America, and neither did the apples.  Apples are actually native to Asia and have been in America about as long as Europeans have.
  • The early colonists of Jamestown brought European apple tree cuttings and seeds with them. The only native apple in North America was the crab apple, and the colonists found its tiny fruit “a poor substitute for Malus domestica.” Settlers primarily used the apples to make cider (the hard and soft kinds), which was preferred to water as a drink and easier to produce than beer, which required labor-intensive land clearing.
  • During America’s colonial history, planting trees was a good way to preserve a land claim; colonists who didn’t “improve” their land in some colonies, like Virginia, could have it taken away from them.
  • Apple trees are easy to cross-pollinate, meaning that deliberately producing new apple varieties is relatively simple. By 1800, writes Tim Hensley for the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, American farmers were growing a mind-boggling 14,000 varieties of apple, many of which had been bred in the country. Around the same time, John Chapman, otherwise known as Johnny Appleseed, had brought the apple to American folklore fame. “Chapman’s beloved apples became ‘American’ by association.”
  • The first recorded recipe for apple pie was written in 1381 in England and called for figs, raisins, pears, and saffron in addition to apples (now why would you go and do that??).
  • There were other differences, too: early apple pie recipes generally didn’t include sugar, and their pastry crust was “coffin” pastry, which was intended as an inedible container, not a part of the pie. There are also recipes for Dutch apple pies as far back as 1514.
  • A 1924 advertisement appearing in the Gettysburg Times promotes “New Lestz Suits that are as American as apple pie.” And by World War II, the America and pie association was cemented. American soldiers would tell journalists that they were fighting for “mom and apple pie,” giving rise to the expression “As American as mom and apple pie.”
  • The secret to great apple pie is also in the crust.  It’s not a topic to be thrown about – as making “the best crust” has merit and prestige in a family.  Surprising, the history of “crust” goes back many ages – here’s some highlights:
  • The first pies, called “coffins” or “coffyns” (the word actually meant a basket or box) were savory meat pies with the crusts or pastry being tall, straight-sided with sealed-on floors and lids.  Open-crust pastry (not tops or lids) were known as “traps.”  These pies held assorted meats and sauce components and were baked more like a modern casserole with no pan (the crust itself was the pan, its pastry tough and inedible).  These crusts were often made several inches thick to withstand many hours of baking.
  • A small pie was known as a tartlet and a tart was a large, shallow open pie (this is still the definition in England).
  • Historians have recorded that the roots of pie can loosely be traced back to the ancient Egyptians during the Neolithic Period or New Stone Age beginning around 6000 BC.    These early forms of pies are known as galettes, which are essentially rustic free-form pies.  Our ancestors made these pie-like treats with oat, wheat, rye, and barley, then filled them with honey and baked the dish over hot coals.
  • Between 1304 to 1237 B.C. the bakers to the pharaohs incorporated nuts, honey, and fruits in bread dough, a primitive form of pastry.  Drawings of this can be found etched on the tomb walls of Ramses II, located in the Valley of the Kings.
  • The tradition of galettes (pastry base) was carried on by the Greeks.  Historians believe that the Greeks actually originated pie pastry.  The pies during this period were made by a flour-water paste wrapped around meat; this served to cook the meat and seal in the juices.
  • A cookbook from the mid 16th century that also includes some account of domestic life, cookery and feasts in Tudor days, called A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye, declarynge what maner of  meates be beste in season, for al times in the yere, and how they ought to be dressed, and  serued at the table, bothe for fleshe dayes, and fyshe dayes, has a recipe for a short paest for tarte:  “To Make Short Paest for Tarte – Take fyne floure and a cursey of fayre water and a dysche of swete butter and a lyttel saffron, and the yolckes of two egges and make it thynne and as tender as ye maye.” (where are the apples??)
  • Animated pies or pyes were the most popular banquet entertainment. The nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence . . . four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,” refers to such a pie.  According to the rhyme, “When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing.  Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the King.”  In all likelihood, those birds not only sang, but flew briskly out at the assembled guests.  Rabbits, frogs, turtles, other small animals, and even small people (dwarfs) were also set into pies, either alone or with birds, to be released when the crust was cut.  The dwarf would emerge and walk down the length of the table, reciting poetry, sketching the guests, or doing tricks. (where are the apples??).
  • During Charles V (1364-1380), King of France, reign, the important event at banquets was not dishes of food but acts such as minstrels, magicians, jugglers, and dancers.
  • The chefs entered into the fun by producing elaborate “soteltie” or “subtilty.”  Sotelties were food disguised in an ornamental way (sculptures made from edible ingredients but not always intended to be eaten or even safe to eat). During this time period, the Duke of Burgundy’s chef made an immense pie which opened to the strains of 28 musicians playing from within the pie.  Out of the pie came a captive girl representing the “captive” Church in the Middle East.
  • The Pilgrims brought their favorite family pie recipes with them to America.  The colonists and their pies adapted simultaneously to the ingredients and techniques available to them in the New World. At first, they baked pie with berries and fruits pointed out to them by the Native Americans.  Colonial women used round pans literally to cut corners and stretch the ingredients (for the same reason they baked shallow pies).
  • Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), a.k.a. Mark Twain, was a big fan of eating pies.  His life-long housekeeper and friend (she was with the family for 30 years), Katy Leary, often baked Huckleberry pie to lure her master into breaking his habit of going without lunch.  Samuel Clemens also had a recipe for English Pie: To make this excellent breakfast dish, proceed as follows: “Take a sufficiency of water and a sufficiency of flour and construct a bullet-proof dough.  Work this into the form of a disk, with the edges turned up some three-fourths of an inch.  Toughen and kiln-dry in a couple days in a mild but unvarying temperature.  Construct a cover for this redoubt in the same way and of the same material.  Fill with stewed dried apples; aggravate with cloves, lemon-peel, and slabs of citron; add two portions of New Orleans sugars, then solder on the lid and set in a safe place till it petrifies.  Serve cold at breakfast and invite your enemy.”

Here are some recipes to try – and yes, please stop by the office and share a slice or two.
By Grandma Ople
Favorite Apple Pie  
Taste of Home
Made from Scratch

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


 

“Well done boys, well done”

The original Worcestershire sauce is the BEST! On everything!!! Burgers, steaks, sushi, kabobs, salads, p-nut butter…well, what the heck, why not?  For 185 years it’s been imitated endlessly but never bested. I know, I’ve tried them all. (I have to go get a snack.)

 

I just love experiments and discoveries.  I’m fascinated how engineers, scientists, and Heat Treaters go out on a limb, try different approaches, take chances, and then “discover” new ways to do things to create new inventions.  It happens in the lab, on the shop floor, and many times comes to people willing to “give it a try” when they don’t expect it. About 185 years ago today, a couple of chemists were experimenting with sauces for food.  They were trying to come up with a flavor that would improve the taste experience of meat dishes – (think meat in the 1800’s – eeuuuww!).  Disappointed by the flat taste, they put their dark liquid a barrel, and stuck it in the basement to be left it for another day.  Through the magic of fermentation about 18 months later, a new product was born, which now sits on refrigerator door shelves throughout the world.  Not an everyday condiment, but a special blend of spices and ingredients, the now famous chemists John and Billy nailed it, inventing … Worchester sauce, that has become a great compliment to sauces and recipes, as well as beverages.  Sometimes just a splash, other times a serious marinade, be sure to try the recipes at the bottom of the blog and be sure to send me your favorites (skowalski@khtheat.com).  With this great stretch of weather, I never lose interest in popping open the grill top and cooking up something new. (the suggested beverage below fits right into my wheelhouse). Enjoy. And thanks to writer Peggy Trowbridge, thespruceeats.com, allrecipes.com, healthline.com and Wikipedia for the info.

