Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year … Halloween! Not only did I have a granddaughter born on Halloween and she’ll turn 21 tomorrow, but I love the kids, their costumes, and giving out treats. I took ten bags of candy to the church today for our annual Trunk or Treat. So many wonderful memories.
But oh do I love apple wassail to kick off the holiday season. I didn’t realize the tradition of Apple Wassail, which is a form of wassailing practiced in the cider orchards of southern England during the winter some five centuries ago. The first recorded mention was at Fordwich, Kent, in 1585. Groups of young men would go between orchards performing the rite for a reward. The practice was sometimes referred to as “howling”. On the Twelfth Night, men would go with their wassail bowl into apple orchards. Slices of bread or toast were laid at the roots and sometimes tied to branches. Cider was also poured over the tree roots. The ceremony is said to “bless” the trees to produce a good crop the next season.
A folktale from Somerset reflecting this custom tells of the Apple Tree Man, the spirit of the oldest apple tree in an orchard, and in whom the fertility of the orchard is thought to reside. In the tale a man offers his last mug of mulled cider to the trees in his orchard and is rewarded by the Apple Tree Man who reveals to him the location of buried gold.
Here’s a couple of well know and fun traditional Apple Wassail rhymes.
“Stand fast root, bear well to
Pray for God send us a howling good crop.
Every twig apple big.
Every Bough, apples now.”
19th century Sussex, Surrey
“But by far here’s the one we all know.
Here we come a wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a wandering
So fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too.
And God bless you and send you a happy New Year.
And God send you a happy New Year.”
The wassail recipe is very easy and fun to make and drink.
1 gallon apple cider
1 quart cranberry juice
¾ cup sugar
2 cups orange juice
16 whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 stick (6 inch size) cinnamon.
Tie the spices in a cheesecloth bag. Add the spice bag and all remaining ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
For a party or a carry-in, heat in a crock pot on low temperature.
Optional: Garnish individual servings with a cinnamon stick and orange slice. Serves 24.
My question to you: What is your favorite holiday beverage?
To one reader who leaves a comment, I will give away an eBook of my latest Kasota Springs Romance “Out of a Texas Night”.
Today is Columbus Day. About 4 years ago I wrote a post celebrating the day with lots of fun facts and trivia – you can view it by clicking HERE. So, instead of a repeat, I thought I’d talk about something else.
This past weekend was my hubby’s family’s annual reunion. It’s something we always look forward to. It’s an opportunity for him and all of his siblings and cousins and everyone’s extended families to come together and get reacquainted. Those we’ve lost since the last gathering are remembered and additions through birth, adoption or marriage are joyfully welcomed.
We usually gather mid-morning and visit, look at photos and family memorabilia folks have brought with them, update a large family tree chart and just generally enjoy each others company. Then we have a group meal provided potluck-style by the attendees.
After lunch several of us drive out to visit hubby’s old home place, evoking memories for the adults and nurturing an appreciation of their roots for the younger generation.
All in all, Saturday was a wonderfully lovely day.
Now for the recipe I promised you. I love to experiment with new ideas and combinations of flavors when I cook. For the reunion this year however, I was hampered by the fact that not only did I wait until a few days before to think about what I was going to cook, but doctor’s orders still have me restricted from driving so I had to make do with what was already in the house. The following recipe and accompanying notes will probably give you some insights into how my mind works. Keep in mind that I developed this on the fly and rarely measure so many of the quantities listed are approximate.
Oh, and also keep in mind that I was cooking for a large group gathering (we usually run around 40+ people) – this should be scaled back for smaller groups.
Winnie’s Chicken And Sausage Potluck Pasta
1 pound sausage, diced (I used a skinless smoked sausage because that’s what I had on hand, but I think it would be great with andouille)
Shredded Turkey (I used leftovers of a roasted turkey, pulled from the carcass and frozen in a 1 quart container in it’s own broth)
Dehydrated seasonings (again using what I had in the pantry, you can substitute fresh) as follows:
2 tblsp chives
2 tblsp minced onion
1 tsp celery flakes
½ tsp garlic
3 boxes Pasta Roni (angel hair with herbs)
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
I put them in the food processor and give it a couple of quick pulses because I don’t like big chunks, but this step is totally optional.
Also, I like spicy so if I was cooking this just for me I would have used a full can. But since I was cooking this for a mixed crowd, I just used about ½ the can
1 can of small English peas, drained
Black Pepper to taste
Note, most of the ingredients already contain salt so you should taste the finished product before adding more
Brown sausage in a large skillet.
