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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: September 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

ST. NICHOLAS AND THE ORIGINS OF SANTA CLAUS!!






    How did the kindly Christian saint, good Bishop Nicholas, become a roly-poly red-suited American symbol for merry holiday festivity and commercial activity?   History tells the tale.
    The first Europeans to arrive in the New World brought St. Nicholas. Vikings dedicated their cathedral to him in Greenland. On his first voyage, Columbus named a Haitian port for St. Nicholas on December 6, 1492. In Florida, Spaniards named an early settlement St. Nicholas Ferry, now known as Jacksonville. However, St. Nicholas had a difficult time during the 16th century Protestant Reformation which took a dim view of saints. Even though both reformers and counter-reformers tried to stamp out St. Nicholas-related customs, they had very little long-term success except in England where the religious folk traditions were permanently altered. (It is ironic that fervent Puritan Christians began what turned into a trend to a more secular Christmas observance.) Because the common people so loved St. Nicholas, he survived on the European continent as people continued to place nuts, apples, and sweets in shoes left beside beds, on windowsills, or before the hearth.









    The first Colonists, primarily Puritans and other Protestant reformers, did not bring Nicholas traditions to the New World. What about the Dutch? Although it is almost universally believed that the Dutch brought St. Nicholas to New Amsterdam, scholars find scant evidence of such traditions in Dutch New Netherland. Colonial Germans in Pennsylvania kept the feast of St. Nicholas, and several later accounts have St. Nicholas visiting New York Dutch on New Years' Eve (New Year gift-giving had become the English custom in 1558, supplanting Nicholas, and this English custom was still found in New York until 1847).
    In 1773 New York non-Dutch patriots formed the Sons of St. Nicholas, primarily as a non-British symbol to counter the English St. George societies, rather than to honor St. Nicholas. This society was similar to the Sons of St. Tammany in Philadelphia. Not exactly St. Nicholas, the children's gift-giver.
    After the American Revolution, New Yorkers remembered with pride their colony's nearly-forgotten Dutch roots. John Pintard, the influential patriot and antiquarian who founded the New York Historical Society in 1804, promoted St. Nicholas as patron saint of both society and city. In January 1809, Washington Irving joined the society and on St. Nicholas Day that same year, he published the satirical fiction,











    Knickerbocker's History of New York, with numerous references to a jolly St. Nicholas character. This was not the saintly bishop, rather an elfin Dutch burgher with a clay pipe. These delightful flights of imagination are the source of the New Amsterdam St. Nicholas legends: that the first Dutch emigrant ship had a figurehead of St. Nicholas: that St. Nicholas Day was observed in the colony; that the first church was dedicated to him; and that St. Nicholas comes down chimneys to bring gifts. Irving's work was regarded as the "first notable work of imagination in the New World."
    The New York Historical Society held its first St. Nicholas anniversary dinner on December 6, 1810. John Pintard commissioned artist Alexander Anderson to create the first American image of Nicholas for the occasion. Nicholas was shown in a gift-giving role with children's treats in stockings hanging at a fireplace. The accompanying poem ends, "Saint Nicholas, my dear good friend! To serve you ever was my end, If you will, now, me something give, I'll serve you ever while I live."










