JUN 19th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL MARTINI DAY – A true Martini is technically gin and vermouth with either a twist of lemon or an olive. The ratio of gin to vermouth varies according to historical accounts but there is one thing that is common in all martinis … pure alcohol.
“Shaken, not stirred” is one of the most famous quotes from James Bond but did you know that the proper name for a shaken Martini is a Bradford? True afficiandos of the Martini claim that they should always be stirred. Can one bruise a Martini by shaking it?
There are many cocktails these days that have “tini” added onto the end but they share little with the original Martini other than the iconic glass.
I don’t know if I have ever had a real or even dirty Martini. I have had designer versions like the Appletini and Chocolate Martini. I think it might be time to experience the real thing!!
JUN 18th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL GO FISHING DAY – Unless you live under a rock, you already know that it’s Father’s Day. It is the day that we celebrate the men in our lives whether is be our father, our children’s father or any other father for that matter.
My father passed away nearly 10 years ago. I will always miss him and wish that I could hear his stories just one more time.
When I was a teen, we built a family cottage. It was on an island in large Lake Simcoe. We had to travel by boat in summer and by snowmobile in winter to reach the cottage. For me, the prospect of crossing a frozen lake is as exciting as braving the rough waters in a boat. I love it all!
Dad was an avid fisherman and took us out fishing in the boat quite often but it was ice fishing that I really loved.
Our fish hut was several miles past our island and he would wake us at four or five in the morning to head there in the dark cold to catch some trout and whitefish.
I loved sitting on the hard wooden bench with my dad while we watching the ice fishing sticks. We would drink thick dark coffee that he brewed on the little propane heater and count down the hours until we could dig into mom’s fantastic egg salad sandwiches.
I have always said that my best conversations with my dad were either over a jigsaw puzzle or in a fish hut.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Go fishing 🙂
JUN 17th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL STEWART’S ROOT BEER DAY – I was fully intending to celebrate Eat Your Vegetables Day but unknowingly celebrated Stewart’s Root Beer Day at a friend’s backyard bbq / lobster party today.
We were gathering for an early Father’s Day feast and had eaten a silly amount of food. My husband grabbed a dark brown glass bottle of root beer after dinner. I looked at the label and noted the name Stewart’s and the rest is history!
My father was a huge fan of root beer but mostly in float form. He even had his own very tall float glass with a matching spoon. He would put several scoops of vanilla ice cream into the glass and then pour in the root beer. What a lovely memory of both root beer and my father (whose middle name was Stuart!).
JUN 15th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL SMILE POWER DAY – When I said the word SMILE to myself, the tune and lyrics to Charlie Chaplin’s song with the same name instantly began playing in my head.
I am a HUGE believer in the power of a smile. I do believe that if people smiled more, we would live in a friendlier and more connected world. Naive as that may seem, I have noticed over and over the power of a sincere smile.
Most people have a resting bitch face. Some people’s expressions are neutral but others are actually frightening. You know those people.
A smile, even the tiniest of one, can change a face from disconcerting to welcoming in an instant.
When I was in an African Hand-Drumming band, we had upwards of a dozen drummers at any given time. One of our more advanced drummers was named Allan. When we performed, he never smiled but rather looked forward with little expression. Our leader Ron once told him that he looked mean. It was hilarious and true.
I became the Smile Captain in the group. I would smile maniacally at the various drummers to remind them to look as though they were actually enjoying themselves.
Smile at someone you don’t know everyday and see how different you feel. Who couldn’t use a little connection?
JUN 14th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE DAY – Strawberries are ripe for the picking in Ontario which means one thing; strawberry shortcake is officially in season! (actually it means two things; strawberry shortcake and homemade strawberry jam are being enjoyed but today is all about the shortcake).
My mother served strawberry shortcake for dessert in June every year. She would slice angel food cake into thick pieces, drizzle with her sweetened strawberry mush and top with whipped cream. FANTASTIC!
Last year, I learned that many people prefer their strawberry sauce on a biscuit rather than sponge cake. How did I not know this? Apparently everyone else knew about this but me (and clearly my mom).
I tried the biscuit version of this dessert but can honestly say that I found it to be heavy. Angel food cake is light and melts in my mouth so I am going to stick with my mom’s recipe for this strawberry season.
Enjoy it however you like!