Add dehydrated seasonings along with turkey (with broth). Continue to cook together until liquid has reduced.
Remove meat from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, cook pasta according to package directions, except at the point when the pasta and sauce are added to the liquid, also add rotel.
Once pasta is cooked, add meat, peas and pepper and continue to cook on low heat for ten minutes, stirring frequently and adding liquid as needed.
There you go. Not the most complex or elegant of dishes, but believe it or not, I had several folks come up after the meal and ask for my recipe 🙂
So what about you? Does your family schedule reunions or get togethers? And have you invented any dishes you’d like to share the recipes for?
Between the great autumn fever blogs our Fillies did last week and the weather turning cooler, making the leaves turn to beautiful hues of fall, I can’t help but think about some of the things I like to do in the autumn.
I don’t go out as much this time of the year, so I love to bake and read. As I’ve said before, and those who have read any of my Kasota Springs contemporary western romances know, I also include a recipe in each book. It’s always one of my family favorites; and, two of my characters, Lola Ruth and Granny Johnson, use it in the book. Of interest, Lola Ruth got her name from my mother, Ruth, and my mother-in-law, Lola; while Granny Johnson got her name from well … my own beloved Granny Johnson. My Granny Johnson’s Chocolate Cake receipt and the history behind it’s five generations is in The Troubled Texan, which is the first of the Kasota Springs books.
Sylvie’s story, which I’m writing now, has a twist and I’ll be using more recipes. Just gotta wait to read the book to see what twist I give to recipes and characters. But, I’ll give you all a hint. They all come from readers and school teachers.
With cold nights and cool days, I love to read and drink something hot in the evening, so I thought I’d share with you a great recipe. It’ll definitely be in the book. You can prepare this Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix for yourself or it’d be a great holiday gift. It’s easy and quick to fix.
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
2 cups Confectioners Sugar
1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 cups Powdered Milk or to cut calories use Instant Nonfat Dry Milk
Instructions: In a large bowl, sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa. Stir in the powdered milk and whisk well.
You can add miniature marshmallows to the mixture if you’d like. Drop in a few chocolate chips to make it even more rich. When ready to use, mix ½ cup hot water with ½ cup cocoa mix, stir and enjoy.
If you have small kids or just want something special for yourself, make Red Velvet Hot Chocolate, by adding red gel food coloring; and dip the rim of your favorite cup in sprinkles. Use gel instead of regular food coloring, since it’ll give the drink a darker red look. I can see this being a really fun treat during the Christmas season.
So what is your favorite drink during cold weather?
To one reader who leaves a comment today, I will give you an eBook copy of Out of a Texas Night.
Today we have guest author Charlene Raddon with us here at the Junction. Charlene is not only discussing one of the best things in this world–chocolate!–she is also giving away two books! One lucky commentor will win an e-copy of To Have and To Hold and another will win an e-copy of Divine Gamble. Take it away, Charlene!
I don’t know about anyone else, but I am thoroughly addicted to chocolate. Dark chocolate, to be precise. I rarely eat milk chocolate. Dark varieties have less calories and are good for the heart (that comes straight from my doctor).
Almost everybody loves chocolate, right? But how long has it really been around? The Victorians adored drinking the liquid version, but did they invent, grow, develop chocolate? No.
The first chocolate house in London opened in 1657, advertising the sale of “an excellent West India drink.” In 1689, a noted physician, Hans Sloane, developed a milk chocolate drink, which was initially used by apothecaries. Later Sloane’s recipe was sold to the Cadbury brothers. London chocolate houses became trendy meeting places for the elite London society that savored the new luxury.
But chocolate goes back much farther than the seventeenth century. The fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao (chocolate), can be traced to the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec people, with evidence of cacao beverages dating back to 1900 B.C.
The Maya are credited with creating a drink by mixing water, chili peppers, cornmeal, and ground cacao seeds. The Aztecs acquired the cacao seeds by trading with the Maya. For both cultures, chocolate became an important part of royal and religious ceremonies. Priests presented cacao seeds as offerings to the gods and served chocolate drinks during sacred ceremonies. Chocolate was so revered the Aztecs used it as both a food and currency. All areas conquered by the Aztecs that grew cacao beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a “tribute”.
In 1521, during the conquest of Mexico, the Spanish conquistadors discovered the seeds and took them home to Spain. The Spaniards mixed the beans with sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. The result was coveted and reserved for the Spanish nobility. Spain managed to keep chocolate a secret from the rest of the world for almost 100 years. Once discovered, the drink spread throughout Europe.