    The 19th century was a time of cultural transition. New York writers, and others, wanted to domesticate the Christmas holiday. Christmas of old was not images of families gathered cozily around hearth and tree exchanging pretty gifts and singing carols while smiling benevolently at children. Rather, it was characterized by raucous, drunken mobs roaming streets, damaging property, threatening and frightening the upper classes. The holiday season, coming after harvest when work was eased and more leisure possible, was a time when workers and servants took the upper hand, demanding largess and more. At the same time a new understanding of family life and the place of children was also emerging. Childhood was coming to be seen as a stage of life in which greater protection, sheltering, training and education were needed. And so the season came to be tamed, turning toward shops and home. St. Nicholas, too, took on new attributes to fit the changing times.
    1821 brought some new elements with publication of the first lithographed book in America, the Children's Friend. This "Sante Claus" arrived from the North in a sleigh with a flying reindeer. The annonymous poem and illustrations proved pivital in shifting imagery away from a saintly bishop. Sante Claus fit a didactic mode, rewarding good cbehavior and punishing bad, leaving a "long, black birchen rod . . . directs a Parent's hand to use when virtue's path his sons refuse." Gifts were safe toys, "pretty doll . . . peg-top, or a ball; no crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets to blow their eyes up, or their pockets. No drums to stun their Mother's ear, nor swords to make their sisters fear; but pretty books to store their mind with knowledge of each various kind." The sleigh itself even sported a bookshelf for the "pretty books." The book also notably marked S. Claus' first apperance on Christmas Eve, rather than December 6th.










    The jolly elf image received another big boost in 1823, from a poem destined to become immensely popular, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," now better known as "The Night Before Christmas."

    He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf. . . .

    Washington Irving's St. Nicholas strongly influenced the poem's portrayal of a round, pipe-smoking, elf-like St. Nicholas. The poem generally has been attributed to Clement Clark Moore, a professor of biblical languages at New York's Episcopal General Theological Seminary. However, a case has been made by Don Foster in Author










   Unknown, that Henry Livingston actually penned it in 1807 or 1808. Livingston was a farmer/patriot who wrote humorous verse for children. In any case, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" became a defining American holiday classic. No matter who wrote it, the poem has had enormous influence on the Americanization of St. Nicholas.
Other artists and writers continued the change to an elf-like St. Nicholas, "Sancte Claus," or "Santa Claus," unlike the stately European bishop. In 1863, during the Civil War, political cartoonist Thomas Nast began a series of annual black-and-white drawings in Harper's Weekly, based on the descriptions found in the poem and Washington Irving's work. These drawings established a rotund Santa with flowing beard, fur garments, and an omnipresent clay pipe. Nast's Santa supported the Union and President Lincoln believed this contributed to the Union troops' success by demoralizing Confederate soldiers. As Nast drew Santas until 1886, his work had considerable influence in forming the American Santa Claus. Along with appearance changes, the saint's name shifted to Santa Claus—a natural phonetic alteration from the German Sankt Niklaus.










    Santa was then portrayed by dozens of artists in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and colors. However by the end of the 1920s, a standard American Santa—life-sized in a red, fur-trimmed suit—had emerged from the work of N. C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell and other popular illustrators. In 1931 Haddon Sundblom began thirty-five years of Coca-Cola Santa advertisements that popularized and firmly established this Santa as an icon of contemporary commercial culture.
    This Santa was life-sized, jolly, and wore the now familiar red suit. He appeared in magazines, on billboards, and shop counters, encouraging Americans to see Coke as the solution to "a thirst for all seasons." By the 1950s Santa was turning up everywhere as a benign source of beneficence, endorsing an amazing range of consumer products. This commercial success led to the North American Santa Claus being exported around the world where he threatens to overcome the European St. Nicholas, who has retained his identity as a Christian bishop and saint.










   It's been a long journey from the Fourth Century Bishop of Myra, St. Nicholas, who showed his devotion to God in extraordinary kindness and generosity to those in need, to America's jolly Santa Claus, whose largesse often supplies luxuries to the affluent. However, if you peel back the accretions, he is still Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, whose caring surprises continue to model true giving and faithfulness.
    There is growing interest in reclaiming the original saint in the United States to help restore a spiritual dimension to this festive time. For indeed, St. Nicholas, lover of the poor and patron saint of children, is a model of how Christians are meant to live. A bishop, Nicholas put Jesus Christ at the center of his life, his ministry, his entire existence. Families, churches, and schools are embracing true St Nicholas traditions as one way to claim the true center of Christmas—the birth of Jesus. Such a focus helps restore balance to increasingly materialistic and stress-filled Advent and Christmas seasons.

