There are regions of the United States, and even some states, that have their own dialects in language, and their own tastes in food. Oh sure, you can take a summer vacation and experience all the unique sights in a state or city, but sometimes you don’t really experience a part of the country until you taste some of the food. (more…)
Going out with your friends to eat delicious foods can be a great way to celebrate and enjoy life. But there does come a day when one must be honest with themselves and ask the tough question: “Am I eating to live or living to eat?”
Momenta is a rehabilitation treatment facility that recently opened in Glenwood Springs, CO, offering mental health and substance abuse service to inpatients and outpatients.
Momenta was founded by Mandy Owensby, who has been in recovery nearly six years. As a mother, Owensby wanted to create a program that specifically helped both women and mothers after her own difficulties finding programs that would accept her with her children. (more…)
If opening a restaurant is a dream of yours, then you know that keeping a restaurant thriving isn’t easy. 60% of new restaurants close or change ownership in their first year. Unless your goal is to sell, then neither of those options sounds good to you. If you want to keep your restaurant open and thriving, there are a few tips you should follow on your journey towards success. (more…)
Here in the U.S., we take our apples pretty seriously. We eat them for snacks, pack them in lunches, cook them in dozens of different ways and bake them into everyone’s favorite dessert; the apple pie. Growing up, we were always hearing things described as being “as American as apple pie”. This is an interesting analogy considering the fact that of the world’s 7,500 varieties of apples, only one is native to this country, and it is definitely not one that immediately springs to mind when baking a pie. Of the 2,500 currently grown in the U.S., do you know which apple variety is the only one that has an American origin? Keep reading and we will let you know if your guess is correct.
Even though the apples that we know and love were actually brought here by the Pilgrims as seed, we have had a love affair with them ever since. Thanks to frontiersman John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, apple trees sprung up all over the country. Nowhere, however, have they flourished in more variety and abundance than the apples of New York State.
The Empire State may come in second to Washington as the top apple-producing state, but New York’s 10 million apple trees produce more varieties than any other state. Apple trees will grow in all temperate climate zones, but they do the best in regions where there is a cold winter and moderate summer. This is one of the reasons that New York apples are not only popular locally but are widely exported.
10 Most Popular New York State Apple Varieties
- McIntosh – the Mac, considered an eating and cooking apple, has tender pinkish-white flesh and is sweet and tarty
- Empire – known for their crispness and combination of sweet and tart taste
- Red Delicious – long a favorite, its distinctive yellow flesh is crisp, sweet and juicy
- Cortland – a somewhat larger relative of the McIntosh, the Cortland is good for eating and very popular in salads and for turning into applesauce
- Golden Delicious – crisp, with white flesh and said to have a honey-like taste, the Golden Delicious is not related to the Red Delicious but was used in the development of other well-known varieties, such as the Gala, Crispin, Ambrosia, Pink Lady, and Jonagold
- Rome – bright red and crunchy, a go-to choice for cooking due to it not becoming mushy
- Idared – sweet, tart and juicy, this cross between the Jonathan and Wagener varieties is good to eat but best for cooking and baking
- Crispin – developed in Japan and originally named Mutsu, the Crispin is an all-around favorite for eating and cooking
- Paula Red – the apple of choice for many due to its signature tartness
- Gala – recognizable by its pinkish-orange stripes, this mildly-sweet cross of Cox’s Orange Pippin and the Golden Delicious is a top pick for eating
This list represents the top sellers but there are many other popular types. With so many varieties available, grocery stores can only stock those most in demand, so many favorites are available only from farmers’ markets, road side stands and growers.
Back to our question about the one variety of apple native to America. If you said “crab apple”, you are correct. Although some people do like to eat them, and they are used in jellies, preserves and cider, this small apple with the unfortunate name is not likely to ever show up on a list of favorites.