Somewhere along the way, some European decided a special pot to serve the beverage in was needed. The earliest pots were silver and copper. Later, European porcelain manufactures began producing them as well. These pots had a right-angle handle and a hole in the lid in which a wooden stirrer, called a molinet or molinillo, stirred the mixture. Rather than a log spout which began in the middle of the side of the pot, like coffee and tea pots have, the chocolate pot has a flared spout at the top.
If you look on e-Bay, you’ll see pots of both styles, those with the long side spouts offered as combination coffee or chocolate pots. Prices vary considerably, but a good pot can run as much as $1,000.00, and a set, with cups and saucers and sometimes sugar and creamer, can be as high as $3,000. Although none of mine are this valuable, my personal assortment of chocolate pots numbers around thirty-five. The photographs shown here are from my collection.
The origin of the word “chocolate” probably comes from the Classical Nahunt word xocol?t (meaning “bitter water”) and entered the English language from Spanish. How the word “chocolate” came into Spanish is not certain. The most cited explanation is that “chocolate” comes from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, from the word “chocolat,” which many sources derived from the Nahuatl word “xocolat” (pronounced [ ?o?kola?t]) made up from the words “xococ” meaning sour or bitter, and “at” meaning water or drink. Trouble is, the word “chocolat” doesn’t occur in central Mexican colonial sources.
Chocolate first appeared in The United States in 1755. Ten years later, the first U.S. chocolate factory went into production.
I learned all this doing research for my historical romance, To Have and To Hold. In the story, the heroine has a friend who owns a bakery in town and, when Tempest comes to visit, Violet serves her hot cocoa with a chocolate pot.
Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma of Spain published the first recipe for a chocolate drink in 1644 by in his book, A Curious Treatise of the Nature and Quality of Chocolate. The spices included hot chiles, and the recipe goes as follows:
100 cacao beans
2 chiles (black pepper may be substituted)
A handful of anise
“Ear flower” *
1 vanilla pod
2 ounces cinnamon
12 almonds or hazelnuts
Achiote (annatto seeds) to taste –
Ingredients were boiled together and then frothed with a molinillo, the traditional Aztec carved wooden tool. The achiote was used to redden the color of the drink. *Also known as “xochinacaztli” (Nahuatl) or “orejuela” (Spanish).
“Chiles and Chocolate” goes on to provide another chocolate recipe published in France 50 years later. This one has significantly reduced the amount of chili peppers. The recipe was published in 1692 by M. St. Disdier of France, who was in the chocolate business:
2 pounds prepared cacao
1 pound fine sugar
1/3 ounce cinnamon
1/24 ounce powdered cloves
1/24 ounce Indian pepper (chile)
1 1/4 ounce vanilla
A paste was made of these dried ingredients on a heated stone and then it was boiled to make hot chocolate.
Today, the main difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate is that hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, which lacks the fat of cocoa butter. Hot chocolate is made from melted chocolate bars mixed with cream.
Charlene Raddon is the award-winning author of nine American historical romance novels and a book cover artist at http://silversagebookcovers.com. She began writing in 1980 and first published in 1994 with Zebra Books (Kensington Books imprint). Her work has received high reviews, won contests and awards. Her latest book, Divine Gamble, is currently up for a Rone.
Christmas has always been such a beautiful, blessed, wonderful season to me.
A tradition that my mom taught me, one I still carry on, is to bake goodies, infused with love, and share with family and friends.
One year, I spent hours and hours making elaborately frosted sugar cookies. In particular, I recall a little rocking horse that I’d painstakingly decorated with tiny little reins and a saddle accented with mini holly and berries made of icing.
Then my dad and brothers came in for supper and made short work of my creations!
I still make sugar cookies (a recipe I spent years experimenting with until I got it just right), although I don’t spend hours decorating them like I used to.
I also love to make cinnamon rolls and share them with our neighbors when the rolls are warm from the oven and icing is melting into sweet pools all around them.
I have an overflowing recipe box with all the traditional sweets I typically make during the holidays.
But while I was researching details for my latest release, I found so many more recipes I’d love to try.
The heroine in the story is a Swedish baker. My goodness! I think I gained five pounds (or ten) just writing about all the delightful pastries and goodies she created in her bakery.