CANY CORN MACAROONS WITH PUMPKIN SPICE FILLING

   This recipe comes from www.barbarabakes.com .   I truely unique take on candy corn.  These days, macaroons are all the rage too, give them a try.



Candy Corn Macaron




I got a little carried away at the store today. I had this idea to make candy corn macarons for this month’s MacTweets and I went to the store to buy candy corn to dress up the pictures. When I got there, they had ordinary candy corn of course, but this year Bach’s also had Caramel Candy Corn, and Chocolate Caramel Candy Corn, and Caramel Apple Candy Corn. All of which I decided I should take home and try.
But I didn’t stop there – no of course not. There were also candy cane flavored Dots and candy corn Kisses and I thought I should sampled those as well. (Let’s not talk about the two cute packages of Halloween Lindor Truffles that I bought and have hidden in my closet.)







The reason for my apparent current obsession with candy corn is that I hate them. I think they have a horrible, waxy flavor. My husband and my kids seem to like them, but I think they’re pretty nasty.
But I do sort of think of them fondly. They remind me of this time of year – cooler weather and yummy treats. Candy corn always seemed to be hanging around when you were bobbing for apples or eating pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They look so cheery and fun and I really do want to like them.
So when I saw the orange pumpkin spice Kisses I thought they would make a perfect filing for a candy corn mac. A candy corn that would be full of fabulous fall flavor, not waxy and bland with an odd smell. Of course, I wanted to make the top white and the bottom yellow. I tried shaping one in the shape of a candy corn, but it looked more like an egg, so I stuck with round candy corn macs instead.







I made the Ottolenghi recipe that works well for me. I used half the batter for white and then added yellow to the other half. If I was making two colors again, I would make half a batch of each because the yellow got over mixed and spread much more than the white ones, making it hard to match them up.
I made the filling by melting about 10 Pumpkin Spice Kisses in the microwave at 50% power for about 1 minutes and adding enough powdered sugar to make a thick filling. This really is a perfect mac flavor for fall and so much better than candy corn candies.

Macarons 

Ingredients

110gm powdered sugar
60gm finely ground almond meal/flour
60gm egg whites (of 2 eggs)
40gm granulated sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 310 degrees F
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready. (Setting the pastry bag in a glass while you fill the bag was a great tip I learned during this process.) (Also, I like to double stack the baking sheets.)
Combine the powdered sugar with the almond powder. (Pulse in a blender or food processor if you don’t have finely ground almond meal. A mini food processor works best for this if you have one.)
With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes. (To test to see if egg whites are ready, whip until the tip of the peak doesn’t fold over when you pull the beater out of the meringue.)
Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag. (You can put a spoonful on a plate to test it. If it slowly flattens out it’s perfect. If it runs, add a bit more almond flour/powdered sugar. If it just stays in a blob, give it a few more folds.)
Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.
Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons. Leave out, uncovered for 15 minutes, then bake them for 15-20 minutes. Give the macs a gentle little shake with the tip of your finger to see if they’re done. You want them set but not firm. It’s better to undercook them.
Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.
Print Recipe
So you may be wondering what I thought of the other flavors of candy corn – waxy and nasty. Somehow the Kisses nailed the strange candy corn flavor in their Candy Corn Kisses, but at least it was smooth and creamy and not waxy. The Dots sort of captured the candy corn flavor but in a gummy sort of way.

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RAVENS AND CROWS!!


The Raven


The Crow







   Raven are the largest members of the crow family, so it's only natural that the two species look similarly.  Ravens are clearly spotted when they are next to crows by their sheer body size.  But ravens and crows do not always conveniently stand next to each other when a human observer is trying to identify them.  Then, the observer has to look at other features on the bird.