Indiana became known as the Hoosier state over 150 years ago, although the origin of the term is still debated. One popular version comes from it being risky to approach someone’s cabin on the early frontier. There was often a “shoot first, find out who you shot, second” policy. So, the traveler would call out, and the resident of the cabin would respond with “Who’s here?”, which in those days may have sounded like “Who’sh ‘ere?”. From there, it’s not hard to see how it became “Hoosier”.
What are Hoosiers known for? Fierce college basketball programs immediately leap to mind, as well as the exciting Indy 500, which just happens to be the world’s largest and most popular racing event. Competition may be important, but, so is balancing it with the really significant things in life, like home and family. Nothing defines home life in this part of the Midwest better than the simple, classic foods of Indiana.
Every state and region has their own brand of chili. Texans believe it blasphemous to add beans of any kind and use only chunks of beef, never the ground version, while folks in Cincinnati actually add cocoa powder to their chili. For those of us growing up eating “regular” chili, the kind with ground beef and kidney beans, the Texas and Ohio versions sound different but reasonable. But, what about getting your chili to the point where the ingredients are all well-mixed and it just needs to simmer a bit and then someone starts breaking spaghetti into small pieces and adding it to the pot? Seriously? Yes, in Indiana, they are as serious about adding some sort of pasta to their version of chili as those Texans are about keeping the beans out!
It is believed that the Latin word for persimmon meant “food of the gods”, although it is debated whether this was because of the purported health benefits or the delicious sweetness of the non-astringent variety. Those unfortunate enough to choose the astringent variety of persimmon for their first taste likely found it bitter to the point of swearing off persimmons forever. If you live in Indiana, though, when you think persimmon, you think pudding. Similar to traditional English puddings, the Indiana version is judged in a special contest at the annual Persimmon Festival every fall.
Okay, so those annoying persimmons that litter the lawn can be turned into pudding, and pasta really is pretty tasty in chili, but who would ever think of deep-frying sauerkraut balls? You guessed it. Hoosiers. Most local and state fairs have people lined up for fried ice cream and Oreos, but, if you aren’t careful which line you get into at the Indiana State Fair, the deep-fried treats that will end up clogging your arteries will be filled with sauerkraut. The really bad news is that you may just love them!
Maybe spaghetti in your chili or deep-fried sauerkraut isn’t quite your thing. You can be forgiven for that. But, if you leave this part of the country without trying their signature, melt-in-your-mouth tenderloin sandwich, you will never forgive yourself. Similar to Wiener Schnitzel, this pork cutlet is hand battered and fried. If you have never had one before, you will likely be more than a little surprised to see that the bun occupies a spot in the center of the plate and the tenderloin itself often overlaps the entire plate. Not to worry, though, you will happily eat every morsel.
When it comes to dessert, besides pudding, Indiana residents are extremely fond of pie. Not just any pie, though. Their Hoosier pie is simple and decadent all at the same time. As were so many things, this pie was created in the 1800s as an effort to not let ingredients on hand go to waste. Butter, flour, and sugar were combined with vanilla to create a simple, but delicious, custard pie that has been passed from generation to generation.
It’s every sports lovers dream: You’ve got your living room all set up. You’ve invited your friends over. You’ve even figured out how to live stream Joshua vs. Parker online. Your night is all set.
There’s just one thing left: what are you going to eat when your buddies arrive? If you’ve ever panicked at the thought of preparing food for a get-together, check out these five essential finger foods for any sports party.
Or crisps, if you’re watching futbol. Chips are the universal finger food — they can be enjoyed right out of the pack, are one of the least expensive snack options, and come in a variety of flavors.
The best part? You can enjoy chips without getting your fingers dirty with sauces and dips. That said, if you do want to add an extra layer of flavor to your chips, the option is there too.
A bit more expensive than chips, pizza is another staple for any sports party. Whether it’s classic pepperoni or Hawaiian, Pizzas are the best way to fill your bellies without needing to deal with utensils and plates. Just pick up a slice and you’re all set!