Born to an outlaw father and a shrewish mother, Fred Decker feels obligated to atone for the past without much hope for his future. If he possessed a lick of sense, he’d pack up and leave the town where he was born and raised, but something… someone… unknowingly holds him there. Captivated by Hardman’s beautiful baker, Fred fights the undeniable attraction. He buries himself in his work, refusing to let his heart dream.
Elsa Lindstrom adores the life she’s carved out for herself in a small Eastern Oregon town. She and her twin brother, Ethan, run their own bakery where she delights in creating delicious treats. Then Ethan comes home unexpectedly married, the drunks in town mistakenly identify her as a missing harlot, and a mishap in the bakery leaves her at the mercy of the most gossiped-about man in Hardman.
Mix in the arrival of three fairy-like aunts, blend with a criminal bent on dastardly schemes, and sprinkle in a hidden cache of gold for a sweet Victorian romance brimming with laughter and heartwarming holiday cheer.
“Well…” Fred gave her an odd look as he stood in the doorway with autumn sunshine spilling all around him. “There are two other things I’d like.”
“Two?” Elsa asked, wiping her hands on her apron and facing him. “What might those two things be?” She anticipated him asking for a batch of rolls or perhaps a chocolate cake.
“My first request is simple. Please call me Fred. I’d like to think, after all this, we’re friends and all my friends call me Fred.”
Elsa nodded in agreement. “We are friends, Mr. Deck… er, I mean Fred. If you want me to call you Fred then you best refer to me as Elsa.”
The pleased grin on his face broadened. “Very well, Elsa.”
Her knees wobbled at the sound of his deep voice saying her name, but she resisted the urge to grip the counter for support. “You said there were two things you wanted, in addition to cookies. What is the second?”
“It’s a tiny little thing really,” Fred said, tightly gripping his hat in both hands.
“A tiny little thing? Then I shall take great honor in bestowing whatever it is.” Her gaze roved over the kitchen, trying to imagine what in the world Fred could want. She kept a jar full of assorted candy. Sometimes, she used the sweets to decorate cakes and cookies. Perhaps he wanted one. “A piece of candy?” she asked.
Fred shook his head. “No, Elsa. It’s sweeter than candy and far, far better.”
Intrigued, she took a step closer to him. “What is it?”
He waggled his index finger back and forth, indicating she should step closer. When she stood so her skirts brushed against the toes of his boots, he tapped his cheek with the same finger. “A little sugar right here would be even better than ten batches of cookies.”
~ Giveaway ~
Make sure you enter this drawing for a chance to win a mystery box of Christmas goodies!
Wishing you all a bright, beautiful, holiday season!
What’s one thing do you always look forward to baking or eating each Christmas?
Have you ever noticed that some of those old family recipes never taste as good as you remember from your childhood? Those early cooks didn’t waste a thing, as anyone who inherited a recipe for giblet pie will attest. I also have a recipe that calls for one quart of nice buttermilk. As soon as I find buttermilk that meets that criteria, I’ll try it.
I especially like the old-time recipes for sourdough biscuits. Here’s a recipe from The Oregon Trail Cookbook:
“Mix one-half cup sourdough starter with one cup milk. Cover and set it in the wagon near the baby to keep warm … pinch off pieces of dough the size of the baby’s hand.”
Early cooks didn’t have the accurate measuring devices we have today and had to make do with what was handy—even if it was the baby.
If you’re in the mood to drag out an old family recipe this Thanksgiving, here are some weights and measures used by pioneer cooks that might help:
Pound of eggs=8 to 9 large eggs, 10-12 smaller ones
Butter the size of an egg=1/4 cup
Butter the size of a walnut=2 Tablespoons
Scruple= (an apothecary weight=1/4 teaspoon
Old-time tablespoon=4 modern teaspoons
Old-time teaspoons=1/4 modern teaspoon
2 Coffee Cups=1 pint
As for the size of the baby, you’re on your own.
Weights from Christmas in the Old West by Sam Travers
Chuck wagon or trail recipes call for a different type of measurement
Li’l bitty-1/4 tsp
A Wave at It-1/16 tsp
Whole Heap-2 Rounded cupfuls
However you measure it,
here’s hoping that your Thanksgiving is a “whole heap” of fun!
I’m from Iowa, and there it’s easy to tell fall has arrived. The trees change to lovely shades of yellow, orange and crimson. A crispness lingers in the air all day. It feels like fall. I love that time of year. Wearing jackets, snuggling under a blanket with a good romance on Saturday. Walking on crunching leaves.