The Crow




   A Note On Species Differential
   There are several species of ravens, but the most familiar species is Corvus corax, or the common raven.  Unfortunately, this species is not so common now due to hunting and habitat loss.  Other species of ravens in the world do share similar characteristics, including a mostly black body.  There are raven species that have dark brown feathers or white marks on the back of their necks.  Also there are dozens of species of crows in the world.  Many of these species come in other colors, making it easy to distinguish them from ravens.  But sometimes, a species like the carrion crow  comes in an all-black sub-species.  Then, there are species like the American crow that are also all black, no matter what their age, sex or subspecies.

Beak Shape
   Crows have a basic long spear-like beak shape that's similar to many other species of songbirds.  Ravens have vastly different bill shapes than crows.  They almost seem grotesque in comparison.  If looking at the bill profile, it seems to curve upwards into a shape that bird watchers call "hooked".  One species in Africa, the thick-billed raven has a bill so large that it almost looks like a second head.
   Some species like the common raven and the Australian raven will also have feathers on the part of the bill closest to the head.  In comparison, a crow's bill will be feather-free.  Some species of crows will have a small but prominent hook at the very end of the top half of the beak.  In the thick-billed raven, this tip is white while the rest of the beak is black,  however you have to get pretty close in order to see that.





The Raven




Tail Shape
   The only way to see the tail shape of the bird properly is to see the bird in flight.  Since it flies by so fast, just look at the basic shape the silhouette of the tail creates.  In many all-black crow species, this tail shape is triangular.  But in ravens, the shape is usually more like a wedge.

Attitude
   Although individual birds vary, in general ravens are much shyer than crows.  However, juvenile ravens have often been observed behaving as bold as crows while their elders admonish them from their hiding places.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

DIY HOLLOW OUT A LIGHT BULB!

   This comes from www.teamdroid.com .  This cane be used in many ways:  A mini fish bowl, a terrarium, a flower vase, a snow globe, etc.  The only difficult part is being careful when you're cleaning it out and taking it apart.




When I was growing up I had a keen interest in the sciences. Mostly because of the cool gear that scientists used, you know, beakers, flasks, Bunsen burners that sort of thing. Well, not only did I not have the money for those sorts of thing but I had no idea where to even buy them if I could. So I had to improvise. One of the better improvisations I was able to do was to hollow out a light bulb and use it for other things. The glass that makes the envelope of the build is quite heat resistant and the screw base is good to attach things to (even better if you can find old ones with brass bases, you can solder to those). I made a number of small boilers in order to learn about steam and distillation. I hope to show people that even if a bulb burns out, it can still be useful.



Step 1
Lightbulb project


You will need some common tools, a screwdriver (regular) and snips (or needle nose pliers). Use whatever bulb you have handy. *CAUTION* Never use a fluorescent bulb for this project, no matter how cool it looks. The powder used to coat the inside of them is made from phosphor and is quite toxic. You’re also working with glass, so use eye protection! You can’t see mine because I’m wearing them. You should also use gloves or wrap the bulb in a towel just in case it breaks. Yeah, you can’t see mine because i didn’t have any handy. So do as I say and not as I do, got it?



Step 2
Lightbulb project



First, grip the little solder point and give it a good twist. You will free the brass contact and break one of the wires leading to the filament.



Step 3
Lightbulb project



Once the contact has been pulled out, carefully crack the glass insulator. The chips from this are quite pervasive, they get into just about anything in the area and they are razor sharp. Use caution.



Step 4
Lightbulb project



After the insulator has been removed you can see the inside supports of the filament and the fill hole. In the old days bulbs were evacuated of atmosphere to keep the filament from oxidising and burning through. Now days the glass envelope is back filled with an inert gas like argon. The keeps the filament from burning through and makes the bulbs safer.



Step 5
Lightbulb project



Use the screwdriver to break the fill tube.



Step 6
Lightbulb project



The fill tube could be saved for a later project if you wish.