And if you’re feeling adventurous, check out some of the most ridiculous pizzas that have graced living rooms in the past. But be warned: You might not feel as hungry after seeing some of them!
Along with chips and pizza, chicken wings complete a hat trick of essential sports party foods. Compared to drumsticks, wings have less bone, and have a better skin-meat ratio that gives them that succulent taste.
Unlike fries and pizza, you’ll be left with bones after enjoying wings. They are also best enjoyed with a sauce or dip. So while snacking on wings is a messier affair than chomping down on fries and pizza, few things can match the delight of perfectly fried white meat topped off with spicy buffalo sauce.
Sliders may not be the most popular finger foods around, yet they are surely the definition of bite-sized awesomeness. Often requiring more time to prepare than most other snacks, they’re very versatile and allow you to really use your creativity to come up with new flavors.
Pork belly with cucumber and carrot? Beef patties with caramelized onions? Pan-fried lobster and crab patties? The only limits to these flavor-packed bites are really the ones you impose on yourself!
Waffles require specialized equipment and skill to be made well, but the results can be spectacular when you get them right. If you’re bored of the same old fries and chips at your next sports party, consider trying waffles. They go down well with a variety of condiments, so you’re certain to have a grand time whether you choose to go with syrup, chocolate, blueberry sauce, or some good old PB&J!
No matter how you draw a map of our “heartland”, Illinois lands pretty much in the center. Rich in history, everyone knows it as the “Land of Lincoln”, which is emblazoned on the state license plate, even though Honest Abe was 21 years old before ever setting foot in the state. The city of Chicago played a major role in the growth of the country, but nearly 80% of the state consists of farmland. The ever-popular and nutritionally-scary Twinkie may have been invented in the Chicago suburb of Schiller Park, but most people don’t get all that excited about the food you find in Illinois. That is, unless you actually live there and know where to eat.
There are places that people would visit just for the food. Even if Maine wasn’t spectacularly beautiful, it would be worth going for the lobster, especially those sweet, soft-shelled ones that are so plentiful in the summer. Louisiana has Mardi Gras, the French Quarter and perhaps the best and most unique music in the country, but lots of folks go for the gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, po’boys and those world-famous beignets at Café du Monde! Maryland has its Old Bay-seasoned crab cakes, and other states are known for their particular specialties. Illinois, though, is not likely to cause a true foodie’s heart to skip a beat, which is not only unfortunate but unenlightened.
Natives of the Prairie State happily visit and enjoy the different types of foods all over the country and world, but they most enjoy the food they find close to home. Ask them about pizza and you will hear a lively debate about the merits of the famous deep dish pizza, invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago, in 1943, and the Chicago-style thin, crispy-crusted pizza, which is cut into squares rather than the more familiar triangular wedges. The Windy City is also home to some of the more creative ways to serve a hot dog, like the Chicago Dog, also known as a Red Hot. To make one of these, it is said that you have to “drag it through the garden” by starting with a poppy seed bun and a frankfurter (all beef, of course) and topping it with yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, tomato, peppers, chopped white onion, a dill pickle spear and celery salt.
There’s a lot more to Illinois than Chicago, but we simply cannot move out of Cook County without mentioning the Italian Beef sandwich. It may not be as well-known outside the state, but natives are fanatical about these soggy delights. It is believed that the Italian Beef sandwich got its origin as an effort to stretch a limited supply of meat. This was done by shaving it wafer thin and dipping the meat and bun in the juices left in the pan to give it more bulk and substance. What was actually created was an end product that was delicious in a whole new way! Today’s version is topped with peppers or Chicago-style giardiniera, a relish made of pickled vegetables in a vinegar base.