  1. Worcestershire sauce (pron. WOO cester shire) has a distinct flavor, yet it can be challenging to identify its complex list of ingredients simply by the taste. Enjoyed for generations, it was developed in August 1835 by two chemists from Worcester named Lea and Perrins.
  2. Chemists John Lea and William Perrins developed this sauce in Worcester, England. They were experimenting with vinegar-based seasoning sauces and had abandoned a batch that didn’t taste right. Sitting in the basement, the sauce fermented and developed complex flavors. The partners bottled more, and a taste for Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce spread throughout Europe, to America, and across the world. (to produce the sauce, they allow it to sit for two years with periodic stirrings; the mixture was then sifted of the solids and bottled.)
  3. After much success locally, the product took off.  By the end of the following decade Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce had already gained worldwide fame and was being exported to all the “outposts of the British Empire”.
  4. By the end of the century Lea & Perrins’ iconic orange label had been added to all bottles to ensure they stood out from copycat competitors (the label has hardly changed since) and in 1904 Lea & Perrins was granted the Royal Warrant which it holds to this day.  (the US version sports a tan paper label.)
  5. In 1897 the company opened a new factory in Worcester, where it remains in operation to this day, despite being commandeered by the British Army during the Second World War and suffering a factory fire in 1964.
  6. Now a mostly generic term, Worcestershire sauce is currently manufactured by many different commercial retailers, as well as under the original Lea & Perrins label. HP Sauce is another type of brown sauce, so named because the sauce was reputedly spotted in the Houses of Parliament. It’s similar but not the same as authentic Worcestershire sauce.
  7. Worcestershire sauce is a fermented condiment made from a base of vinegar and flavored with anchovies, molasses, tamarind, onion, garlic, and other seasonings. The flavor is savory and sweet with a distinct tang provided by the vinegar. The most common form of Worcestershire sauce is not appropriate for a vegetarian or vegan diet and cannot be used in a kosher meal that includes meat.
  8. Vinegar leads the ingredient list and is included both for the tangy flavor and to preserve the other components of Worcestershire sauce. Anchovies add umami. The ingredient that gives Worcestershire sauce its unique flavor is tamarind, the fruit of Tamarindus indica, or Indian date in Arabic. The pods, somewhat resembling a brown pea pod, contain a thick, sticky pulp which has a consistency of dates and a spicy date-apricot flavor. (learn more HERE.) Ingredients for U.S. version of The Original Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce include: Distilled white vinegar, Anchovies, Garlic, Molasses, Onions, Salt, Sugar, Water, Chili pepper extract, Cloves, Natural flavorings and Tamarind extract.
  9. The popularity of gluten-free diets may be one reason that the U.S. version of Worcestershire sauce is made with distilled white vinegar rather than malt vinegar, which contains gluten. To be sure your Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free, check the label.
  10. Interestingly, the version of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce sold in the U.S. differs from the U.K. recipe. It uses distilled white vinegar rather than malt vinegar. In addition, it has three times as much sugar and sodium. This makes the American version sweeter and saltier than the version sold in Britain and Canada.
  11. How would you describe the taste?  Chef’s use words like tangy, savory, sweet, and salty. The balance of those flavors makes it an excellent condiment. It is especially valued for adding the umami flavor, which comes from the anchovies. The spices included can vary by brand.
  12.  Worcestershire sauce can be used in many ways during cooking or as a condiment. It is often used as an ingredient in marinades or is brushed onto meat, fish, or poultry as it is grilled, fried, or baked. It can be used when steaming, grilling, or stir-frying vegetables. (I love to dump it into vegies when I make a stir fry or on my favorite burger).  Worcestershire sauce can be used as a condiment on sandwiches and shellfish or seasoning for salads. It is used in soups and stews for seasoning and adding savoriness.
  13. It’s relatively easy to make homemade Worcestershire sauce, but it does involve a long list of ingredients. Feel free to experiment and adjust to your taste. You can even try adding a personal secret ingredient to make the sauce your own.  You will need only a saucepan to simmer the ingredients, which include olive oil, sweet onions, tamarind paste, garlic, ginger, jalapeños, anchovies, tomato paste, cloves, black pepper, dark corn syrup, molasses, white vinegar, dark beer, orange juice, water, lemon, and lime.  Here’s A Recipe
  14. Prior to opening the bottle, Worcestershire sauce can be stored at room temperature.  Once the bottle is opened, it should be refrigerated to preserve flavor. The general shelf life of Worcestershire sauce is approximately two years, after which it may begin to lose flavor and aroma.
  15. Today, Lea & Perrins’ famous sauce is exported to over 130 countries around the world, where it has become a much-loved staple in kitchens, restaurants, hotels and bars. It remains as popular today as it ever has been, and is still lovingly made in Worcester in very much the same way as it was when first sold in the 1830’s.

You will find Worcestershire sauce included in a wide variety of recipes for everything from vegetables to meat dishes, and sauces to soups.  Here’s some fun ones to try:
Red Wine and Worcestershire Sauce Marinade for Chicken
Oysters Kilpatrick
Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Tangy Pork Chops
Tasty Bloody Mary

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


 

“They’re In, and boy-oh-boy are they good.”

Tomatoes are the best in so many dishes: Salads and pizzas—yep! Salsa, bouillabaisse, ketchup slathered on French fries, tacos, fresh spaghetti sauce, on any sandwich, in drinks. And tossing a tomato on the grill with steaks is a great idea, but you’ve got to see the recipe for grilled tomatoes at the end of this post! It is stupendous!!!!  Oh, and you can find that cute baby soup can bunting online, google it.  :)))

 

I may have written about this in the past – but, Yep.  You’ve guessed it.  Those red, ripe, juicy, tasty, yummy, luscious locally grown tomatoes are in.  In all sizes and shapes. And I’m sure loving it. With the hot weather, the farms and shelves are busting with home-grown goodness.  I stopped the other day to pick up some fresh corn – then of course I grabbed the beans, and cucs, zucchini, couple peppers, peaches, cherries – ok, so I couldn’t help it.  When I got home, I grabbed the knife, some bread, mayo, salt and pepper and loaded up some fat slices of tomatoes and “boom” – summer flavor at its finest. Then you can have the sliced meaty ones covered in a thick blue cheese dressing!  I jumped back to my childhood when Mom would fill the table with all the summer vegies and fruits. Here’s some fun trivia, and some even better recipes.  I KNOW each of you have your own favorite recipe, so please send my way – especially the salsa and sauce ones!!  skowalski@khtheat.com Enjoy!  And thanks to tomatodirt.com (amazing site), simplyrecipes.com, feastingathome.com (love that name!) and chefsteps.com for the recipes.  Plus a bit of reading music from our friends at YouTube – HERE

  1. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans eat between 22-24 pounds of tomatoes per person, per year. (More than half of those munchies are ketchup and tomato sauce.) I know I do my share in pulling that number up! Remember, ketchup is heart healthy!
  2. The tomato is America’s fourth most popular fresh-market vegetable behind potatoes, lettuce, and onions.
  3. Americans consume three-fourths of their tomatoes in processed form and have increased their tomato consumption 30% over the last 20 years (mostly in processed forms such as sauce, paste, and especially salsa).
  4.  While tomatoes are perfectly safe and healthy to eat, their leaves are actually toxic, so don’t eat them.
  5. The largest worldwide producer of tomatoes is China, followed by USA, Turkey, India and Egypt.  Here in the U.S., California produces 96% of the tomatoes that are “processed”. Florida is the number one producer of fresh market tomatoes.
  6. Tomatoes are thought to originate in Peru. The name comes from the Aztec “xitomatl,” which means “plump thing with a navel”.  The scientific term for the common tomato is lycopersicon lycopersicum, which mean “wolf peach.”
  7. When the tomato was introduced to Europe in the 1500s, The French called it “the apple of love.” The Germans called it “the apple of paradise.”
  8. In different languages: English: tomato, French: tomate, Dutch: tomaat, German: TomateDanish: tomat, Spanish: tomate, Italian: pomodoro (those silly Italians).
  9. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says there are 25,000 tomato varieties. Other sources cap the number of types of tomatoes at 10,000. (Either way, that’s a lot.)
  10. Tomato is a cousin of the eggplant, red pepper, ground cherry, potato, and the highly toxic belladonna (a herbaceous perennial, also known as the nightshade or solanaccae, that has historically been used as both a medicine and poison).
  11. For the best tomato, check color, texture, and touch. A ripe tomato is uniformly colored, in a shade true to its variety. An unripened tomato has inconsistent color. An overripe tomato has soft spots and may ooze juice from cracks. A ripe tomato is smooth, plump, and glossy and not too soft or not too hard to the touch. It “gives” when you press it with a finger.
  12. The heaviest tomato on record weighed in at 3.51 kg (7 pounds 12 ounces). A “delicious” variety, it was grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986. Gordon sliced the tomato to make sandwiches for 21 family members.
  13. The largest tomato plant (a “Sungold” variety), recorded in 2000, reached 19.8 meters (65 feet) in length and was grown by Nutriculture Ltd. of Mawdesley, Lancashire, UK.
  14. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest tomato tree grows at Walt Disney World Resort’s experimental greenhouse and yields a harvest of more than 32,000 tomatoes and weighs 1,151.84 pounds (522 kg). The plant was discovered in Beijing, China, by Yong Huang, Epcot’s manager of agricultural science, who took its seeds and grew them in the experimental greenhouse.
  15. Tomato juice is the official state beverage of Ohio – (right behind Bud Light).
  16. La Tomatina (Bũnol, Valencia, Spain), held festival held annually on the last Wednesday in August, attracts tens of thousands of visitors. The highlight is the tomato fight, in which 30,000+ participants throw an estimated 150,000 overripe tomatoes (100 metric tons) at each other.
  17. TomatoFest (Carmel, CA), coined as “America’s Favorite Tomato Festival,” was launched in 1991 and features 350 heirloom tomato variety tastings.
  18. In Ohio, the big one is the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival.  Started in 1965, the festival honors Reynoldsburg’s claim to fame as the birthplace of a sweeter, edible tomato created by resident Alexander W. Livingston. In 1870, he was the first to upgrade the wild tomato plant.  (sorry, cancelled this year).
  19. The antioxidant lycopene is a red pigment found in tomatoes. Tomatoes with the most brilliant shades of red indicate the highest amounts of lycopene and its fellow antioxidant, beta-carotene.
  20. Cooking tomatoes releases lycopene to do its work. A combined analysis of 21 studies published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention showed that men who ate the highest amounts of raw tomatoes had an 11% reduction in risk for prostate cancer. Those eating the most cooked tomato products fared even better: their prostate cancer risk was reduced by 19%.
  21.  Lycopene is fat-soluble. That means you’ll get the maximum benefit of tomato nutrition when tomatoes are absorbed in your body with the help of fats. Cook tomatoes in a touch of olive oil or pair tomatoes with avocados (in small amounts) to help your body absorb lycopene more easily.  I have been trying to find the health benefits of French fries covered in ketchup!!
  22. Eating tomatoes regularly is also good for your heart – one of the leading benefits of tomato nutrition. In a study of 40,000 women conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA), those who consumed 7 to 10 servings each week of tomato-based products were found to have a 29% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to women eating less than 1.5 servings of tomato products weekly.
  23. Eat 1.4 cups of raw broccoli and 2.5 cups of fresh tomato (or 1 cup of tomato sauce or ½ cup of tomato paste) daily to get best tomato nutrition benefits. According to a study in Cancer Research, the tomato-broccoli combination shrank prostate tumors in lab animals by 52%.