Step 7
Lightbulb project



You can now shake the filament assembly out of the tube. If the tungsten wire is still intact you could probably find a good use for it. You could make another light bulb if your stuck for something to do I suppose.



Step 8
Lightbulb project



The bulb needs a good cleaning. This powder, is called kaolin and is pretty safe. You should still be careful and keep it away from your mouth and anything you might eat near.



Step 9
Lightbulb project



Mind the sharp bits of glass in the socket when doing this. If you have some stubborn bits inside of it that you can’t get to with this technique you can fill the bulb with a little salt and shake it about. this should scour the powder off the walls.



Step 10
Lightbulb project



There you are, an empty light bulb ready for a new lease on life.



Lightbulb project



As an example I built this neo-Victorian New Age Flemming like valve out of a discarded bulb.



Boiling water



A more traditional use is as a vessel to boil water. I wouldn’t use too hot of a flame, a candle or an alcohol burner should be about as much heat as you should use. It is after all only a light bulb. Real lab ware is much thicker and can take more heat. Still, for the amateur experimenter this can be handy to have.
I hope you have enjoyed this little project and have fun making useful things out of what was once junk.
*Update*
A few of the dimmer bulbs insist on sending me comments on how this will make great drug paraphernalia. Please keep those comments to yourself as I delete them ASAP.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to make something into a pipe and that’s not why I wrote this tutorial. Thanks.

IT'S TIME FOR A ANOTHER HELPING OF CANDY FACTS!!! YYYUUUUMMMMM!!


   Candy Corn, Tootsie Rolls, Snickers, and Hershey's Chocolate products are popular with trick or treaters.  Other than how good they taste, what else is there to know about these yummy treats?  Take a look at some of these fun candy facts.










  Candy Corn was invented in the 1880s by George Rennigner.
   The oldest company to produce the surgary corn is The Goelitz Company which is now known as the Jelly Belly Company.  They have used the same recipe for over 100 years.  Can't get enough of this Halloween classic?  At the moment, you can buy 10 pound for $81 dollars.   Approximately 9 billion pieces of it will be made each year.





   Tootsie Rolls were invented in 1896 by Leo Hirshfield.  The product is named after Hirschfield's daughter whose nickname was "Tootsie".  In 1896 Tootsie Roll cost one cent.  In fact, it was the first "individually wrapped penny candy".  Over 100 years later, consumers can still find Tootsie Rolls for a penny.  The Tootsie Company makes 64 million Tootsie Rolls a day.






 A fun online Chicago Tribune article suggested that if your favorite Halloween treat is Snickers, it means you probably have an indecisive personality.  "Do you want chocolate?  Do you want nuts?  You don't know.  Or do you?"  Snickers is the most popular chocolate bar in the entire world.  Snickers got its name from a horse.  There are around sixteen peanuts in each Snickers bar.  They are made by The Mars Company.










 Hershey's produces around 30 different chocolate products that can be given out to trick or treaters on Halloween.  Most people probably know that Hershey's Chocolates are made in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  The town got its name from the chocolate and its inventor Milton Hershey.  But did you know that before it was named Hershey, the town was known as Derry Church?  Here is a link to The Hershey Company.

   Think chocolate is boring? Archie Mcphee sells fun Halloween themed products such as gummy maggots, brain flavored zombie mints, and voodoo pop.
   According to AOL, the average American household spends $45 dollars on Halloween food and candy.  Candied apples are a popular Halloween treat, but their origin remains unknown.  Dan Walker is sometimes credited with the invention of the caramel apple, but others believe he was only involved in marketing caramel apples while working at Kraft Foods in the 1950s.


ALBORADA FIESTA FROM MEXICO!







  San Miguel de Allende was founded in 1542 by Fray Juan de San Miguel when he built a mission to serve the many Indian groups in the area. It became known as San Miguel el Grande. The main church in town is the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. Naturally the town takes great pride in celebrating the Feast Day of San Miguel, the patron saint. San Miguel de Allende can put on some great Fiestas and for this one they go all out. The feast day of San Miguel is September 29 but the actual celebration can last a week or more. The modern custom is to have the major part of the Fiesta on the weekend following Sept. 29 but the actual day is also celebrated.











