Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Feb 25 2015

Inconvenience Yourself Day


February 25, is Inconvenience Yourself Day. The concept is simple, the idea is embraceable, and it certainly seems like common sense. But in the shuffle of day-to-day activities, people get lost in their busy lives and forget how their actions affect others.

"Think about the last time you cut someone off in traffic or hurried out the door without holding it for the person behind you…it probably wasn't intentional nor did you even notice there was anyone so close behind," says Julie Thompson, creator of Inconvenience Yourself™.

The idea behind Inconvenience Yourself encourages people to pay attention to their own actions, understand how their actions affect others, and adjust which actions have a negative impact on people they encounter.

Inconvenience Yourself is a way of living. It includes not only how people behave, but also recognizing and acknowledging the actions of others. This everyday concept has been recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events and has received national attention. Celebrated on the fourth Wednesday in February, the day is an opportunity for people to focus on inconveniencing themselves instead of inconveniencing others. It is also a day to recognize and acknowledge those who inconvenience themselves for others. Acknowledgment can be verbal, a note, or some small token of appreciation. The concept has been embraced by businesses, teachers, children and parents.

A child can inconvenience themselves by being responsible, dependable and polite. A teacher can incorporate the concept through education and by reinforcing values. Students can learn classroom citizenship to help prevent bullying. A business can integrate the idea into their customer relations and customer service standards.

Thompson explains, “Many of our actions seem to say we think we are more significant than the next person; that our lives and schedules are more important than some else’s. We often inconvenience other people to make our own lives easier and don't give a thought to the impact of our actions on others. This movement is a way to recognize how we can positively change the way we go about our lives.”

Stories from children, teachers and business owners who have inconvenienced themselves for others can be found on the Inconvenience Yourself™ website. Thompson also encourages people to share their stories to help spread the idea. For more information about how Inconvenience Yourself™ can change lives, business or classroom activities, visit http://www.inconvenienceyourself.com or email Julie Thompson at julie@inconvenienceyourself.com.

About Inconvenience Yourself: Inconvenience Yourself was conceived in 2006 after Julie Thompson observed that many people forget to think about how their actions affect other people. In the fast-paced world in which we live, with schedules overflowing with commitments, people go about their lives without recognizing that what they do impacts other people. Inconvenience Yourself is not intended to suggest that people become completely self-sacrificing. Instead, it encourages people to pay attention to their own actions, understand how those actions impact others, and adjust actions which have a negative effect on others. For more information, contact Julie Thompson at (954) 693-4604 or email julie@inconvenienceyourself.com

National Chocolate-Covered Nuts Day


It’s National Chocolate Covered Nuts Day! Nuts have been a staple of the human diet for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans were fond of the walnut, Native Americans enjoyed the pecan, and the Chinese believed the hazelnut was one of the five sacred nourishments. People also believed that chocolate had divine properties.

Chocolate has been used throughout its 250 year history mostly as a beverage. During the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and up to the nineteenth century, various other uses of chocolate came into play. Chocolate started to be used in dessert and cake products and even chocolate treats as we primarily know today, such as candy bars and whole chocolate bars.

Cocoa beans were first discovered by an ancient Mexican civilization know as the Olmec. The cocoa beans were passed on through many ancient Mexican civilizations, finally being used by the Aztecs. It was the Aztec civilization that incorporated the use of the Metatea, a grinding stone base with a hammer-like grinder used to grind the roasted cocoa beans into cocoa liquid paste. Cocoa bean was a popular trade. They even used cocoa beans as currency, religious rituals and gifts.

During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, the use of chocolate had spread throughout most of the European countries, such as France, Italy and Spain, mostly by traders and missionaries.

In the nineteenth century, we saw the development of chocolate as we well know today. Cocoa powder was mixed with alkali which gave cocoa a stronger color and a smoother flavor, which that same process is still used today.

Candy bars, as we know today, first appeared in Great Britain in early to mid nineteenth century. Swiss chocolatier Rudolph Lint invented the process of conching, which gives the chocolate a creamier taste and texture. Other chocolatiers and technicians discovered use of milk base products and powder to mix into the chocolate base.