Now I live in Texas, and fall is different from what I knew growing up. In Texas, it’s hard to tell autumn has arrived. Halloween has come and gone, and Thanksgiving is around the corner. Despite what the calendar says, this week’s forecast is for record high temperatures. We’re talking hitting ninety degrees. When the leaves change, they turn a shade of brown and fall off the tress. Not exactly the ooh-ahh fall colors I spotted in the Midwest.
Saying It’s been an adjustment for me is like saying Texas and Texas A&M have a little rivalry. Over the years I’ve learned fall is heralded in different ways in Texas. First and foremost, we know it’s fall because of the arrival of football season. Yes, it’s true. Football is almost a religion here in Texas. From high schools on Friday night to TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas and Texas A&M on Saturday. There’s even have a “Red River Showdown” between Texas and OU at the Texas State Fair.
Which brings me to another huge sign of fall in Texas, the state fair. When people start talking about corny dogs, turkey legs, and fried any and everything, I know autumn has arrived. I hear Big Tex’s voice and see pictures of him everywhere. In 2012 when Big Tex caught on fire, it was huge news. We got updates on the progress to rebuild him, including details on changes in his iconic outfit.
But I’ve learned to adjust. I decorate the yard and house for fall, Halloween, and then Thanksgiving. I admit a couple times I had a fire and then turned on the air conditioner because the house got so warm. I bake items that remind me of fall. One of my family’s favorite is pumpkin bread.
3 1/3 C flour
3 C sugar
2/3 C water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 can pumpkin
½ black walnut flavoring
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Make a “well” in the center. Add eggs, water, oil and black walnut flavoring in well. Mix. Add canned pumpkin. Mix. Place in greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Now tell me about your favorite fall tradition and be entered in the drawing to win the pumpkin and Home On The Ranch: Colorado.
Today is one of the happiest days for children and adults, outside of Christmas and birthdays. Or at least that’s my opinion. I’m fortunate to share my blog with Fellow Filly Shanna Hatfield. I’m going to blog about some history and fun facts; before turning it over to Shanna to tell you a little about her special Pumpkins Cookies, yummy!
To my surprise, Halloween has roots in age-old European traditions. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. Around the world, as days grow shorter and nights get colder, people continue to usher in the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.
In the late 1800’s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide Halloween parties as the featured entertainment. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats.
Thus, a new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion, yes with a “B”, annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday after Christmas.
I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you all about how Halloween traditions fit in with young women identifying their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday…with luck by next Halloween…be married. In the 18th century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.
Another fascinating tradition was when young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; and, some also tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water.
One of the beloved events is our church’s Trunk or Treat which is a safe and fun environment for kids to go trick or treating out of the trunk of member’s cars in the parking lot. It’s open to the public, not just the youth of our home church.
I’m happy to have Shanna Hatfield chiming in with one of her favorite Halloween treats.
“I’m a pumpkin fanatic! The fascination with pumpkin treats started with my aunt’s decadent pumpkin roll and ends with pumpkin pie (which I would eat any time of year). This recipe for pumpkin cookies is a fast, easy way to satisfy a pumpkin craving… and a sweet tooth! Happy Haunting!”
From Shanna Hatfield, USA Today Bestselling Author
1 box of spice cake mix
1 small can of pumpkin pie filling
1 cup cream cheese frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix cake mix and pumpkin until thoroughly blended.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment and drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the cookie sheet.
Bake about ten minutes, until the cookies are just set, but not yet starting to brown.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Warm cream cheese frosting in the microwave for about 12 seconds, or until thin enough to pour. Drizzle over cookies. Top with toffee bits, cinnamon, sprinkles or candied nuts if you want to get all fancy-pants (which I generally do).
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
To one lucky reader who leaves a comment, I will give away a copy
of any of my eBooks from Amazon! Happy Holiday, Phyliss
And, thank you, Shanna, for sharing your recipe with us.
By the time this post goes up it’ll be Labor Day and I certainly hope you all are able to take the opportunity to have a relaxing day with family and friends.
Around our house, Labor Day usually means outdoor cookouts. But for my family, instead of BBQs and picnics, we like to send the summer out with a seafood boil. This year it’s going to be shrimp.
I love a good seafood boil. In addition to the shrimp and appropriate seasonings, the pot this year will contain corn, potatoes, sausage, mushrooms, cauliflower, onions, garlic, lemons and limes- a veritable banquet!
Here’s a photo taken from a prior Labor Day feast – doesn’t it look yummy?
