Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Holidays for October 8th 2013

31 Day of Halloween Horror
8. Halloween

National Fluffernutter Day

Today is National Fluffernutter Day! A Fluffernutter is a yummy sandwich made with bread, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff. It is now a classic American treat enjoyed in school cafeterias, college dorms, and local diners nationwide.

Marshmallow candy can be traced back to ancient Egypt when people first began to harvest the marshmallow plant (Althaea officinalis). During the 19th century, French pharmacists extracted the juice from marshmallow plants and heated it with egg whites and sugar, creating a marshmallow cream.

Then, in 1917, Archibald Query of Somerville, Massachusetts created the special formula for the marshmallow fluff we know and love today. The city of Somerville celebrates with the famous "What the Fluff" festival every year!

How will you celebrate National Fluffernutter Day? Eating a Fluffernutter sandwich is a great way to start!

National Pierogi Day

Pierogies are Eastern Europe’s equivalent of ravioli or tortellini - essentially filled dumplings. This peasant dish originated in Poland in the 13th century, and hasn’t changed much since.

Let’s start with the name, just to clear things up. You’ll probably see it spelled pierogi, pirohgi, pierogie or any combination thereof. Merriam-Webster spells it pierogi, which is also the internationally accepted standard spelling. Pierogi is actually the plural of pierog, so saying pierogies is a little redundant but socially accepted.

Now for the dough. Back in the day, the dough was made simply with flour and water. These days, some dough recipes use eggs, and sometimes even sour cream. The dough is rolled out and cut into circles. The circles are filled and then sealed and boiled. After boiling, they may be pan sautéed or fried for some texture and color.

As for the filling, traditional pierogies feature mashed potato, cheese, sauerkraut, fried onions, meat or mushrooms, but the sky’s the limit on this. There are also different fillings to celebrate different holidays and times of year. If you’re making pierogies at home, make sure they're sealed well so you don’t lose the filling during the cooking process.

Typically pierogies are served hot, often with a sour cream dipping sauce, fried onions and applesauce. Dessert pierogies may be filled with fruit, chocolate or sweet cheese.

Want to try your hand at a batch at home? Look no further than pierogi enthusiast Martha Stewart who claims them as her favorite food.

American Touch Tag Day

American Touch Tag Day is a day to play Touch Tag. That' s right the child's game of Tag. Touch Tag is probably the most popular child's game in America. Almost all kids have played some version of it.

We are uncertain as to why this day was titled "American". Tag has been known by many names, including: Tag, Touch, Touch Tag, It, Chasey, and Catching. The game has been played by children for thousands of years, going back as far as Ancient Egypt. If it was ours to call, we would certainly name this day World Tag Day.

Celebrate American Touch Tag Day today. No matter how old you are, go outside and play Touch Tag.....You're it!

Alvin C. York Day

Alvin Cullum York was born on December 13, 1887 at Pall Mall, Fentress County, Tennessee, the third of eleven children of William and Mary Brooks York. The tall, gangly red-headed lad was typical of rural American youth of the turn of the century, working hard and playing hard. Growing up in the mountains, Alvin, like most of his contemporaries, lived by his rifle. To young Alvin, the rifle was not a weapon to be used in a fight, but a tool to put meat on the table. He became an expert marksman, and won many a county turkey-shoot. His skill with the rifle was to play a major role in his fame.

Alvin's father died in 1911, leaving Alvin the oldest son at home to help his mother raise a large family. The young man became a hard-drinking, gambling roughneck, until he met Gracie Williams in about 1915. Due mostly to Gracie's influence, he became a member (and soon an elder) of the strict pacifist Church of Christ in Christian Union. Just as Alvin was beginning to feel he had a grip on life, his draft notice arrived. On November 15, 1917, he reported for military duty at Camp Gordon, Georgia.

His last days as a civilian were a difficult ones for Alvin. The frank mountain man faced a dilemma: his religion told him not to go to war, and his patriotism told him he should. After two days and a night spent in prayer on a mountainside, York resolved to go.

York arrived in the front lines in France on June 27, 1918, but his appointment with destiny came on October 8, 1918, in the Argonne forest. York, by then a Corporal, was ordered to take his squad on a surprise attack against an emplacement of German machine guns. They surprised a group of 15 - 20 Germans, including a Major, and took them prisoners without a shot. But the Major called out in German, and suddenly York's squad was under fire from a ridge less than 30 yards away. With all but two of his squad killed, York "exchanged shots" with the machine gunners. York wrote in his diary: "There were over 30 of them in continuous action and all I could do was touch the Germans off as fast as I could. I was sharpshooting. I don't think I missed a shot. It was no time to miss." Suddenly, a German Lieutenant and five soldiers jumped from a trench and charged him with fixed bayonets, York took cool aim and shot the last man first, then the man next farthest away, and so on, until all six had fallen.

Finally, the German Major offered to surrender his entire command, if York would "just stop shooting." Upon return to Allied lines, it was determined that York had taken 132 prisoners. The next morning, 28 dead Germans were found at the scene of the fight: the same number of shots York said that he fired. 35 German machine guns and assorted small arms and ammunition were also captured. Returning to the scene of his "triumph," York prayed for those who had died, German and American alike. For his exploits, York was awarded The Medal of Honor, as well as the the French Croix de Guerre, the Italian Croce de Guera, and the American Distinguished Service Cross. He was also promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

After the War, Sgt. York returned to his Tennessee mountains and his beloved Gracie. They married on June 7, 1919, a week and a day after Alvin's return. He determined that it was his mission in life to bring education to his native valley, and set about to raise the money to build a high school (now the Alvin C. York Technical Institute) and a Bible school. Alvin and Gracie raised 7 children. For 35 years, he hunted, he farmed, he did some blacksmithing, and he preached. In 1954, Alvin York suffered a devastating cerebral hemorrhage, and was an invalid for the last ten years of his life.

Sgt. Alvin C. York died at the Veterans Hospital in Nashville on September 2, 1964, at the age of 76. He is buried in the family plot in the Wolf River Cemetery in Pall Mall, Tennessee.