Springfield, the state capital, may not have been the birthplace of Lincoln, but it is where the horseshoe originated. The base of the horseshoe is a thick slice of toasted bread, like Texas toast, and on top of that is a hamburger, French fries and what is referred to as a “secret” cheese sauce, usually consisting of some combination of eggs, butter, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, beer, mustard, salt and pepper. While tasty, there is nothing healthy about this sandwich, although, it can be ordered as a “pony” which means you only get a half portion.
Beef is big in Illinois. Some of the best hamburgers on the planet are found in little roadside diners and cafes. Dressed with simple slices of lettuce, onion, and tomato and maybe a slice of cheese, these standards are entirely too good just the way they are to need all of the extras you see in expensive restaurants or at the fast food chains. Pork is also popular. If you’re looking for award-winning baby back ribs, you have come to the right place.
All of that farmland may not be for corn these days, but there is an abundant supply, and it is often on the menu, whether we are talking restaurant or home. Boiled and loaded with sweet butter and salt or slow roasted on the grill, corn is an Illinois favorite.
Illinois may not top the list when it comes to states known for food. That said, whether you are hooked on popcorn that is a mix of caramel corn and cheese-flavored, love spending Friday nights searching out the best fish-fries at small town churches and VFWs or can’t start your day without a plate of biscuits and gravy, Illinoisans really do know what they like to eat.
Accountability is a key ingredient in dieting. If we aren’t careful, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are eating right and well. However, when we look closely, that handful of trail mix or that quick stop at McDonalds adds up. One way to hold ourselves accountable to our diets is documentation. Historically, this has been done through a diary.
This idea still holds up today, but the value and power of that diary have been magnified by the internet. If you log your diet and exercise through a blog, you not only keep track of your food, progress, cheats, successes and failures, you share it with the world.
By opening up yourself to worldwide observation you have created a powerful motivation to stay on track. And nowadays, finding a great domain name and creating a quality blog site is easy and inexpensive. Here are a few observations as to why starting a food blog is good for your health.
When we chronicle our activities, we keep them more in the forefront of our minds. That little slip with a handful of M&Ms doesn’t go unnoticed if we are documenting all of our calories.
If we don’t log everything we eat, it can easily be forgotten and then we wonder why we struggle with results. But when we document everything and then share it with the world, suddenly that handful of candy feels like a major decision and not merely an innocent moment of convenience.
When we document our diets and all that goes along with that, we have written evidence of our progress. Therefore, when we are months down the road and our inner critic wants us to quit because it’s not even working, we have the written proof that our body is changing and our fitness is improving.
This can be powerful when our mind loses its willpower. Showing ourselves proof, from a credible source (ourselves) that we are making progress can keep us going. And subjecting ourselves to our audience and their feedback keeps us on track as well. Nobody likes our critics adding fuel to the fire of our doubts.
We often enter into a plan to eat better with some simple criteria: eat less and eat better. That “better” part can be vague and typically misunderstood, especially at the beginning. As we write about our food consumption and expose ourselves to our readers it becomes more and more clear that we want to eliminate preservatives, additives, certain types of foods.
Conversely we want to eat more of certain foods. This understand develops over time and through scrutiny. As we blog about our diets, we learn and adjust and refine. Every step helps us along the way and it all underpins the process and the value of continuing.
As our the depth our nutritional understanding develops, it becomes more obvious that fresh foods are more nutritious. Even if we understand this passively going in, by blogging about our food choices, we subject ourselves to our own standards and those standards tend to rise.
Eventually it becomes critical that we eat fresh foods instead of processed or preserved foods. Fewer ingredients usually indicate that the food is, well, food. It seems silly to say, but eating real food and fresh food is healthier. And what we often accept as food becomes exposed the longer and closer we monitor our diets.
One villain of our diets comes from our hectic and stressful lifestyles. When we are out and about, managing a million things and putting out fires, eating well is challenging. But when we blog about our diet, we commit ourselves to preparing better for this reality.