   San Miguel, or Saint Michael the Archangel as he is known to the English speaking world, is noted for his warrior role. When Lucifer revolted against the rule of God it was San Miguel Archangel who was sent to do battle with Lucifer and banish him to Hades. San Miguel is often invoked as a protector for troops going into battle. He is always represented with his sword and armor signifying his role in combating evil forces. San Miguel's combat with evil is acted out in the Explanada in front of the Parroquia in a grand fireworks battle that takes place just before dawn. This dawn battle gives the name to the town's celebration of its patron saint, Alborada means "dawn" in Spanish.











   While the dawn fireworks battle is the most spectacular event there is so much more to this Fiesta. The weekend is pretty much non-stop Fiesta what with the all night celebration followed the next day by all-day parades, dance performances, and processions honoring San Miguel. The evenings are full also with cultural presentations, music, and even more fireworks. The Feast of San Miguel really goes on for more than a week. Almost every day there are one or two processions carrying the image of San Miguel to various churches and shrines around the city so that san Miguel can confer his blessings on these locations. Often they are accompanied by music and dances. In the afternoons and evenings there are often dance or music shows providing first class entertainment. If you plan on taking in the Alborada Fiesta consider staying for the whole week beginning around Sept. 26. The main part of the Fiesta is on the weekend starting Friday afternoon until 6 AM Saturday, then parades and dance












performances all day Saturday until midnight. Sunday morning it starts back up then late into Sunday evening. There is really only one 8 hour rest period all weekend.
   The celebration of the Feast Day of San Miguel Arc?ngel is on 29 September but the celebration can last a week or more with the major part of the Fiesta on the weekend following September 29. The actual calendar of events can vary from year to year but it follows a general pattern. In 2008 the events of the Fiesta lasted from 26 Sept. to 5











October, a period of 10 days. The weekend is pretty much non-stop Fiesta. Friday evening it is music and dancing in the Jard?n which last until the traditional Alborada around 4 AM Saturday morning. Saturday it is a parade in the morning and various processions all day culminating in the offering of the flowers (x?chiles) in the afternoon. That evening there is a pyrotechnics show with burning Castillos and aerial fireworks.
   Sunday morning has another parade, then all day and into the evening Indian dance groups perform in the courtyard of the Parroquia and in the streets surrounding the Jard?n. That evening another pyrotechnic show caps the Fiesta.













   While the weekend is the most intense time of the Fiesta of San Miguel Arc Angel other events happen all week long. Mostly they are processions carrying the statue of San Miguel to various churches and shrines around town. There are also various presentations of dance and music. To see the entire Fiesta plan on spending a week in San Miguel de Allende - never a dull moment!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE! IT JUST MAKES YOUR MOUTH WATER JUST THINKING ABOUT IT!!!

   This recipe was found at www.elizabethsedibleexperience.blogspot.com .   Pound cake and cream cheese, imagine the possibilities!



Cake Cravings



There is a hilarious scene in an episode of Sex and the City where Miranda makes herself a homemade chocolate cake. She starts off by eating one thin sliver of the cake and then walks away. The camera frame doesn't leave the kitchen the entire scene. You see her walk back into the kitchen just seconds later and help herself to another minuscule piece of the sinful treat. After she leaves the shot she is once again back within seconds and cuts herself a third helping. This time she is more realistic and portions out a sizable piece of the cake. After her third tasting she covers the cake in aluminum foil trying to make it less accessible. The tin foil wasn't strong enough to keep her out. After a short while she returns to the kitchen and has another piece. This time she covers it with foil and places it in the fridge assuming it to be the final resting place until a later date. Time elapses and she is back once more. She eats another piece; visibly frustrated with her lack of self control she throws the cake in the trash. Miranda thinks this will deter her from ever eating the cake again. In one last desperate scene, they show her back in the frame hovering over the trash can about to make a very dirty decision. She heads over to the sink, grabs the dish soap and pours it all over the cake making it unedible to her tempted tastebuds.

