Sunday, January 18, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Jan 18 2015

National Winnie the Pooh Day

Winnie the Pooh Day is celebrated on January 18th of each year and was established in remembrance of Alan Alexander Milne’s birthday.

Alan Alexander Milne (18 January 1882 –31 January 1956) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various childrens poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work. Milne was almost always credited as A. A. Milne.

Winnie-the-Pooh, also called Pooh Bear, is a fictional anthropomorphic bear created by A. A. Milne. The first of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh (1926, and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne also included a poem about the bear in the children’s verse book When We Were Very Young (1924) and many more in Now We Are Six (1927).

Milne named the character Winnie-the-Pooh after a teddy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who was the basis for the character Christopher Robin. Christopher’s toys also lent their names to most of the other characters, except for Owl and Rabbit, as well as the Gopher character, who was added in the Disney version. Christopher Robin’s toy bear is now on display at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

Christopher Milne had named his toy bear after Winnie, a Canadian black bear which he often saw at London Zoo, and “Pooh”, a swan they had met while on holiday. The bear cub was purchased from a hunter for $20 by Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colbourn in White River, Ontario, Canada, while en route to England during the First World War. He named the bear “Winnie” after his adopted hometown in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “Winnie” was surreptitiously brought to England with her owner, and gained unofficial recognition as The Fort Garry Horse regimental mascot. Colebourn left Winnie at the London Zoo while he and his unit were in France; after the war she was officially donated to the zoo, as she had become a much loved attraction there. Pooh the swan appears as a character in its own right in When We Were Very Young.

National Gourmet Coffee Day

If you are in the mood for a delicious beverage, go grab your coffee mug. Hip Hip hooray January 18 is National Gourmet Coffee Day! Whether you prefer cafe lattes, cappuccinos, frappuccinos or macchiatos, this annual holiday celebrates gourmet coffee in all its glory!

Gourmet coffee in the United States is still relatively young. The first gourmet coffee store was Peet’s Coffee and Tea, started in 1966 by Alfred Peet in Berkely, Ca. He was an immigrant from the Netherlands, and was used to having good coffee available to him. European coffee was rich and crafted, with depth and flavor that Peet did not get out of American coffee. Peet’s set the table for other gourmet coffee shops in the United States. Coffee in America had been in a state of decline since the end of World War II. People had become used to an inferior brand of coffee through rationing. It carried on for a few decades until the 1970’s and the growth of Peet’s and the birth of another giant in the industry, Starbucks. These two companies began their growth as gourmet coffee roasters; it was not until the late 80’s when Howard Schultz bought the company and began to expand from Vancouver to New York.

It was the national growth of Starbucks that created a demand for espresso and other European-style coffees across the country. Gourmet coffee from something only immigrants enjoyed in their own homes, and possibly some shops in local ethnic neighborhoods, to something everyone wanted. It became a very affordable luxury, and the demand was huge. The espresso machine was originally created to take the gallons of coffee that had to be brewed and reheated for each patron and turn them into individual cups of freshly made coffee. The coffee was delicately roasted and finely ground to make a delicious, dark coffee that would fit in a small cup. The espresso machine had an added benefit; not only did it make water piping hot in a rapid manner; it could also be used to make milk hot. Espresso became the base for a core group of coffee drinks: the café latte (hot milk is added to the espresso in a taller glass), café au lait (foamed or steamed milk poured over a shot of espresso in a shorter glass), the cappuccino (espresso, hot milk, and steamed foam layered on top), and the macchiato (espresso is added to warm milk, the coffee leaving a mark on the milk). The Americano was also created, which is a shot of espresso with hot water, for American soldiers that could not handle the richness of the espresso. These drinks became the base for the First Gourmet Coffee Movement. Looking closely at the menu of most gourmet coffees shops, those drinks are the base for all of the other drinks they created.

Like any good movement, people kept moving forward and discovered something else. Coffee could stand on its own in terms of flavor. It did not need to be something fancy, including multiple flavors and a long list of instructions to make. Coffee could be simple, just water and beans, possibly some cream and sugar. The information age has allowed us to really dig into where the coffee you drink comes from, down to the farmer. People have become fully invested in the whole process, from growing to roasting to brewing to tasting. Experts choose and roast the beans according to where they are from and what flavors they are looking to bring out. They are focusing more on the underlying tastes of coffee, from the berry and citrus flavors that emerge from Ethiopian coffee to chocolaty and sweet coffees from Central America. Classic brewing techniques have become more familiar, with French presses and vacuum pots coming back into vogue for their brewing qualities. Special coffees are selected to be prepared with certain dishes, similar to what you would expect from a wine tasting. Coffee shops and private individuals are conscious of the full range of flavor they can get out of the dark beverage, and the focus is now on the basics, enticing the natural essences of the beans out.