Q: Why did the tomato go out with a prune? 
A: Because he couldn’t find a date.

Q: How do you fix a sliced tomato? 
A: Use tomato paste, of course.

Q. Why did the tomato blush? 
A. Because he saw the salad dressing.

Q. What’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom? 
A. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Q. How do you get rid of unproductive tomatoes? 
A. Can them.

Fresh Salsa – Pico de Gallo

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Fresh Grilled Tomatoes

Steve’s Fresh Tomato Sandwiches
– big, thick slices of fresh summer tomatoes, spread mayo on soft bread, salt & pepper – (ta-da!)

 

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me
a quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


 

Like Spicy Sunshine

Mustard has been around since 2,000 BC. (give or take) Who’d have thought that such a little seed could still bring so much happiness to so many faces and be popular enough to support so many brands at the store. All so I can have mustard on my hot dog!!  :-)))) 

 

Spending time on the back patio, and especially over the grill, is a relaxing treat for me.  With the weather being amazing these past few weeks, I’m finding Jackie and me visiting the local grocery store and talking about “what we’re gonna have on the grill tonight.”  With my love of food, I’m good with just about anything – chicken, chops, steaks, ribs, fish … even the simplest meals, like dogs and burgers, get me going.  And of course, I just can’t have them without tasty mustard.  Just the word mustard starts the debate – traditional yellow, brown, “stadium”, wine, grey poupon(pinkies up please) and more.  Being a Clevelander, we’re a bit partial to Bertman Original Ballpark Mustard – a brown mustard made by Bertman Foods Company, a Cleveland, Ohio, food manufacturer and distributor which has produced several varieties of mustards since 1925 – AND the tasty version sold by The Davis Food Company called Stadium Authentic Mustard.  Being Cleveland and sports related, of course a controversy as to the “best”. A little history:

Bertman’s spicy brown mustard, has been used at sports stadiums in and around Cleveland for over 90 years, including League Park, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Jacobs Field, and Progressive Field. Joe Bertman, who was known for coming up with food solutions for his commercial customers, created the mustard for League Park, one of his top accounts, in the garage of his home in Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood.  Bertman’s is well known to sports fans and was declared the “signature concession item” by ESPN.com writer Jim Caple. In 1966, Cleveland had one local brown stadium mustard until David Dwoskin, one of Bertman’s sales reps, decided to step in.  In 1971, Dwoskin registered the name “The Authentic Stadium Mustard” for his new company Davis Food Company.  In 1982 he obtained exclusive rights to sell to both wholesale and retail markets as well as stadiums, arenas and other venues. In the early 1980s there was a disagreement between Bertman and Dwoskin because Dwoskin was producing his own mustard under the Stadium brand through his own company.  A spicy standoff.  Today, both mustards are sold in grocery stores, specialty food shops, and online. The trademarked “Bertman Original Ball Park Mustard” is sold at Cleveland sports venues, and as a competing brand to David’s Stadium Mustard. We’ll leave it up to you to choose your favorite.  While you are deciding, here’s a bit of trivia to make you the smart one around the grill next time you are rolling the franks and flippin’ the burgers.  Thanks to Wikipedia, and thespruceeats.com for the info and recipes.  Enjoy!

– Mustard has been one of the most widely grown and used spices in the world for many centuries. It is believed to have originated in Ancient Egypt. The Greeks used mustard as a medicine and a spice. The Romans emulated the Greeks using it as both food and medicine as well, ascribing it as a cure for anything from hysteria to snakebite to bubonic plague.

– Mustard is one of the earliest spices on record, appearing in Sanskrit manuscripts around 3000 BC. It is thought to be one of the first crops to be domesticated, and mustard was used throughout ancient Egypt, India, and China.

– The Romans brought mustard to Northern France where it was eventually cultivated by Monks. By the 9th century Monasteries were producing considerable amounts of income from mustard sales.

– The origin of the word mustard is believed to have come from the word Mosto or grape muss, a young unfermented wine which was mixed with ground Mustard seeds by the French Monks.

– Prepared mustard as we know it, began in Dijon, France in the 13th century encouraged by the Mustard loving Pope John XXII of Avignon who created the position of “Grand Moustardier du Pape” or the Grand Mustard-Maker to the Pope for his idle Nephew who lived near Dijon.  (I think of myself as “Grand Heatoure of de Metale”).

– In the early 19th century, the British became the world’s first mustard millers – milling the heart of the mustard seed to a fine powder and they established mustard as an industrial food ingredient. The yellow Mustard that we know today was introduced in Rochester New York in 1904 where its pairing with the American hotdog gave rise to its popularity.

– Mustard, the condiment, is made from the tiny round seeds of the mustard plant, a member of the Brassicaceae family. In order to release their flavor, the seeds must be broken—coarsely cracked, crushed, or finely ground—then mixed with enough liquid to make a spreadable paste, which can then be used as a condiment or as an ingredient in many culinary preparations.

– Mustard has a long shelf life of one to two years and comes in many varieties: yellow, brown, coarse, extra spicy, flavored.  The name comes from mustard in English, moutarde in French, mostarda in Italian—is thought to come from a contraction of the Latin mustum ardens meaning “burning must.” This is a reference to the spicy heat of mustard seeds and the ancient practice of mixing the ground seeds with must, the fresh, unfermented juice of wine grapes.

– Mustard was originally used as a medicinal plant rather than a culinary one. Pythagoras employed mustard as a remedy for scorpion stings, and Hippocrates made mustard plasters to treat toothaches and chest colds. While some people say mustard contains beneficial minerals such as selenium and magnesium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, most of the nutritional value of the condiment comes from the food it is served with.

– While there are about 40 species of mustard plants, only three of them are used to make mustard: black (Brassica nigra), brown (B. juncea), and white or yellow (Sinapis alba). Mustard, however, takes many different forms depending on how the seeds are ground, what liquid is used (vinegar, wine, juice, or water), and what other flavoring ingredients are added.

– White mustard, which originated in the Mediterranean, is the antecedent of the bright yellow hot dog mustard we are all familiar with. Brown mustard from the Himalayas is familiar to many as Chinese restaurant mustard, and it serves as the base for most European and American mustards as well. Black mustard originated in the Middle East and in Asia Minor, where it is still popular, primarily as a spice in seed and powder form.  Different types of mustard seeds can be—and often are—blended to combine their different characteristics and make a kind of hybrid mustard.

