16 Tales and Legends Surrounding Next Week's Food Celebrations

by Johna Tanawan

September 26 to October 2 has 16 food celebrations in store for us. That's a lot of food, so we'll take care of entertaining you by telling you the tales and legends surrounding our featured foods.


September 26: National Key Lime Pie Day and National Dumpling Day

Pies are said to have been invented by the Ancient Egyptians around 6000 BC. They had crusty cakes made from oats, wheat, rye or barley with honey fillings.

A chicken pie recipe has also been found written on a Sumerian tablet which dates back to 2000 BC.

Until the 15th century, pies were usually made with meat and fish fillings. But by the 16th century, sugar became cheaper and fresh fruits started to become popular pie fillings.

By the late 19th century, key lime pie became popular. This recipe is said to have originated in Key West Florida and was widely reported to have been invented by Aunt Sally, a cook for William Curry - Key West's first millionaire.

Although some historians dispute that Aunt Sally didn't create the recipe, but probably perfected a delicacy created by area fishermen.

As for dumplings, legend has it that Zhang Zhongjing introduced the recipe during the Eastern Han Dynasty.

He was a famous physician of traditional Chinese medicine who wanted to help the people from his village suffering from frostbite, mainly around the ears. So, he mixed lamb meat with black pepper and medicinal herbs, wrapped it in dough shaped like ears, and boiled it.

Everyone who was ill was given two "ears" with a bowl of warm soup. After a few days, the frostbite was gone, and people began imitating Zhang's recipe. They also added ingredients like vegetables and other meat. The recipe became popular during the winter months, especially during the Chinese New Year celebration. It has also been believed that serving the dish brings prosperity.


September 27: National Chocolate Milk Day and National Corned Beef Hash Day

Did you know that chocolate milk was once introduced as a medicine?

In the late 1680's, Irish born physician Sir Hans Sloane was working in Jamaica when he got introduced to a local beverage made of cocoa and water mixture. He found the drink nauseating, so he tried different mixtures and recipes until he finally ended with the chocolate milk concoction. Sir Hans is credited as the inventor of chocolate milk, although other sources point out that the chocolate milk mixture could have been around centuries earlier in some countries.

When Sir Hans returned to England, he brought his recipe, and apothecaries first sold chocolate milk as a medicine for many years.

And if you're a chocolate milk lover, I'm sure you'd still agree that it's medicine - with the power to uplift your soul.

Moving on to the corned beef hash recipe...

Corned beef is the recipe wherein salt-cured beef brisket uses large-grained rock salt called "corns" of salt.

Hash, on the other hand, is a mixture of foods cut into small pieces.

These processes are thought to have been around for a really long time.

The corned beef hash recipe, which uses chopped beef mixed with chopped onions, diced potatoes, and spices, started to become popular during World War 2.

It was served at garrisons and field kitchens because of rationing and the necessity to stretch a meal and leave no leftovers.

After the war, corned beef hash became part of the American diet and became one of the country's comfort food. 


September 28: National Drink a Beer Day and National Strawberry Cream Pie Day

Beer is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages produced by humans. The oldest traces were found in 13,000-year-old stone mortars from Raqefet Cave in Israel.

Throughout history, beer has been cited as one of the populace's most accessible and consumed alcoholic beverages.

Nowadays, there are 19,000 brewing companies worldwide across 208 countries, and some beer advocates citing 300,000 different kinds of beers.

There are so many variations of beer, but perhaps one of the most remarkable innovations is the edible beer that's nutritious, doesn't make you drunk and is good for the planet too. Learn about Yumday’s favorite way to “eat beer” here!

As for pies, we now know that the Ancient Egyptians invented the dish. Many variations have occurred since, then in the 1800s, cream pies or pies made from either pudding or custard filling became popular. And because sugar has become more affordable more variety of fruit fillings became popular, one of which is our featured food for the day - strawberry cream pie.


September 29: National Coffee Day and National Mocha Day

The exact origin of coffee is unknown, but one legend tells the story of a banished healer from Yemen, Sheikh Omar.

Sheikh Omar was cast out of his hometown to a cave in the desert. He was about to die from hunger when he saw red berries on some bushes.