Of course, no feast would be complete without a great dessert. So today I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite summer treats. It’s a sort of trifle that my family calls a punch bowl cake. It’s super easy to make and as a bonus, especially on these hot summer days, it’s no bake!
1 pre-made angel food cake
1 large tub of whipped topping
1 package of either vanilla or cheesecake flavored instant pudding (6 serving size)
Approx 1 lb berries of your choice (I prefer strawberries but I’ve made it with mixed berries as well)
Prepare pudding according to directions.
Mix together with whipped topping and set aside
Tear cake into bite-sized pieces
In a large bowl, layer ingredients as follows:
1/3 each of angel food cake, berries and then cream mixture
Repeat twice more
If desired, garnish top with additional berries, nuts or grated chocolate
Refrigerate until ready to serve
So what about you? Do you have any special Labor Day traditions? Any favorite end of summer foods? Share your answers and I’ll put you in the running for a copy of any book in my backlist.
Football enters our homestead every August with our family’s Fantasy League. My team Wild Thang usually ends the season in last place. Mostly I like the smack-talk. We culminate things with a big Chili Cook-off on Super Bowl Sunday, and following this post, you’ll find the recipe I am entering this year. In the meantime, here’s some fun football facts.
Early leather helmets were replaced by plastic ones in the 1950’s
This early helmet with its nose guard is kinda Hannibal Lechter-y.
Anyway, back to the game. Beginning in 1827, Harvard started holding the “Bloody Monday” mob game between freshmen and sophomores–a mash-up of soccer and rugby that kind of presaged modern football’s violent nature. While there were certainly competitions using balls among our country’s first nations, today’s American football got its start from Europe’s historic soccer and rugby games.
Early balls were round, reminiscent of rugby, leather and laces over inflated pig bladders. In 1875, the egg-shaped ball was introduced.
In November 1869, Rutgers and Princeton played the first recognizable football game, although the ball was round. By the 1880’s, Yale’s great rugby star Walter Camp morphed the game into what we know today as football. He developed the line of scrimmage and “downs” and helped legitimize interference—otherwise known as blocking and highly illegal in rugby. Teams had been limited to 20 players in 1873.
Walter Camp (1859-1925), the Father of American Football
Later college coaches such as Knute Rockne and Glen “Pop” Warner helped introduce the forward pass. Football’s popularity grew and grew, with fierce rivalries between colleges, and popular “bowl’” games developed. The “Big Game” between Stanford and University of California at Berkeley in 1892 has long been considered the West’s first big face-off.
Upon the development of professional teams, paying players for their time and talents was considered unsportsmanlike. William “Pudge” Heffelfinger (1867-1954) became the first professional player in America in November 1892 by accepting $500 from a Pittsburgh ball club. In 1897, the Latrobe Athletic Association became the first pro team to complete an entire competitive season.
Pudge Heffelfinger (1867-1954)
The 1932 National Football League playoff game was the first to introduce hashmarks and was played indoors due to Chicago’s grim weather that winter. In 1946–the same year Jackie Robinson made baseball history–two of his teammates from UCLA, Woody Strode and Kenny Washington, became the first African American players in the NFL.
Woody Strode, Jackie Robinson, and Kenny Washington pictured together on the 1939 UCLA team. All three made sports history.
Early padding looks like gramma’s quilt.
The first Super Bowl took place in January 1967 and my hubs—just a kid—was in attendance! Now we’re getting ready for our big game day shindig. Not long ago he and I went to the football exhibition presented by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library~it was full of great info and lots of photo ops.
How about you? Any football lovers out there? Anybody ever enter a chili-cook-off?
Here’s my easy-peasy chili recipe. I promise you it’s good.
Rancho Taco Crocko
2 pounds ground beef or turkey (I use turkey), cooked.
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 ½ cups water
1 can (15 oz) chili beans
1 can (15 oz) corn, or a bag of frozen corn
1 can (15 oz) jalapeno pinto beans. Best to drain these. You can use regular pintos but we like spice around here.
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes—recommend a southwest version that includes green chilies or similar additives. Do not drain.
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies
I envelope ranch dressing mix. This is the secret ingredient.
(I will be adding pickled jalapenos, too.
Dump into crockpot (mine is shaped like a football LOL), and mix well, cook on high for a while stirring occasionally, then set to warm. Serves about 8, makes about 2 quarts. Calories unknown.
When it rains it pours….I have two books coming out later this month. Details next time.