– Seeds can be cracked and used as a seasoning before or after cooking, as they are in many Middle Eastern cuisines. Seeds are also often used as a pickling spice.  Oil extracted from mustard seeds can be used for cooking. High-quality mustard oils can be drizzled over finished food like olive oil to add spice and flavor.

– Mustard powder, either on its own or in a blend of powdered spices, can be used as a dry rub or sprinkled on food as a seasoning agent before grilling, roasting, or sautéing. Ground mustard can also be used to make your own prepared mustard.

– Prepared mustard is used widely as a condiment and goes especially well with charcuterie, classic dishes like choucroute garnie, baked ham, and, of course, hot dogs. Other flavorings—honey or garlic, for example—can be added to prepared mustard, and it is also frequently used as a cooking ingredient.

– While we usually think of mustard as a condiment to slather on hot dogs or just about anything else, it can also be used as a key ingredient in cooking. Prepared mustard is used in sauces, dressings, and marinades, where spicy flavor and creamy viscosity is desired. And mustard seeds, powder, and oil can be used too.

– The green or red leaves of mustard plants are edible, delicious, and widely used in many cuisines, but they come from other species in the Brassicaceae family. Mustard greens, on the are high in vitamins A and C.

– While there is great variation in taste from one kind of mustard to another, there are some basic flavor characteristics that you will find in just about every type and manifestation of mustard. There is always an element of spiciness, from very mild to burning hot. Hot or not, there is also an underlying sweetness from the plant itself, and there is usually a subtle but persistent aroma of yellow mustard flowers.

Recipes:
Salmon, Whole-Grain Mustard and Dill Tartlets
Mustard-Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Groninger Mustard Soup
Wet Mustard Rub  

For me, mustard goes with hot dogs and hamburgers, a splash in potato salad, corned beef and ham sandwiches (or pretty much any sandwich) and in sauces on the grill.  What are your favorites – shoot me an email, and any great recipe too.  skowalski@htheat.com

Q:  What do you call mustard you think you may have had before?
A:  Dijon Vu.  HA!  Happy Friday

 

 

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

 

 


 

 

 

More Please

Whether the farmer grows them or you grow them, potatoes are GREAT!! And when they’re turned into potato salad they’re greater yet!!! Just check-out some of the recipes below, I have.

 

Growing up in a big family (yes, I’m one of 18 children – world’s bravest Dad and Mom superheroes!) I always enjoy going to family cookouts.  Now that my siblings are married and my kids are grown and hosting parties along with their cousins, I can pretty much find a place for a great cookout every day!!  The food is always amazing since each of us have our own personal favorites – whether grilled brats, hot dogs,  hamburgers, chicken, chops, steak or ribs putting their own culinary twist on things!  Add some corn on the cob, watermelon and one of my favorites – potato salad.  As a kid, as I would be filling up my plate (actually plates!), I’d smother my hot dog in yellow mustard and ketchup (none of that green stuff for me), grab a couple buttery ears of sweet corn and gently balance my  plate with a juicy slab of chilled watermelon, making sure I left enough space for the creamy delight.  Often before I could reach out to grab the spoon to dig into that giant bowl, mom would give me the look that said, “Easy does it Stevie.” I had to control myself navigating that bowl of rich, mayo-drenched potato salad, as I made sure to fill the spaces leftover on my plate.  After I got married, I moved into a whole new phase of food love – my wife Jackie’s cooking.  This includes her magnificent potato salad (no Mom, not starting a battle here).  How can I describe it – expertly cut potatoes, symmetric celery, onions, fluffy hard-boiled eggs, creamy mayonnaise, dash of mustard and of course her well-guarded spice combo.  Unfortunately, I can’t be filling multiple plates with potato salad anymore, anyone who knows me understands why!  Here’s some info and tips (thanks streetdirectory.com, NPR, NYTimes and of course Jackie) to help you get rolling.

– Potato salad has been around for many cookouts. It was first introduced to Europe from the New World by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. These early potato salads were made by boiling potatoes in wine or a mixture of vinegar and spices.

– The more American version of potato salad is rooted in German cuisine and came here with European settlers.

– Main ingredients included: potatoes (many different kinds to experiment with), hard boiled eggs, celery, sweet onion and depending on where you grew up – Hellman’s mayo or Miracle Whip? (we’re a Hellman’s House).

– Potato salad is a dish, usually an appetizer, made, obviously, from potatoes. However so, it still varies throughout different countries and regions of the world. Potato salads are more classified as side dishes than salads for they generally just precede or the follow the main course. As far as I am concerned, it could be the main dish!

– Many would claim on having made the best potato salad and would offer the truest and most authentic way of making it. But no matter what is said by many, the best potato salad, or any kind of salad at that matter, is purely of personal preference. Some like their potato salads mingled and just oozing with its dressing, some would prefer theirs to be really soft and tender, and others would want their potato salad to be crispy.

– Potato salads are definitely a popular menu choice of various chefs and cooks for preparing food for a large crowd, and since they can be made in large quantities with utter ease, they can also be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator until it is their time to be served.

– You must never worry about emptying your wallet when going to the grocery store to buy whatever ingredients you need for you potato salad. The ingredients needed for potato salads are inexpensive and very much affordable. Thus, you do not have to worry about making one yourself because it is, in fact, quite easy.

– You would need two pounds, or approximately six large potatoes which are peeled and quartered.  Of course, you have to cook the potatoes in boiling water for approximately fifteen minutes, or when the potatoes are already barely tender. You have to check every minute or so after the first ten minutes have gone by. Once you have confirmed of the cooked status of your potatoes, cut them into smaller pieces. After that, just leave them be so that they will cool down.

– Then, you should mix the other ingredients you have also prepared in a large bowl. Once you are confident that you mixed them finely, add your already cooled potatoes, and then mix them, altogether, well. When all these are done, chill your self-made potato salad, but just do not forget to stir it a couple of times during the chilling time you have allotted for it.

 

Jackie’s Tips for Making Great Potato Salad

– Use waxy rather than floury potatoes, such as Yukon gold, red bliss and fingerlings. They have a creamy texture yet keep their shape well when cooked. Although russet potatoes are exceptionally tender, they don’t hold their shape well when boiled and tend to get mushy.

– Cut potatoes into equal-sized pieces so they will cook evenly.  Use the freshest ingredients you can find to mix in.  Experiment with “crunchy” vegies – tiny carrots, cucumber, peppers, radishes – you pick ‘em!

– Don’t overcook potatoes. Take them off the heat while they’re still slightly firm. Drain and let cool before assembling the salad – hot potatoes will flake and get mushy.

– With or without skins? It’s a personal preference. If you leave the skins on, be sure to scrub them well before cooking. Peeled potatoes work especially well for absorbing sauces such as pesto and dressings.

– Season the potatoes while still warm to absorb the flavors more fully.

– Eat right away, or let flavors meld?  I’m all for making and letting things blend – Steve on the other hand can hardly wait, but for sure loves it more days later!

– Chilled or warm – coin flip here.  Warm potato salads taste best the day they are made; however, cold potato salads often taste better the next day. If you’re making potato salad ahead of time, hold off on adding raw onions or fresh herbs until just before serving. You’ll avoid unpleasant pungency and keep your herbs looking fresh.

 

Super Fun Recipes to Try: 

Jackie’s Homemade German Potato Salad: 
Recipe came from the Italian mother of one of Jackie’s Mom’s childhood friends! (WOW).  Serves 6-8 – unless Steve gets there first!
½ lb bacon
6 large potatoes
1 small onion diced
2 Tbs flour
1 Tbs sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp celery seed
¾ cup cool water
½ cup vinegar
Fry bacon until crisp.  Reserve 1/3 cup bacon fat.  Boil whole potatoes until fork tender.  Drain then peel and slice while a bit hot.  Mix the flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, water and vinegar in a small bowl.  Pour vinegar mixtures into reserved bacon fat and heat until it boils for 1 minute.  Pour sauce over sliced hot potatoes and diced onions.  Serve hot, topped with bacon pieces.

Other recipes to try: (just click the links)
Lemon Grass Ginger Potato Salad
Arugula Pesto Potato Salad
String Bean And Potato Salad With Prosciutto
Patriotic Potato Salad

 

Potato Music to get you Smiling for the WeekendCLICK

 

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a quick email
with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

 

 


 

Smokin Good!!