He ate the berries but found them too bitter and harsh. So he roasted, grounded and boiled them into a drink. After consuming the liquid, Sheik Omar was energized, and the beverage sustained him for days.

When the community learned of his magical concoction, Sheikh Omar was invited to return to Al-Makha, where he spread the knowledge of brewing coffee.

The port city of Al-Makha or Mocha is was famous for being the central marketplace for coffee. The city flourished from the 15th century until the 18th century. However, where most of the beans from Mocha actually came from Ethiopia.

Nevertheless, coffee beans from the port city of Mocha were prized for their distinct earthy and chocolatey flavor which was highly coveted in Europe.

But the mocha beverage that we now know today is the product of Italian influence from the 18th century.

In the 18th century, there was a famous drink known as bavaresia in Turin, Italy. It was made of coffee, chocolate and cream and were served in a small glass called bicerin. It became known across Europe and into America, where this concoction from espresso, steamed milk and chocolate became known as Mocha Latte, mochaccino or simply, mocha. It is also said that the name took it's inspiration from the port city of Mocha.


September 30: National Hot Mulled Cider Day, Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day and National Chewing Gum Day

Mulled cider is said to be a variation of the wassail beverage from England. Wassail was a hot mulled punch often drank in a wassail bowl and enjoyed during the yuletide.

Interestingly, wassailing was the traditional ceremony in the cider-producing counties in the South West of England. This ceremony was done to awaken the cider apple trees and scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest in Autumn.

Moving on to olive oil, this precious liquid has a history that goes as far back as 6000 years. It has long been a common ingredient for Mediterranean cuisine and was known to be collected by Neolithic people as early as the 8th millennium BC.

However, it remains unclear as to when and where olive trees were first domesticated.

Still, according to Greek mythology, the minor god Aristaeus invented olive oil, and the press used it to extract it.

As for chewing gum, various forms have existed since the Neolithic period. The oldest discovery was a 6,000-year-old piece made from birch bark tar in Kierikki, Yli-li, Finland, which still had tooth imprints in it.

But the modern commercial chewing gum was developed by John B. Curtis and first sold in 1848.


October 1: National Pumpkin Spice Day, International Coffee Day, Homemade Cookies Day and World Vegetarian Day

Did you know that pumpkin spice does not contain pumpkin?

It's actually a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice traditionally used to flavor pumpkin recipes to make them savory, like pumpkin pies.

This blend of spices dates back to the Dutch East India Company, which prized spices native to Southeast Asian islands. Some of these spices could only be found on a few island groups that The Dutch kept their location as closely guarded secret.

Nowadays, pumpkin spice is also a popular beverage recipe and has become synonymous with Autumn.

On this day, we also celebrate the international coffee day because we just can't get enough of this delicious invention.

Want to try edible coffee? Check out Yumday's monthly snack box program. (We recently introduced our subscribers to a delicious bar made with real coffee!)

Coffee is also perfect for our homemade cookies.

The first cookies were said to date back as early as the 7th century A.D. Iran. They were thought to be initially made by bakers to use as test cakes to check oven temperatures.

The region was also known to be the first to grow and harvest sugar cane.

With war and exploration, sugar became introduced to other countries and with it the proliferation and variation of cookies which are now enjoyed by the populace.

On this first day of October, we also celebrate World Vegetarian Day, which the North American Vegetarian Society started. This was created to foster awareness about the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle and encourage people to become vegetarian.

And Yumday has the perfect line-up of food choices so you can have a delicious and nutritious celebration with us.


October 2: National Fried Scallops Day

We conclude our week with a feast of sumptuous fried scallops.

These delicious shellfish were initially prized for their beautiful shells rather than their meat.

But in the 19th century, scallops started to become popular, and many recipes emerged. As a result, they became a regular part of the American diet in the 1920s to 1930s, especially in coastal communities.

Fried scallops are popular recipes and are usually served at seaside clam shacks and other casual dining spots. 


For more entertaining stories, listen to our podcast Every Day is A Food Day, and make sure to stock your pantries to enjoy an awesome and delicious week.


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