Archive for the ‘ Reasons to Party! ’ Category

What’s Poppin’?

Today is National PopCorn Day!

Really, we will celebrate anything!

Archaeologists discovered that people have known about popcorn for thousands of years.  Corn was first domesticated in Mexico about 9,000 years ago.

Popcorn ‘remnants’ were discovered in archaeological digs that date back to 3,600 B.C.

It may very possibly be the Western Hemisphere’s oldest snack!

At our house growing UP, popcorn was a Sunday night tradition.

My Aunt Stella bought mother a popcorn set (Anchor Hocking hunter green) that had a large bowl and six smaller ones.

We ate from those every Sunday night.

Now, popcorn is big business.  Movie theaters, gourmet popcorn shops, and mail order sell or ship tons of popcorn every year.

It remains, 9,000 years later an American favorite.

Celebrate today with some popcorn.

Hey, it’s a reason to party.

Ahoy Matey!

Honestly, we will celebrate anything! Today is “National Talk Like a Pirate Day.”

The day is a parodic holiday and was thought UP by John Bauer aka O’l Chumbucket and Mark Summers aka Cap’n Slappy.

The two friends from Oregon proclaimed September 19 as Talk Like a Pirate Day in 1996, and encourage everyone to say Ahoy, matey instead of Hello.

Summers and Bauer

Apparently the holiday came into being when Summers and Bauer were playing racquetball and one of them was injured.

Instead of yelling “Ouch!”, “Oh Crikey”, or “Damn, that hurt!” he yelled “Aaarrr!” and the seed was planted.

It was a joke between two friends that mushroomed around the country when Miami Columnist Dave Barry started promoting it in 2002.

It is based on an erroneous theory that there really was a Golden Age of Piracy.

It’s fun, it’s silly, and it’s Okay, but Johnny Depp aside, most of the pirates weren’t all that cool!

In reality then and today, piracy was and is a crime, they were brutal thugs who valued life little and plunder greatly.

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, have fun with it, but you might want to do a little research!

I’ll not spoil all the fun by filling you in today.

Oh, Why Not?

Today is national Chocolate Day!

It’s also Milton Hershey’s birthday.

Imagine that?

Hershey was an American confectioner who later became a philanthropist.  He founded the Hershey Chocolate Company and the town of Hershey, PA.

In 1883, he borrowed money and started the Lancaster Caramel Company in Lancaster, PA.  It was huge success.

Again, imagine that?

He used the caramel recipe to make candy and learned caramels sold better in bulk, so he became a bulk provider.

One order to a visiting Brit was so large; the profit from it enabled Hershey to pay off his debt.

By 1891 the company was so successful it employed over 1,300 people.

While at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago he became interested in chocolate.

Knowing it would be an even bigger hit, he sold the Caramel Company for one million dollars and started making Chocolate.

He bought 30 acres of farmland near Derry Township some 30 miles northwest of Lancaster.  The location was perfect since he could easily get the large quantities of milk he would need to make milk chocolate.

Chocolate at that time was a luxury; Hershey was determined to make it affordable to the American public.

Trial and error paved the way to success, and the Hershey bar was first produced in 1900.  Kisses arrived in 1907!

In March of 1902 he began building the worlds’ largest chocolate manufacturing company.  Completed in 1905, it used the latest mass production techniques and Hershey’s milk chocolate became the first nationally marked product of its kind.

With the success of the factory, workers started building nearby, churches were built, schools, and business sprang UP, and Hershey, PA was born!

Back in 1898, Hershey married Kitty Sweeney from New York whom he met at a candy shop!

They were unable to have children, and decided that since they had no kids to spend their money on they would help others, especially orphans.

Kitty died in 1915, Hershey never remarried, and transferred most of his assets to the Milton Hershey School Trust fund which benefited the Hershey Industrial School.

The Trust holds the majority shares of the company which allows it control of the company, the school, and the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company which owns Hershey Park and other properties.

In the 1930s, he set UP the M. S. Hershey Foundation which provides educational and cultural opportunities to the resident of Hershey PA.  It funds the museum, the gardens, the theater and the community archives.

He also funded the Hershey Medical Center at Penn State, a teaching hospital with an endowment of $50 million.

During WW II, he supplied the US Army with chocolate bars.

He retired in 1944, and one year later at the age of 88, he died of pneumonia at the Hershey Hospital.

There’s a statue there of Milton Hershey with an orphan boy wrapped in his arms.

The inscription says, “His deeds are his monument. His life is our inspiration.”


Happy National Chocolate Day, please feel free to feel less guilt as you chow down on a chocolate bar today!

Not Your Momma’s Milkshake…

Today is National Milkshake Day.

I know, I know, it’s ridiculous, we have a day for everything!

The first time the term milkshake was used in print was in 1885.  Back then they were an alcoholic drink made with whiskey.

It was a “sturdy, healthful eggnog type drink which contained eggs, whiskey, and milk.”

OK, so it’s not your momma’s milkshake!

It was a tonic, sorta like a toddy if you will.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the word became connected to ice-cream drinks made with chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla syrups.

By the time the 1930s rolled around, milkshakes were all the rage at malt shops and soda fountains.

Pre-shopping mall days, teens hung out there!

“Technology” really gave rise to the milkshake.

The onset of the electric blender made milkshakes more like eggnog.  Prior its entry into the marketplace, milkshakes were shaken by hand and were a mixture of crushed ice, milk, sugar, and flavors.

Hamilton Beach started selling mixers to soda fountains in the early 1900s and Steven Poplawski invented the blender in 1922.

With Steven’s creation, the milkshake became perfected!

Malteds or Malts had been around for a while, and were actually popularized by Walgreens Drug Stores back when most drug stores had a soda jerk behind a counter.

Malts were a mixture of evaporated milk, malted barley, and wheat flower and were invented by William Horlick back in 1897.  They were originally used as a “restorative health drink for disabled people and children.”  They were also used as baby food!

But, since they tasted good, healthy folks lined UP to get them.

In 1922, a Walgreen’s soda jerk named Ivan “Pop” Coulson added two scoops of vanilla ice cream to the standard malted milk drink and, there you have it…Walgreen’s added Horlick’s Malted Milk to their menu!

Things really took off in the 30s when modern (Freon cooled) refrigerators were added.  They provided a safe, reliable way of making milkshakes.  Earl Prince used the basic concept of refrigeration when he invented his Multimixer, a whiz machine that could produce 5 shakes at once!

By the 1950s, milkshakes were standard fare at lunch counters, restaurants, and soda fountains.

Somewhere along the way they became a part of American culture just like apple pie, baseball, and Chevrolets!

So, to heck with the diet, it’s National Milkshake Day – splurge, after all tomorrow is another day!

Steak and Shake anyone?