Smoked meats are fantastic!!! And smokin ‘em is something we can do ourselves. You could build a smokehouse in your backyard for $27,500. Or get the awesome Meadow Creek TS250 Barbeque Smoker Trailer (second photo down) for only $7,195. See that baby HERE.  But most of us will opt for a less expensive option providing the same results. Check out all the smoker options, meat options, helpful tips, a couple of great recipes and some great smokin music in the story below. Haaaaaaaaaappy Smokin!!! 

Now that the mercury is starting to climb, it’s time once again for me to revisit an interest I can’t quite stop thinking about when in the backyard – smoking meats.  Now, for sure I am no expert at all – just a lover of things that come off the grill (and all the other items that fill my plate).  There is no doubt, a good piece of smoked meat is a work of art — it takes time, talent, and know-how to get it right. Even if my fellow “smokers” disagree on the finer points, I’m confident we all agree on one thing: smoked meat is freaking awesome.  To get things started, I searched the internet for some good “basics” on meat and equipment, and then included some of my favorite recipes… (honestly, is there anything better than juicy smoked and barbequed ribs?? (ok, brisket is right up there).  Be sure to check out the links below for additional info – crank up your grills and have fun.  And if you happen to hit the jackpot on a favorite recipe, be sure to send it over for me to try (skowalski@khtheat.com ).  As I am writing this all I can think of is ribs with some of Jackie’s great potato salad! (which will be for a whole other post).  Thanks to Wikipedia, themanual.com, heygrillhey.com, thefoodnetwork.com, youtube.com.

  • Smoking has been used as a way of preserving and flavoring food for many thousands of years.  Our ancestors discovered, probably by serendipity, that foods exposed to smoke lasted longer before spoiling.
  • Smoking processes and methods have been passed down through generations and are still very much in use today around the world.  In some countries, these time-honored techniques form part of the essential yearly ritual of preserving fish and meat, especially in autumn to provide protein over the winter when hunting proves less bountiful.
  • In Medieval Europe, when an animal was slaughtered (often pigs) much of the meat was smoked for preservation.  Many smallholdings had dedicated smoke houses where the meat was smoked and stored.  The less affluent hung their meat high up on the edges oftheir hearth or fireplace at night.  Ashes were placed over the embers to extinguish any flames which produced an ideal Smoky environment in which to preserve their fish or game.
  •  Through years of culinary trial and error, humanity has determined the best smoking techniques and, in the process, elevated the age-old practice to a level of mastery on par with any other cooking endeavor.
  •  There are entire books written on the subject, but contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take years to learn how to smoke. Here’s some information you need to know to dive right in and start smoking meat like pro within a day. First things first, though; you’ll need a smoker.

Types of Smokers

  • Electric smokers use electricity to heat up a rod (or similar heating element), which then causes the wood to smoke. These are the easiest in terms of heat control since all you have to do is turn a dial to adjust the temperature. They also tend to be the most expensive, and they impart the least amount of smoked flavor compared to the other options.
  • Propane smokers work almost exactly like electric smokers, but use a gas-fueled flame instead of a heating element to make the wood pellets smolder. These are pretty simple and might be a better choice for people in areas where electricity is expensive or scarce.
  • Charcoal smokers are a favorite among barbecue masters, who believe that charcoal imbues more flavor compared to propane and electric. Charcoal smokers tend to be cheaper, but you also have to buy charcoal every time you want to smoke. Charcoal also requires you to start and maintain a fire without the help of modern technology.
  • Wood smokers are definitely the way to go for the purest flavor, but they require the most attention and care out of all the options because they’re harder to keep at a constant temperature. For this reason, I would recommend wood smokers after you’ve learned the basics.
  • Pellet smokers are similar to wood smokers, but the wood has been condensed into a convenient pellet form (hence the name). However, they are much easier to use. Instead of splitting firewood, stacking it, and babysitting the flame, you simply load the pellets into an oven-like compartment. The only downside? Like their electric brethren, pellet smokers tend to be expensive.
  • Combos – more serious cook/chefs like to buy combination gas grills and smokers – this can get expensive, but down the road may be the best option for you to truly enjoy the art of outdoor cooking.

Best Meats to Smok


When hunting for the right chunk of meat, try to pick something that will benefit from the slow-cooking process. Don’t shy away from cuts with lots of connective tissue and fat known as “marbling.” A generous marble will make the finished product more succulent and delicious.

  • Beef brisket is a go-to and great “starter” meat, and you can never go wrong with ribs.
  • Pork shoulder is another meat that lends itself to smoking.
  • If you want to smoke a steak, the bigger the cut, the better.
  • You might also turn to your butcher shop for some lesser-known cuts like tri-tip and chuck eye, just to see what happens. Who knows, you may fall in love with a new cut of meat.

Wood For Smoking Meat
This is the flavor engine, along with your rubs and sauces.  Experimenting is big part of the fun, so try different woods and wood combinations – nice excuse to keep cooking too!

  • Alder has a light and naturally sweet flavor, which makes it great for pairing with fish, poultry, and any white meat.
  • Applewood has a fruity and sweet smoke that pairs wonderfully with pork, fish, and poultry.
  • Hickory has a strong and distinct flavor that’s ideal for red meat, especially ribs.
  • Pecan gives your meat somewhat of a fruity flavor and burns cooler than most other barbecue woods. It’s similar to hickory and is best used on large cuts like brisket and pork roast, but can also be used to complement chops, fish, and poultry.
  • Maple has a sweet and delicate taste and tends to darken whatever meat you’re smoking. It goes well with alder, oak, or applewood, and is typically used for poultry and ham.
  • Mesquite is undoubtedly the most pungent wood you can smoke, which means it can easily overpower your meat if used improperly. Avoid using mesquite with larger cuts that require longer cooking times. You can also use it with a mix of other woods.
  • Oak on the other hand, is great for big cuts of meat that take a long time to cook. It has a subtle flavor that will emerge the longer the meat is in the smoker.
  • Cherrywood is best suited for red meat and pork; it also pairs well with alder, hickory, and oak.

The Importance of Brining
Brining your meat keeps it from drying out during the smoking process. It’s all about science — the salt in the brine makes the proteins in the meat more water-absorbent. When sodium and chloride ions get into the meat tissue, their electrical charges mess with the proteins (especially myosin), so they can hold onto moisture more effectively and lose less of it during the cooking process. For optimal moisture retention, soak your meat in a brine for 10-12 hours before smoking.

In its most basic form, brine is nothing more than salty water, however, it benefits from the addition of herbs and spices. To make a good base, add three tablespoons of salt to one quart of water, then throw in whatever else you prefer. Brining is a bit of a double-edged sword: It helps meat retain moisture but also makes it saltier. Some chefs use sugar and molasses to combat the salty flavor.

Keep it Low and Slow:
Low and slow is the key to good meat. Keep your temperature between 212 degrees Fahrenheit and 230 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. These lower temperatures generally won’t cause the meat’s cell walls to burst, which helps make the meat more succulent and allows it to retain nutrients.

Yummy Recipes: 
Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket: CLICK
“Oh Baby” Baby Backed Ribs: CLICK

Songs to Smoke Meat To:
You Tube Favorites: CLICK

 

 

 


 

Get Comfy

I love to eat. That’s an established fact. Set a plate of Comfort Food in front of me and you have a friend for life.  : )   But I’m amazed at how much food I can wear without even eating. Check out these wardrobe finds (left to right, top to bottom) They match the 20 yummy comfort food items listed below. 1)  Mac & Cheese  2)  Lazagna  3)  Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup  4)  Mashed potatoes  5)  Spaghetti & meatballs  6) Chef Boyardee  7)  Entenmann’s  8)  Pancakes 9)  Fried Chicken  10)  Chili and Saltines  11)  McDonald’s  12) Pie  13)  Ice cream  14)  Little powdered donuts  15)  Chinese food  16)  Sugar cookies  17)  Oreos  18)  All other cookies  19)  Chips and dip  20)  Couples PIZZA shirts!!

Like you, I never thought we’d be experiencing anything like the past few weeks.  God bless our President & VP, Health Experts, First Responders and ALL the brave health care workers for their amazing efforts.  With our personal “stay in place” requirements, (so far, we’re still open here at KHT and proudly processing your PIA (pain in the @%$) Jobs! During my time keeping an appropriate distance from my team, I thought of what I usually think of, and that’s FOOD!  Not just your run of the mill meals, (I’m lucky, as Jackie is an amazing cook, way better than me!) but rather that stuff that is not necessarily good for you “comfy food”.  You know, the stuff that just makes you feel good at every bite.  Now, the experts will tell us there’s nothing good in comfy food (too much of this, not enough of that) but my hat goes off to the scientists who have figured out how to trick our brains into eating the whole box/bag.  So, to be fair, along with your sensible diets, and routine exercise plans, and getting lots of sleep,  taking your vitamins AND WASHING YOUR HANDS … here’s a list of really FUN stuff to eat – so we can feel a little better about our situation.  I’m sure I missed a few favorites in my top 20, so be sure to call me or email with your additions to the list.  Thanks to buzzfeed and shape.com for the “sensible” recipes.