JUN 13th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL SEWING MACHINE DAY – Although I do own a sewing machine, I would never consider myself a sewer. Home economics in Grades 7 through 9 did certainly teach me some skills but, alas, sewing more than a straight line is not one of them.
I have made my share of flannel pajama bottoms and curtains but when it comes to clothing, I just do not have the patience. I have the “it’ll be good enough” mentality when sitting at the machine. It truly isn’t good enough in the end and I am ok with that.
My mother, on the other hand, was a fantastic sewer. She made many of my clothes, including my prom dress. She also made a dress for my high school commencement … it fit perfectly when I returned home from university.
My mom’s Singer sewing machine is at least 50 years old and is very basic. I have peeked at a few of my friends’ electronic sewing machines. I wouldn’t even know where to start! I would be happy if it auto-threaded that darn needle.
Here’s to the sewing machine and all the mad skills of great sewers of the world!
JUN 12th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE DAY – When I was in grade 2, Miss Buffett put together a booklet of all of her students’ favourite recipes. My chosen recipe was my Mom’s Peanut Butter cookies. She made them regularly and put the standard fork cross pattern in them.
As these recipe booklets were made in the late 1960s, making copies of each kid’s recipe was quite an undertaking. There were no computers or photocopy machines in the schools at that time.
The printer was known as a spirit duplicator but everyone called it a ditto machine. The ink colour was most often purple and the freshly printed page smelled of the isoproponal/methanol duplicating fluid.
I can almost conjure up that smell right now but I’d rather smell peanut butter cookies.
I still have my recipe page written in Mom’s writing so it’s time to fire up the oven.
JUN 11th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL CORN ON THE COB DAY – IT’S MY DAY! IT’S MY DAY!! No … seriously, this is the best day!
I LOVE corn. I love it popped, creamed, steamed, cold, and on the cob. I especially love it on the cob. I don’t care if it is peaches and cream or the more starchy yellow variety. If corn is on the table, I am happy.
I could eat an entire dinner of corn on the cob. Butter, salt and pepper are my favourite toppings and I prefer to use the little handles that are stuck in the ends. White rice with peas and corn is my comfort food, It goes back to the day when I lived in a small basement apartment with one hot plate. I couldn’t cook much but rice and veggies were easy. Corn was a staple.
The picture below is when I was still in a high chair …loving corn. I started young and haven’t stopped since.
What a great day! Enjoy corn today (and any day)!
JUN 10th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL BALL POINT PEN DAY – From a physics perspective, the ball point pen was a brilliant invention. A small metal ball at the end of a cone allows ink to flow out at a controlled rate. Friction between pen and paper allows the ball to roll thus depositing ink on the page.
We take pens for granted. They can be found in a multitude of places in our homes and come and go from our lives. We might buy one special expensive pen or purchase a whole box of cheap ones. We have many pens that were handed out for advertisement purposes and tend to like to write with one colour. I have lost so many pens that I suspect one day I will move a piece of furniture and find a mound of missing writing instruments.
When I think back to elementary school, one of the most exciting events was day I was awarded my pen license. I was over the moon! We were not allowed to write with a pen until our cursive writing was deemed acceptable and we had broken our dependence on erasers. Although they seem to be a thing of the past, pen licenses are still in effect in Australia.
When you pick up a pen today to write a quick note or add an item to a grocery list, celebrate this mighty inky instrument and its constant contribution to daily life. Where would we be without the pen?
JUN 9th | TODAY IS:
NATIONAL STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE DAY – Fruit pies are, in my opinion, the best pies. My grandmother only made fruit pies as far as I can remember. I am sure she made strawberry rhubarb but I mostly had eyes for her cherry pies.
The beauty of strawberries and rhubarb is that one is sweet and the other is tart. They make a perfect pair. But I am going to focus on rhubarb instead because I LOVE it!
FUN FACT: Rhubarb is high in oxalic acid. The leaves contain so much oxalic acid that they are toxic to humans. The stalks however are safe to eat and full of all of sorts of vitamins and minerals. It is said rhubarb can help reduce blood pressure, increase the body’s ability to burn fat and stimulate the growth of red blood cells.
I adore rhubarb when it has been stewed in water and sweetened with sugar. Now is the time to harvest this yummy food.
Dig into a strawberry rhubarb pie today!