Today chocolate desserts, cakes, chocolate covered strawberries and candies are by far a crucial part of everyday lifestyles. From the cocoa pounded on a slab stone block to the big enormous factories that exist today, cocoa and the products it produces have come a long way. The future is deliciously bright and will hold many new and interesting by-products as the centuries role on.

Where does Chocolate Come from? All chocolate grows on trees. There is about 20 species of chocolate all derived from the genus of theobroma. The tree was originated in south Mexico and grows mostly south of the equator in such continents as south America & the south seas which are rich in cocoa plants.

There is three variations of theobroma cacao (cocoa plant): Forastero, a robust plant with light chocolate; Criollo, a strong plant with strong quality chocolate; and Trinitario a cross between the two.

The beans which are received from the plant are placed on the ground for fermentation. After the beans are fermented in the ground at 110 degrees, they are placed in the sun to dry out. The beans then are roasted and once they become dry, the husk is removed and the bean is broken down into smaller piece, which are usually purchased by chocolate factories to make chocolate.

Chocolate then is taken by the factories and then process by grinding them as either whole or roasted pieces. A liquid substance is derived from smashing the pieces and used as whole unsweetened chocolate by the factories.

The process of making chocolate begins with either beans or nibs. The first step is to crush them into chocolate liquor. From the chocolate liquor a press of natural fat is extracted leaving what is called a "cake". The cake then can be more hard-pressed into a powder material. Cocoa can be treated with an alkali during this process otherwise known as Dutch or alkalized cocoa. For manufacturers of other types of chocolate, additives such as sugar, vanilla and milk extract are added. This process is called conching, where all the ingredients are mixed together and processed.

There are many different types of Chocolate. Couverture Chocolate: This type of chocolate is high in cocoa butter content which is primarily used in melting the chocolate into molds for dipping.   Chocolate covered strawberries are a favorite.
Chocolate Covered Company creates extraordinary and unique chocolate covered gifts including chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate covered caramel apples, chocolate covered pretzels and personalized dipped fortune cookie. Chocolate Covered Company has been serving chocolate covered strawberries for many years. We use the freshest products and the finest quality in imported chocolate, to create chocolate gifts and taste treats that are simply the best.

Celebrate National Chocolate Covered Nuts Day with your favorite chocolate and nut combination!

National Clam Chowder Day


February 25 is National Clam Chowder Day. While New England doesn't have a monopoly on clam chowder, it is probably the most recognized regional style of this soup. However, there are many variations of chowders from region to region that are distinctively sourced and flavored.

Clam chowder is any of several chowders containing clams and broth. Along with the clams, diced potato is common, as are onions, which are occasionally sautéed in the drippings from salt pork or bacon. Celery is frequently used. Other vegetables are uncommon, but small carrot strips might occasionally be added, primarily for color. A garnish of parsley serves the same purpose. Bay leaves are also sometimes used as a garnish and flavoring. It is believed that clams were added to chowder because of the relative ease of harvesting them.

Clam chowder is often served in restaurants on Fridays in order to provide a seafood option for those who abstain from meat every Friday, which once was a requirement for Catholics before liturgical changes in Vatican II. Though the period of strict abstinence from meat on Fridays was reduced to Lent, the year-round tradition of serving clam chowder on Fridays remains.

New England clam chowder - New England clam chowder is a milk- or cream-based chowder, and is traditionally of a thicker consistency than other regional styles, commonly made with potatoes, onion, and clams. Including tomatoes is shunned; a 1939 bill making tomatoes in clam chowder illegal was introduced in the Maine legislature. It is occasionally referred to as Boston Clam Chowder in the Midwest.

New England clam chowder is usually accompanied with oyster crackers. Crown Pilot Crackers were a popular brand of cracker to accompany chowder, until the product was discontinued in 2008. Crackers may be crushed and mixed into the soup for thickener, or used as a garnish.

Manhattan clam chowder - Manhattan clam chowder has clear broth, plus tomato for flavor and color. In the 1890s, this chowder was called "New York clam chowder" and "Fulton Fish Market clam chowder." Manhattan clam chowder was referenced in Victor Hirtzler's 1919 "Hotel St. Francis Cookbook." The addition of tomatoes in place of milk was initially the work of Portuguese immigrants in Rhode Island, as tomato-based stews were already a traditional part of Portuguese cuisine.