1. Macaroni and cheese from a box.  Hard to know why we love this so.  I can’t eat mine without a bit of Russian dressing.  How about you?  And, aside from the traditional curved noodle shape, what’s your second and third favorite – alphabet or cartoon shapes?

2. Frozen lasagna. Don’t even start with me. Stouffer’s gets that job done faster than I can even read a lasagna recipe from start to finish.  And I never can wait long enough for it to cool down.

3. Grilled cheese and Campbell’s tomato soup.  This one is a total “Mom memory” for me.  Steamy hot soup, gooey cheese, and multiple dunks. Although Jackie simply shakes her head,  I also add wonderful bread and butter pickles to the mix. Remember, grilled cheese should be cut with a knife and fork.  Oh, bring it on!

4. Mashed potatoes.  Doesn’t matter what the other sides are, just make a big well with the spoon, drop in butter or yummy gravy, and dig in. GIVE IT TO ME.

5. Spaghetti, red sauce and meatballs.  Two ways – all mixed together to get the yummy taste infused with the noodles or think sauce piled high on top (so I can taste some of the naked pasta) – a little cheese sprinkled on top, and fresh garlic toast (2 piece minimum) – STOP THE BUS!.

6. Chef Boyardee anything.  This one’s not at the top of my list – but for those who love ‘em, go for it.  The tiny meatballs are a hoot. – granted my favorite was always SpaghettiOs!

7. Entenmann’s Raspberry Danish twist.  Entenmann’s “anything” is usually good – hot cup of coffee, a little butter after 15 seconds in the microwave (like I need that too) and a knife – toughest part is when to stop.  When I’m tired of the sweet fruit fillings, I jump to coffee cake and crumb cake.

8. Pancakes. Any kind of pancakes. – Plain, blueberry, cinnamon are my top three (chocolate chip too) – and of course maple syrup – sticky, gooey, hot and sweet – side of eggs and bacon – leave me be!

9. Fried chicken. Plain, KFC, Popeye’s, freezer microwave, with gravy, as a snack, as a meal.  With biscuits and mashed taters.  Grilling is fine, but just nothin’ like fried chicken especially with KFC’s coleslaw!.

10. Chili with saltines.  This is a seasonal favorite, but on the list for sure.  I love ALL chili – hot, sweet, lots of beans, lots of meat, and of course LOT OF HEAT!  Little cheese and onions on top and I’m good to go.  Add a few Fritos and it’s to the moon and back!  Next time you have Chili, try adding a teaspoon of horseradish to your bowl, you will never be the same!

11. McDonald’s. (mostly the fries) We’re all alike – we see the arches, think “oh, not so good for me, then our taste buds kick in – “just some fries” will do, until we get to the window … Big Mac, two hamburgers, large fry, big Coke … “dessert with that” – ok, gone this far.  And how good is the ketchup with the fries – (you want some right now don’t you?)

12. Pie. Basically, all of the pies.  Apple rocks (warmed in microwave, then alongside vanilla ice cream) – but for me ANY pie is just fine.  And, of course I’ll have seconds – duh!

13.  Did I just say Ice Cream.  (this could be a blog post all its own) Vanilla – just the way God intended  with chocolate, bananas, nuts and don’t forget Maraschino cherries with a little juice does it – along with EVERY flavor invented by man – big scoops, small spoon, topping to pick from – heaven!

14. Those mini powdered doughnuts from the gas station.  Probably surprised you with this one. You know, the tiny white ones – can slam a sleeve in no time.  And if they are out, I can always grab one of those cinnamon circles – sticky and oh so good.

15. Chinese food from the mall or strip center.  Just the words “15 minute” over the phone gets me going – yes, of course I’m there 5 minutes early>>> not sure I’ve had a bad meal – hot, spicy, traditional – all good – and those deep-fried egg rolls should be outlawed!

16. Any frosted sugar cookie from the grocery store, seasonal or not seasonal.  You know the ones they put by the checkout in the clear plastic containers.  I think they actually talk when you approach – “please, take me home, I’m held hostage here at the store -save me”.

17. Oreos – Ok, I waited long enough – doesn’t’ matter the color, or thickness – bring ‘em on.  Dunked in milk of course, unless I’d rather twist and teeth scrape the white filling.  Question – is it ok to put the scrapped halves back together, and then milk dunk?

18. All other cookies on the planet.  Nuff said.  And where are those damn girl scouts with the thin mints – seems like an eternity since I placed my order.

19. Chips and dip.  This is almost illegal.  So many choices of chips to choose from – all good, even the weird spicy oddball flavors.  Cleveland’s own Lawson’s Chip Dip still number one – followed by all the other fat laden, over salted, saturated fat, likely toxic concoctions – can you say Frito SCOOPS!

20. PIZZA!  Saved it for last.  Not sure where it fits on the list – again, for me anything goes (except for those little fishy thingie’s – ew!)  Fat, thin, NY, Chicago, frozen, right from the oven or take out, I am very happy sliding down a few pieces – how about you?

I am now going for a long, long, long walk to get prepared!

 

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos. The next week there could be 15 logos. And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing. But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post. On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count. Just in the pictures area. Got it? Good.  :-))))  Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

 


 

 

 

Ding Dong

It’s my favorite time of year! Girl Scout Cookie time. Time to stock-up. It’s for a good cause And they’re just plain GOOD!! You’ll see them at the grocery store, malls, and more. These kids seem to really have fun competing with other troops for prizes and funding for their projects, trips and patches for their vests and sashes. That third image from the bottom features some interesting patches, including the coveted Kowalski Heat Treating patch.  

It’s so seldom these days that the doorbell rings at the house.  When it does, I’m wondering if my latest on line purchase has arrived or if it’s someone canvasing the neighborhood for the latest social injustice signature or a young person selling a different cable provider.  I was quite surprised recently, and delighted, when I opened the door and found two adorable Girl Scouts, in uniform, politely asking me if I’d like to buy some cookies. (Let’s be honest, how can I possibly say no… given my love for food and love for cookies) Inside I had to laugh – “you’re asking “me” if I’d like some delicious food?  I of course said “sure”, followed by completing my name and address … but then the tough part – which ones to buy???  Do si dos. Peanut butter, Chocolate, Shortbread, Thin Mints (yep, I dance when I eat these – my favorites next to the peanut butter ones!)  I would love to tell you that I just said “give me one of each please”, but it doesn’t work that way for me.  After too many picks, I unloaded my wallet and thanked the girls for their efforts, as their bright eyes and smiles brought instant flashback to when my girls were in Brownies. My girls would go out and canvas the neighborhood and after coming home they would compare their results – from there they would then call their various aunts and uncles of which there are many! They soon learned that the uncles invariably bought more!  I sat back in my chair to reflect on such a wonderful tradition.  So, I jumped online and found some history on the Girl Scout cookies, recipes, and a few fun facts.  For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts and their enthusiastic supporters have helped ensure the success of the iconic annual cookie sale—filled with challenge and fun while developing valuable life skills and making their communities a better place every step of the way.  Enjoy!  And thanks to girlscouts.org for the info.

– Girl Scout Cookies had their earliest beginnings in 1910 in the kitchens and ovens of girl members, with moms volunteering as technical advisers, preserving fruits and vegetables in response to food shortages The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities beginning as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouts in the United States, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.

– In July 1922, The American Girl magazine, published by Girl Scouts of the USA, featured an article by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, Illinois. Miss Neil provided a cookie recipe that had been given to the council’s 2,000 Girl Scouts. She estimated the approximate cost of ingredients for six- to seven-dozen cookies to be 26 to 36 cents. The cookies, she suggested, could be sold by troops for 25 or 30 cents per dozen.  Throughout the decade, Girl Scouts in different parts of the country continued to bake their own simple sugar cookies with their mothers and with help from the community. These cookies were packaged in wax paper bags, sealed with a sticker, and sold door to door for 25 to 35 cents per dozen.  Check out the Original Girl Scout Cookie Recipe from 1922 HERE.