We are very lucky to have so many great coffee shops in Dayton to help us with this process. Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffees has been open since the 1961, serving chocolates with their coffees (which they have been brewing for about fifteen years). Boston Stoker was soon to follow, roasting beans and offering gourmet coffee since the early 70’s. The Ohio Coffee Co. has been doing a brisk trade in the coffee business as well, keeping downtown awake since 2009.  The great places to get coffee downtown continue to open and offer incredibly well crafted coffees and foods. Ghostlight Coffee, Press, and Eclipse have all opened within the last two years, adding some great environments as well as some interesting coffee options.

From its beginning in the mid sixties, gourmet coffee has explored a wide range of meaning to a wide range of people. Some people look at it from a classic standpoint, embracing the espresso and its kin as what is gourmet. Almost as a reaction to the complexity Starbucks injected into upscale coffee, there has been a movement towards just embracing coffee as it is, enjoying the roast, the bean, and the process of enjoying a fine cup. If you have a favorite coffee shop we have not mentioned, feel free to add it in the comments. And if you need anything else, just chill out, enjoy a nice cup of coffee on National Gourmet Coffee Day, and The Wolf will be coming directly. Cheers!

National Peking Duck Day

National Peking Duck Day is celebrated in the United States annually on January 18.

Peking Duck is a traditional dish of Beijing,China. The most distinct characteristic of Peking Duck is the crispy skin, which is served apart from the meat. The skin is crisp, but so soft that it melts in your mouth. The crispy skin is sliced thinly and wrapped with spring onions in a rice pancake wrapping and served with dark plum sauce or hoisin sauce. The meat from the duck is then cooked by another method, such as stir fry, and served separately.

There are many steps involved in the process of making authentic Peking Duck. One of most distinctive process is when the chef inflates the intact skin on the duck to cook it. The duck is traditionally roasted in a brick oven with open fire to get the crisp skin.

Crispy aromatic duck is a variation of the Peking Duck where the duck is deep fried instead of being roasted. There are a number of recipe variations for Peking Duck that use less complicated methods to achieve the crisp skin that characterizes the dish.

Peking Duck has its roots in Yuan dynasty, who invented the dish in the 1200s. It became the Ming dynasty's favorite food in the 1500s. One of the oldest Peking Duck restaurants in Beijing has served Peking Duck for over 600 years.

By the mid 20th century, Peking Duck had become China's national dish. Its popularity has spread across the world with many upscale Chinese restaurants around the world serving Peking Duck as one of their signature dish. Peking duck had historically been reserved for the nobles and upper class members of the Chinese community. Its only been since the beginning of the 21st century that the average person in China could afford to eat authentic Peking Duck.

The origins of national Peking Duck Day are unclear, but it would have started sometime after 1975, when Peking Duck was popularized in the United States.

There is no traditional celebration for National Peking Duck Day You can create your own celebration of this day by cooking a homemade Peking Duck or by visiting a Chinese restaurant to enjoy a traditionally prepared Peking Duck.

Thesaurus Day

If you look carefully, there is always a reason to celebrate each day of the year. Do an extensive study and you will find out that each day of the year is special, - Awkward Moments Day to Zip Code Day, there is a day dedicated to almost everything under the earth.

Thesaurus Day is one significant day picked up from the bunch of those days. It is celebrated every year on January 18th, which is the birthday of the author of Roget's Thesaurus, Peter Roget. Peter Roget was born on January 18th in 1779.

Thesaurus Day is about appreciating and celebrating Thesaurus and the impact of it on our lives.

However, there is no recorded origin date of the Thesaurus Day and the name of the originator. However, it may be one of those millions of fans of Thesaurus. There are also speculations that the day was first observed by the book company that publishes this handy reference guide.

Thesaurus is the ultimate reference book and invaluable to students and writers given the fact that they always need to consult it to make their literary work improved. The book lists the synonyms (words with similar meaning) for words. Repeating the same words over and over again in a given piece spoils the literary artistry of it. So you can search for the synonyms of the words to avoid repetition in writing and speeches. Thesaurus also helps us to find antonyms, that is, words with opposite meanings.

Roget’s Thesaurus is known to have been compiled in 1805. It was published on 29 April 1852. The original edition was comprised of 15,000 words but it became larger with each edition. The original manuscript is still there preserved at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.

If we delve deep into the word "thesaurus", we can find that the word has been derived from the Latin thesaurus, which is the romanization of Greek θησαυρός (thēsauros). The word literally means "treasure store." However, a thesaurus should not be considered as a complete list that has all the synonyms under the earth for a particular word. It should also be noted that a thesaurus is not a dictionary and it does not explain the meanings of the words.

The forewords of Dr. Roget in his Thesaurus were:
“It is now nearly fifty years since I first projected a system of verbal classification similar to that on which the present work is founded. Conceiving that such a compilation might help to supply my own deficiencies, I had, in the year 1805, completed a classed catalogue of words on a small scale, but on the same principle, and nearly in the same form, as the Thesaurus now published.”