Rhode Island clam chowder - The traditional Rhode Island clam chowder has a clear broth and is called "South County Style," referring to the local name of Washington County, Rhode Island, where it originated. This chowder is still served, especially at long-established New England restaurants and hotels, such as those on Block Island, and on the south coast of the state, where tourists favor white chowders while natives prefer the clear. This traditional clear chowder generally contains quahogs, broth, potatoes, onions, and bacon.

In some parts of the state, a red chowder is served as Rhode Island clam chowder. This red chowder has a tomato broth base and potatoes; unlike Manhattan red chowder, it does not have chunks of tomato, and does not contain other vegetables (such as carrots or beans). This is the recipe served for decades with clam cakes at the memorable establishments like Rocky Point and Crescent Park.

New Jersey clam chowder - Its primary ingredients are bacon, onion, chowder clams, potatoes, pepper, celery powder, parsley, crab spice (Old Bay), asparagus, light cream, and sliced tomatoes.

Delaware clam chowder - This variety typically consisted of pre-fried cubed salt pork, salt water, potatoes, diced onions, quahogs, butter, salt, and pepper. This variety was more common in the early and mid 20th century and likely shares most recent common ancestry with New England clam chowder.
Hatteras clam chowder - Served throughout North Carolina's Outer Banks region, this variation of clam chowder has clear broth, bacon, potatoes, onions, and flour as a thickening agent. It is usually seasoned with copious amounts of white and/or black pepper, and occasionally with chopped green onions or even hot pepper sauce.

Minorcan clam chowder - Minorcan clam chowder is a spicy traditional version found in Florida restaurants near St. Augustine and the northeast corner of the Sunshine State. It has a tomato broth base, with a "secret ingredient," Spanish datil pepper, an extremely hot chili comparable to the habanero. The datil pepper is believed to have been brought to St. Augustine by the Minorcan settlers in the 18th century, and tradition holds among Minorcan descendants that it will only thrive and grow in two places - Minorca, Spain and St. Augustine, Florida.

As for the clams you’ll see in these different chowders, the most commonly used are littlenecks, longnecks, cherrystones and the quahog varieties. If you’re making chowder at home, use whatever is freshest in your seafood market and you can't go wrong.

Pistol Patent Day


Pistol Patent Day is celebrated on February 25th of each year in honor of Samuel Colt’s U.S. “revolving gun” patent granted February 25, 1836 (numbered 9430X).

Samuel Colt (July 19, 1814 – January 10, 1862) was an American inventor and industrialist from Hartford, Connecticut. He was the founder of Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company (now known as Colt’s Manufacturing Company), and made the mass-production of the revolver commercially viable for the first time.

Colt’s first two business ventures ended in disappointment. His first attempt at manufacturing firearms in Paterson, New Jersey, occurred during an economic crisis in the US leading to poor sales, and was further hampered by his mismanagement and reckless spending. His next attempt at arms making, underwater mines for the US Navy, failed due to lack of US Congressional support. After the Texas Rangers ordered 1,000 of his revolvers during the American war with Mexico in 1847, his business expanded rapidly. His factory in Hartford built the guns used as sidearms by both the North and the South in the American Civil War, and later his firearms were credited in taming the western frontier. A second plant in London closed after four years because of poor sales to the British military.

Colt died in 1862, before the end of the Civil War, as one of the wealthiest men in America. The company he founded is still in business as of 2012. In 1867, his widow, Elizabeth Jarvis Colt, commissioned the building of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Hartford as a memorial to him and is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2006, Colt was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Colt’s manufacturing methods, directed at beating his competition, were at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. He was one of the first industrialists to successfully employ the assembly line due to his use of interchangeable parts. Beyond building arms, his innovative use of art, celebrity endorsements and corporate gifts to promote his wares made him a pioneer in the fields of advertising, product placement and mass marketing. He received criticism during his lifetime and after his death for promoting his arms through bribes, threats and monopoly. Historians have stated that his patents acted as an impediment to arms production during his lifetime, and that his personal vanity kept his own company from being able to produce a cartridge firearm until 10 years after his death when a patent, filed by a gunsmith he had fired, Rollin White, expired in 1872.