It is a brillant scene and my paragraph above does it little justice. I think the will power struggle she goes through during the short 2 minute scene is captured perfectly and with so much humor. I never could relate to the scene on a personal level because I am not a chocolate lover. I have never had something so rich and decedant tempting me in my own kitchen - that was until this weekend. Although it wasn't the chocolate cake of the sitcom, this pound cake was addictive. I couldn't stop eating it. Everytime I passed the cake stand I lifted the lid and helped myself to a sliver. I felt like I was headed down the Miranda dish soap road very quickly. I made sure to cut up slices to bring to work on Monday in an attempt to get the cake out of my house so it didn't end up in the trashcan drowning in Palmolive.


Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Southern Living November 2001

Yield 1 (10-inch) cake


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened at room temp
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened at room temp
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract







Preparation
Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy (do not over beat)




gradually add sugar, beating well.




Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until combined. Crack eggs into a bowl first before adding to the mixture to make sure you avoid shells in the cake mix.




Sift 3 cups of flour. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla from the huge 1 liter Mexican vanilla bottle my mother in law shared with me.





Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan.




Smooth the top of the cake or bottom of the cake (depending how you look at it) with a spatula to even it out.




Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack. My pound cake had a crazy crusty layer on the bottom that I just peeled off. It was like candy, it was so sweet and cruchy but it wasn't pretty so I just threw it away.

BURGERFEST FROM SEYMOUR, WISCONSIN!





Hamburger Charlie and the Early Days of the Hamburger
Who was "Hamburger Charlie"?
    Charlie Nagreen was born in Hortonville, Wisconsin in 1870, where he spent his boyhood. He began his ground beef and onion career at age 15 when he loaded up his ox can and traveled 20 miles north to Seymour to sell meatballs at the fair.

Why was Charlie selling meatballs?
    The meatball was easy to assemble and the young lad knew people would be hungry after walking around viewing the agricultural exhibits at the fair. What he didn't realize was that people wanted to keep moving and visit the displays.




The founding father of the Burger
How did the hamburger come about?
    Charlie was a resourceful young man with an outgoing personality. After not experiencing much success selling the meatballs, he had an idea and located some bread. He realized people could take this meal with them if he simply smashed the meat together between two pieces of bread. He called it a "hamburger" and yes, in 1885 the burger was born at the fair in Seymour, Wisconsin.
How did he come up with the name "hamburger"?
    Many German immigrants lived in the Hortonville area. Ground up beefsteak was a popular choice for the dinner table. This steak was named after the German city of Hamburg where it was commonly consumed. Since the name was easily recognizable; "Charlie" used it to get attention. He then spread onions on top and the word spread to taste the gastronomical delight that Charlie had to offer.

Did Charlie visit other fairs?
    Charlie returned to the Seymour fair for the next 65 years, but numerous other fairs were added to his summer circuit. Evidence indicates he brought his meat treat to fairs in Shawano, Green Bay, Weyauwega. Oshkosh, New London and others. "Charlie's" stand was a popular spot and people in neighboring communities came to believe they couldn't have a fair without "Charlie".








How do we know that Seymour is truly "the home of the hamburger"?
    Numerous communities from New Your to Texas claim to be the birthplace of the burger, but no one can supply any evidence dating back to 1885 like Seymour. Early newspaper articles, interviews with contemporaries and Charlie's daughter all verify the burger was served at the Seymour fair in 1885.

History
It was in this setting, the busy Seymour Fair of 1885, where Hamburger Charlie , a young lad of 15 first set up his stand selling meat balls that became "hamburgers."
Seymour’s First Annual Fair an Unprecedented Triumph
As Printed in the Appleton Post, Appleton Wisconsin. Thursday, Oct. 15, 1885.

