Written by Nayeli Jaramillo
Nayeli is a Yumday Fall 2021 Food Education Fund intern. Today, she's sharing interesting facts about two December 8th food holiday celebrations: National Brownie Day and National Concha Day.
Photo from Canva
National Brownie Day
According to historians, the brownie was first created in 1893 in the Palmer House pastry kitchen. The Palmer House is a hotel in Chicago, and the story goes that Bertha Palmer — a socialite and the wife of the hotel owner — asked the pastry chef to make a dessert that was "suitable for ladies attending the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition." The pastry chef, Joseph Sehl, was told to create something that was like cake and small enough to fit in a boxed lunch.
So, Chef Sehl made a cake-like dessert with walnuts and apricot glaze. And it became a hit. The Palmer House Hotel still serves that dessert, using Chef Sehl's original recipe, to its guests today.
But did you know, the dessert wasn't named "brownie" until after 1893?
Culinary historians have traced the first cake “brownie” to the 1906 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, edited by Fannie Merritt Farmer.
Some people classify the brownie as a "bar cookie" instead of a cake. The reasoning is that they're eaten using your hands (like cookies) and not with a fork (like cake). But brownie textures can vary because you can make it more fudgy or more cakey — however you want it.
Also, even though the supposed original brownie recipe from Chef Sehl included nuts, 60% of people today enjoy brownies without nuts. And 36% agree that the best part of the brownie is the corner! People love the crunchy outside followed by the gooey, fudgy inside. (Source: National Brownie Day Stats)
And one more interesting fact... "brownies" is also the name of mythical creatures, tiny elves that are said to secretly help out at night and do good deeds.
National Concha Day
Conchas are a traditional Mexican roll that's made with sweet bread and a crunchy sweet topping. "Concha" is the Spanish word for "shell," and the pastry is named "concha" because of it's resemblance to a shell.
A few years ago, two women started a petition to create National Concha Day. Jessica Resendiz and Alicia Becerra, both from California, wanted to make National Concha Day an official celebration to honor Mexican culture. They started a petition, and received an outpouring of support.
The creation of a "National Concha Day" would be a fun and exciting way to honor the Mexican pastry and its culture. Such a day would not only bring smiles to people's faces, but also create cultural awareness of our customs and traditions.The petition is still open for people to sign, and you can check it out here to read more about the mission behind establishing this special.