– In 1933, Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council baked cookies and sold them in the city’s gas and electric company windows. The price was just 23 cents per box of 44 cookies, or six boxes for $1.24! Girls developed their marketing and business skills and raised funds for their local Girl Scout council. A year later, Greater Philadelphia took cookie sales to the next level, becoming the first council to sell commercially baked cookies in a box.  In 1935, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York raised money through the sale of commercially baked cookies. Buying its own die in the shape of a trefoil, the group used the words “Girl Scout Cookies” on the box. In 1936, the national Girl Scout organization began the process of licensing the first commercial bakers to produce cookies that would be sold nationwide by girls in Girl Scout councils.  By 1937, more than 125 Girl Scout councils reported holding cookie sales.

– In the 40’s, Girl Scout Cookies were sold by local councils around the country until World War II, when sugar, flour, and butter shortages led Girl Scouts to pivot, selling the first Girl Scout calendars in 1944 as an alternative to raise money for activities.  After the war, cookie sales increased, and by 1948, a total of 29 bakers were licensed to bake Girl Scout Cookies.

– In 1951, Girl Scout Cookies came in three varieties: Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints. With the advent of the suburbs, girls at tables in shopping malls began selling Girl Scout Cookies.  Five years later, flavors had evolved. Girl Scouts sold four basic types of cookies: a vanilla-based filled cookie, a chocolate-based filled one, shortbread, and a chocolate mint.

– During the 1960s, when Baby Boomers expanded Girl Scout membership, cookie sales increased significantly. Fourteen licensed bakers were mixing batter for thousands upon thousands of Girl Scout Cookies annually. And those bakers began wrapping Girl Scout Cookie boxes in printed aluminum foil or cellophane to protect the cookies and preserve their freshness.  By 1966, a number of varieties were available. Among the best sellers were Chocolate Mint (now known as Thin Mints), Shortbread, and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies.

– In 1978, the number of bakers was streamlined to four to ensure lower prices and uniform quality, packaging, and distribution. For the first time in history, all cookie boxes—regardless of the baker—featured the same designs and depicted scenes of Girl Scouts in action, including hiking and canoeing. And in 1979, the brand-new, Saul Bass–created Girl Scout logo appeared on cookie boxes, which became even more creative and began promoting the benefits of Girl Scouting.

– In 1982, four bakers still produced a maximum of seven varieties of cookies—three mandatory (Thin Mint®, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®, and Shortbread/Trefoils®) and four optional. Cookie boxes continued to depict scenes of Girl Scouts in action.

– In the early 1990’s two licensed bakers supplied local Girl Scout councils with cookies for girls to sell, and by 1998, this number had grown again to three. Eight cookie varieties were available, including low-fat and sugar-free selections.

– Early in the twenty-first century, every Girl Scout Cookie had a mission. New cookie box designs, introduced in fall of 2000, were bold and bright, capturing the spirit of Girl Scouting. Two licensed bakers produced a maximum of eight varieties, including three that were mandatory (Thin Mints®, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®, and Shortbread/Trefoils®). All cookies were kosher. And, much to the excitement of our youngest Girl Scouts, Daisies started selling cookies!

– With the announcement of National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend and the introduction of the very first gluten-free Girl Scout Cookie, the decade was off to a big start.

– Ever since Girl Scouts first published the recipe for s’mores in 1925, the tasty campfire treat has been an iconic part of camping in the outdoors. In 2017, s’mores became the inspiration for a highly popular new cookie variety.  Who can forget the amazing moment in 2016 when Girl Scouts took the stage at the Academy Awards to sell cookies to Hollywood’s A-list? It was a stellar beginning to the nationwide celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies.

– In 2020, the already iconic cookies reached a new level of awesome with incredible, brand-new packaging that puts goal-crushing Girl Scout Cookie entrepreneurs front and center and also showcases all of the amazing things girls learn and do through the Girl Scout Cookie Program and as Girl Scouts.

– It’s estimated annual cookie sales now reach over $750 million per year.  In 2011, thin mints account for $175 million of the profits. It could be the glorious mix between chocolate and mint, or maybe it’s because they have the most cookies per box. The next popular cookies, in order of profitability, are Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos and Savannahs and Trefoils.

Find your favorite recipe HERE.

And watch a little “Doorbell Comedy” HERE!!!

 

 

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I. Love. My. Logo.
One week there could be three logos. The next week there could be 15 logos. And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing. But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post. On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count. Just in the pictures area. Got it? Good.  :-))))  Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

 

 


 

Run, Run, As Fast As You Can – You Can’t Catch Me, I’m the ____!

 

What to listen to while you’re reading this week’s post:

  1. The Gingerbread Man, A Song for Children
  2. Gingerbread Man by Melanie Martinez – (Official Audio)
  3. The Gingerbread Man Song (From a scratchy 78 rpm record.)

 

Now that Thanksgiving is over, (and you’ve eaten the last piece of leftover pie, turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce et.), and you survived Black Friday and Cyberweek, it’s time to turn our attention to more goodies – Christmas cookies.  Now I do have a few (actually many) favorites, but for me nothing says “the holidays are here” quite like gingerbread and gingerbread cookies – (ok, I’ll admit it – I love almost all the cookies!!).  There’s something special about the aroma filling the house of gingerbread cooking in the oven.  Occasionally Jackie tolerates my decorating expertise, but only for a little while, and then it goes back to the female masters in my life. I am normally able to decorate a single cookie!  Someday I will share my special cookie decorating talent.  I did some digging, and found this great PBS article, (special thanks to ToniAvey.com) along with some tidbits found on the internet.  Enjoy, and be sure to try the recipe below (and then box some up and send them to me at KHT HQ). My team is always willing to try new things!

 

  • No confection symbolizes the holidays quite like gingerbread in its many forms, from edible houses to candy-studded gingerbread men to spiced loaves of cake-like bread.
  •  In Medieval England, the term gingerbread simply meant preserved ginger and wasn’t applied to the desserts we are familiar with until the 15th century. The term is now broadly used to describe any type of sweet treat that combines ginger with honey, treacle or molasses.
  •  Ginger root was first cultivated in ancient China, where it was commonly used as a medical treatment. From there it spread to Europe via the Silk Road. During the Middle Ages it was favored as a spice for its ability to disguise the taste of preserved meats. Henry VIII is said to have used a ginger concoction in hopes of building a resistance to the plague. Even today we use ginger as an effective remedy for nausea and other stomach ailments. In Sanskrit the root was known as srigavera, which translates to “root shaped like a horn” a fitting name for ginger’s unusual appearance.
  •  According to Rhonda Massingham Hart’s Making Gingerbread Houses, the first known recipe for gingerbread came from Greece in 2400 BC. Chinese recipes were developed during the 10th century and by the late Middle Ages, Europeans had their own version of gingerbread. The hard cookies, sometimes gilded with gold leaf and shaped like animals, kings and queens, were a staple at Medieval fairs in England, France, Holland and Germany.
  •  Queen Elizabeth I is credited with the idea of decorating the cookies in this fashion, after she had some made to resemble the dignitaries visiting her court. Over time some of these festivals came to be known as Gingerbread Fairs, and the gingerbread cookies served there were known as ‘fairings’.  The shapes of the gingerbread changed with the season, including flowers in the spring and birds in the fall.
  •  Elaborately decorated gingerbread became synonymous with all things fancy and elegant in England. The gold leaf that was often used to decorate gingerbread cookies led to the popular expression “to take the gilt off of gingerbread.”  The carved, white architectural details found on many colonial American seaside homes is sometimes referred to as gingerbread work.
  •  Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century. The elaborate cookie-walled houses, decorated with foil in addition to gold leaf, became associated with Christmas tradition. Their popularity rose when the Brothers Grimm wrote the story of Hansel and Gretel, in which the main characters stumble upon a house made entirely of treats deep in the forest. It is unclear whether or not gingerbread houses were a result of the popular fairy tale, or vice versa.
  • Most gingerbread men share a roughly humanoid shape, with stubby feet and no fingers. Many gingerbread men have a face, though whether the features are indentations within the face itself or other candies stuck on with icing or chocolate varies from recipe to recipe. Other decorations are common; hair, shirt cuffs, and shoes are sometimes applied, but by far the most popular decoration is shirt buttons, which are traditionally represented by gum drops, icing, or raisins.
  • According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s largest gingerbread man was made by the staff of the IKEA Furuset store in Oslo, Norway, on 9 November 2009. The gingerbread man weighed 1,435.2 pounds. See it HERE.
  •  The newest “largest” winning gingerbread house, spanning nearly 40,000 cubic feet, was erected at Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas. The house required a building permit and was built much like a traditional house. 4,000 gingerbread bricks were used during its construction. To put that in perspective, a recipe for a house this size would include 1,800 pounds of butter and 1,080 ounces of ground ginger. Sounds more like a gingerbread resort! See it HERE.
  •  Gingerbread arrived in the New World with English colonists. The cookies were sometimes used to sway Virginia voters to favor one candidate over another. The first American cookbook, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, has recipes for three types of gingerbread including the soft variety baked in loaves.
  •  This softer version of gingerbread was more common in America. George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, served her recipe for gingerbread to the Marquis de Lafayette when he visited her Fredericksburg, Virginia home. Since then it was known as Gingerbread Lafayette. The confection was passed down through generations of Washington’s.