"Every Man, Woman and Child in the Realm Exercised a lively Interest in Contributing to it’s Brilliancy".





    Twenty-one miles north of Appleton is located the prosperous little city of Seymour. The county that intervenes is as fertile, and supports as many prosperous farmers as any section of territory, similar in range, within the state of Wisconsin. The elegant homes of the husbandmen surrounded by capacious barns; broad fields undulating and well fenced herds of blooded cattle and flocks of well bred sheep, towering stacks of hay and straw, and granaries filled to overflowing are the evidences that present themselves of the wealth of this area. The same may be said of the country ‘round about Seymour, and as it is of this particular section, as well as the municipality, and its accomplishments that we wish to treat, we will waste no words in the introduction of our story.
The City of Seymour
    The city of Seymour is possessed of as many men of determined energy as its prescribed limits can well contain. In all things pertaining to the interest of the place they are united, so that when a measure comes up which is in the least calculated to rebound to the public weal it is developed and matured and worked for all the treasure it contains grounds suitable for such entertainments as were contemplated were purchased and enclosed, a half-mile track equal in excellence to any in the county prepared, and a splendid exhibition hall was constructed.


Charlie and his crew back in the day


The First Annual Fair
    Numerous agricultural products were exhibited at the fair -- Fancy stocks of vegetables and grain. The vegetables and cereals made us contemplate with envy the luxuries of the high life. Prize cattle, sheep and hogs were the hit of the fair. Nothing on the grounds attracted as much attention as the bees displayed in glass hives by Mr. John Bull. The little insects appeared to appreciate the admiration bestowed upon them and toiled without rest to maintain their reputation for industry.
Exhibition Hall
    The exhibition hall was the central attraction for all visitors. Here it was that household comforts, ornamental work, flowers, fine art and the products of the factory and the foundry were arranged side by side to demonstrate the diversified industries of the people. Phillip Muehl’s furniture created a desire in spectators to make themselves comfortable while they inspected the hardware novelties and dry goods.





Machinery
    On the grounds outside there was a very great variety of laborsaving farm machinery. The goods exhibited there our farmers are familiar with, and any essay we might write on them, farther than to say they are the best produced, would be a useless waste of time.

The Races
    The horse trot is a source of income that agricultural societies all over the country have been compelled to take advantage of, but in no instance represents the best interest of the farmers. On the other hand the improvement in the style of travel and speed of the horses is most impressive. The array of fine horses that were on the grounds during the fair is conclusive evidence that this section of the country is well stocked with champion steeds.

General Notes
   Of Seymour and its citizens and leading industries we will have something to say in the future. In the meantime we congratulate the town on the splendid success of the first annual fair. May each succeeding exhibition grow in importance until the expositions there held fully equal if they do not excel any in the country.



Grilling the worlds largest hamburger


“Hamburger Charlie” Ready to begin 62nd Tour of Fairs
As Printed in the Appleton Post -- Appleton Wisconsin, 1947
    Back in 1885, ground beef patties were called meatballs, and then they became known as “hamburgers.” C.R. Nagreen 2102 S. Oneida Street, known as “Hamburger Charlie” avers he is the originator of the word “hamburger.î”Beginning Aug. 14 at the Outagamie Co. fair at Seymour and continuing through all the fairs, - Wautoma, Oshkosh, Shawano and Weyauwega, Charlie will dispense his famous hamburgers-this time from a brand new 12 by 14 foot tent and using new equipment. With the awnings up and benches on the side the tent will be 40 feet long.





    When Charlie was 15, back in 1885, he began his career, which has reached its 62nd year this summer. He drove into the Seymour fair with a yoke of oxen in that year, and thereafter made his circuit to the fairs by horse, by train and finally by auto.

The ketchup slide