Food bloggers tend to prepare healthy snacks and foods that can be easily transported. Cutting up vegetables and keeping them nearby in baggies replaces those Snickers bars and chips. Keeping water on hand is a powerful solution to drinking sodas or other less healthy drinks. Thirst is often confused with hunger as well and often triggers the desire to eat. Drinking plenty of water, by having with you can be a valuable way to suppress appetites as well as keep us hydrated.
One tendency many of us have is turning one mistake into two. If we slip up on our diets, we often pile on and add guilt and judgment to the miscue. This isn’t helpful. If you make a mistake, own it and move on.
Blogging about it can be liberating, because you aren’t hiding a secret that eats away at you and weakens your resolve. If you slip, own it, document it, and move on. You’re human and so is everyone else. Mistakes and setbacks are expected. Just don’t turn a minor slip up into a major tumble.
Starting a food blog is a great way to experience more and better foods, keep yourself on track and accountable, while you enjoy learning more and more about what we consume.
What springs to mind when you think about California? Hollywood and movie stars? The Golden Gate Bridge? Yosemite? Big Sur? The breathtaking coastline? Hearst Castle? The redwoods of Muir Woods? The list can go on and on. One thing that might not immediately spring to mind, but should, are the many things natives and visitors, alike, love to eat and drink that are just so “California”.
California wine, naturally, tops the list. A visit to the Golden State just wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Napa Valley and its wonderful vineyards and wineries. The French have been making wine since the 6th century BC. Who would have believed that in only a couple hundred years the vineyards of California would be producing wine that is in high demand all over the world?
What about foods that are associated with California? There may be more than you think!
Most of us believe that if we were fortunate enough to own a fancy restaurant, we could always have exactly what we wanted to eat, and there would always be someone to fix it for us. Reality usually falls somewhere in between fact and belief, and that appears to be what happened one night in 1937 when Bob Cobb, owner of the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood decided he was hungry. Nothing on the menu appealed to him, and everyone was really busy so he started grabbing things at random from the huge refrigerator. He pulled out a couple kinds of lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, watercress, a cooked chicken breast, cheese, chives and a hard-boiled egg. You know where this is going, right? Once he chopped it all up, swiped a bit of crispy bacon from a busy cook and added some French dressing, he ended up with the first ever Cobb Salad.
Cobb Salads are now on menus everywhere, and there are stories just like that from all over. Recipes that catch on and become popular have been created in every state in the union, but California seems to have more than its share of new and unique ways of presenting food. There’s just something about California that encourages the different and the innovative.
Foods Associated with California
Cioppino – a northern California fish stew with a mix of many different kinds of seafood including squid, Dungeness crab, mussels, clams and white fish. It’s served in a tomato and wine sauce base.
Fish Tacos – they may be on menus other places but they are everywhere in California where fresh, seasonal catches like red snapper, jumbo scallops and soft-shell crab are always available.
Garlic Ice Cream – Gilroy, inland from famed Monterey Bay, is the garlic capital of the world and may be one of the only places you can find garlic ice cream.
Korean BBQ – the largest population of Koreans in America live in California, which is why, unless you want to actually go to Korea, this is where you will find the most authentic and delicious Korean barbecue.
Tri-Tip – tender muscle cut from the underside of sirloin of a steer, but once you try it grilled medium-rare on a French roll, you are not likely to forget it.
Clam Chowder – true, this may have been invented in New England, and it’s hard to beat recipes from Boston and Portland, but it was Californians who had the sheer genius to carve out a hollow in sourdough bread and serve the chowder inside it.
French Dip – French in name only. This classic was first created in Los Angeles.
Cruffin – the recent San Francisco addition to the pastry world, a combination of croissant and muffin filled with a creamy center.
Grilled Corn – Mexican-style corn, boiled or grilled, heaped with butter, cheese, mayo, lemon or lime, and salt.
Avocados – everywhere in everything.
Ghirardelli Chocolate – found in many other states but in San Francisco it is an entire block all about chocolate.