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
You will need: medium saucepan, large mixing bowl, sifter, wax or parchment paper, rolling pin, cookie cutter(s) of your choice, baking sheet, nonstick cooking spray or silicone baking sheet.

  • ¾ cup unsulphured molasses
  • ¾ cup butter
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 ½ cups flour, plus more for rolling surface
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Royal icing (optional)
  • Sprinkles, cinnamon candies, or any other decorations of your choice (optional)

In a medium saucepan, heat the molasses to the simmering point. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until it melts. Stir in the brown sugar. Allow to cool.  In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon. Add the cooled molasses and the egg to the flour mixture and mix very well until a dough forms. You may need to use your hands to really incorporate the wet mixture into the dry mixture.  Wrap dough in wax or parchment paper and chill for 1-2 hours, or until firm enough to roll.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Transfer chilled dough to a lightly floured rolling surface and roll out the dough to one-quarter inch thickness. Roll out a quarter of the dough at a time.  Cut cookies with your choice of cookie cutter. I chose a traditional gingerbread man, but you can get creative with any kind of cookie cutter you’d like.  Transfer cut dough to a baking sheet that has been lightly greased with nonstick cooking spray or lined with a silicone baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes. The cookies will puff up but won’t spread much.  Cool completely on a rack before decorating with royal icing, decorative sprinkles and candies.

 

 


 

Pass the Ketchup Please

Why do I looooove fast food? Well, it’s fast…and it’s FOOD!

 

We have all been there. That little voice in our heads that says “I’ve been good” then says “yes, it’s ok” and then shouts “go now”. Experts call it a craving.  Some says it’s just being human.  Toss aside the logic, the calories, the balanced meal – and throw in the pleasure, the convenience, and THE TASTE – and you have it – fast food.  Surely an American creation.  Triggered by the age of the automobile and the explosion of nearby retail.  We’ve become a nation quite comfortable with these little indulgences. We know it’s not really that good for us – but we enjoy it just the same.  Favorites are local, and regional and national, often driven by the fries that accompany the burger/sandwich/dog/patty.  Experimentation is part of the industry – spicy cheese, wheat buns, fresh ingredients, tasty sauces, eggs all day, tacos, Chicken, late night drive thrus, “have it your way”, supersize me, toys in the bag, 1/3 and ½ pounders, chili, add a desert, nuggets, shakes, McRib (eew) … the list goes on (just how many times can you recreate a taco), meatless burgers and chicken, cheese fries, and who “has the meats” these days?  I came across this article recently in Food & Wine and just had to share – America’s favorites, by state. (Although their pick for Ohio is suspect. I’d have put Hanini Marathon & Burrito Crazy, 5300 Superior Ave on the list for Ohio.) Here are just some of my favorites – enjoy!  (be sure to read them all – wow!)  I’m heading out to get some fries…

Alaska– The outdoor deck with its line of tables overlooking Campbell Creek is the perfect perch for a summer date with one of the best fast food menus in Anchorage, not to mention the entire state, offered since the 1960’s, back before Alaskans had access to many of the national chains they take for granted today. Keep it local with salmon and halibut burgers, served on paper plates, with a giant pile of thick-cut fries on the side. Come cooler weather, which will arrive soon enough, move the action inside, next to the fireplace, where it’s always milkshake weather. (Arctic Roadrunner)
Hawaii– Name the island favorite, and chances are you’ll find it on the menu at this pan-Hawaiian chain of restaurants that’s been a staple of local life for generations. Spam musubi snacks, loco moco for breakfast, plate lunches, all kinds of delicious things from the in-house Napoleon Bakery—saying that Zippy’s will spoil you is a stretch, but it’ll get you fed, happily so, day or night, and you’ll wish you could take one home with you. (Just put it in your nearest Denny’s. The townspeople will greet you as a liberator.) (Zippys)
Kansas– Wichita’s accomplishments are vast and varied, but one of the most interesting things the city has done over the years is give rise to—and then sustain—three very different, all quite successful burger chains. There’s Nu-Way, a historic chainlet where you feel as if you’ve slipped back in time, at least by forty, fifty years, and then there’s Freddy’s, now well-known across the country for smashburgers and frozen custard. Most people like Freddy’s, and it’s easy to understand why others are nostalgic for Nu-Way. But Spangles? Spangles is weird, man, in a good way, honestly, but when you roll up to one of its thirty-ish locations, some of them looking like gargantuan juke boxes gone missing from a garish, vaguely seamy ’50s diner, it can take a few minutes to sort out just exactly what is going on. There are pancakes for breakfast, go cups overfilled with eggs and sausage and hash browns and sausage gravy, there are people eating 1/3 pound burgers at eight o’clock in the morning. Don’t fight Spangles. Spangles is amazing. You’ll be back. (Spangles)
Louisiana – Sometimes, keeping things ridiculously simple is the key—for a good few years now, this Baton Rouge-based favorite has resisted to the urge to grow their menu, offering chicken tenders, crinkle-cut fries, crispy cold coleslaw with little bits of purple cabbage for color, hunks of garlic-buttered Texas toast and sides of freshly-made remoulade, #Louisiana, and little else. That’s easy—the food is really good, almost identical to what it was in the very beginning. Match that with a service culture that only appears to have improved with time, and you’ve got a winning formula. (Raising Cane’s)
Missouri– We’ll get to those classic roast beef sandwiches, some of the best you’ll find at a fast food joint, and to the little dispensers sitting on the counter labeled “Au Jus,” from which you may allow yourself just as much as you like, turning that sandwich into a French dip, for all you care. (Don’t forget the horseradish.) For starters, though, can we talk about the ice cream? Being St. Louis, where they know from these things, it’s more like frozen custard, thick and creamy, and it’s being sold for pennies. Seriously, a regular sized cone, which back in the old days would have been considered enough ice cream in one sitting, costs just fifty cents.(Lion’s Choice)
Nebraska– Doesn’t all the world need a casual counter joint where you can rock up for a cheap and delicious burger and fries, accompanied by a 99 cent margarita (all day, every day) or an also very affordable beer of your choice, after a sorely trying 9 to 5? With locations around the area vibing part vintage drive-in, part roadhouse, zero pretense, all fun, this curious, dated delight is perhaps most famous for its dedication to keeping one of Nebraska’s most essential culinary traditions alive—that is, of course, the deep-fried grilled cheese sandwich. Known around these parts as a cheese frenchee, perhaps in reference to its passing resemblance to the croque monsieur, the thing is batter coated and deep fried, and the results are exactly what you might expect them to be—perfection. (Don & Millie’s)
Pennsylvania– Try the best, which is not only a gas station and a convenience store, it’s also the most popular destination for a quick and affordable bite for generations of hard working people in the southeastern part of the state, and increasingly, beyond. The love for Wawa is centered around three, very key aspects of the experience—there are those hoagies, from a tasty Italian to a not-half-bad cheese steak, all for a few bucks. Then there’s the coffee—no convenience store comes close; their limited edition Wawa Reserve program brings in some surprising single-origin coffees from around the world.  And have we talked about the breakfast sandwiches, the soft pretzels, the iced teas, the ice cream, and the nearly limitless TastyKake reserves? We have now. (Wawa)
Wyoming– Growing from one small stand in Cheyenne in the late 1960’s to become a Mountain Time powerhouse in almost no time at all, there are still communities across Wyoming, Montana and The Dakotas where nobody has ever been to a Taco Bell, and why would they. The home of the Potato Olé (a spiced hash brown round, the foundation on which the Taco John’s menu is built) and the Crispy Taco (shells are fried in-house, every day) is imbued with a real sense of place—the old “West-Mex” slogan, which doesn’t seem to be quite so widely used today, remains seriously apt. (Taco John’s)

 

BONUS VIDEO: 
How I LOST weight by ONLY eating FAST FOOD (EASY!)