Monday, June 22, 2015

Holidays and Observances for June 22 2015

National Chocolate Eclair Day

What does a steam train have in common with a chocolate éclair? According to chef Alton Brown, steam under pressure can either power a train or create the perfect pate a choux. This is critical information to know with today, June 22, designated National Chocolate Eclair Day. When baking the perfect chocolate éclair, sufficient steam is essential to the construction of the inner cavern that will be filled with vanilla cream. Pate a choux- the dough that becomes the outside of the éclair- is the ideal medium for generating that steam.

Eclair" means "lightning" in French, though the reason for naming these desserts after a powerful force of nature has been lost to history.No one knows who invented the éclair although gastronomic researchers suspect royal pastry chef Antonin Careme who lived from 1784 to 1833 may have had a hand in developing them. By 1884, chocolate éclairs had found their way into an American cook book, their first identifiable appearance in this country.

By 2011, of course, chocolate éclairs have found favor in all corners of the globe. Master Chef India pastry experts spent three days constructing a 26 foot tall chocolate éclair pyramid in 2010, taking the world record, according to Limca.

But Swallow Bakery in Chichester, U.K. claims to have baked the largest single chocolate éclair. Its delicacy measured 11 feet, 10 inches in length, and closeted eight pints of double cream. The pastry-making consumed four hours while the filling and finishing touches required one more. Manager Alicia DeLacey said she didn't want to think about the calories. The bakery made the mammoth éclair to fulfill the wishes of a nursing home resident.

Chocolate éclair-making is not without its disasters, of course. Amateur chefs report a fair share of them. The Australian blogger Morse described serious challenges with filling injection that resulted in some pastries being under-filled and some "disturbingly ruptured mid-squirt." He described his finished product as looking like "chocolate coated dead hamster."

Hospitality student Susie found to her dismay that if the oven temperature isn't hot enough, there's no steam magic. The result? Pancake-flats instead of puffed pastry.

Meeta K never did find out why her nicely puffed éclairs went poof during the baking process, but she declared them a disaster and started over.

So it probably is worth taking a few minutes to review the Alton Brown video or read up on the advice of pastry chefs if you're a novice making chocolate éclairs to celebrate National Chocolate Eclair Day.

National Onion Rings Day

National Onion Rings Day is an informal food holiday celebrating onion rings. The little-known, little-publicized holiday falls on June 22. It is not an official holiday recognized by governments or sponsored by a well-known organization or corporation. 

Onion rings are a snack food, fast food, side dish or appetizer made from circles of sliced onion or onion paste, coated in a batter or breading, and fried. They are most well known in Western countries and a few Asian countries, where they are often served as part of fast food meals and sometimes restaurant meals. 

It is not known who originally created onion rings or when. It is known that in 1933 a recipe for onion rings appeared in a Crisco shortening advertisement in The New York Times.

There are many variations in how onion rings are made. They can be made using solid rings of cut onion, while others are made using an onion paste. There is also a great deal of variety in the types of batter used and the seasoning added to it. Recipe variations also exist where the onions are baked or grilled rather than fried. Options such as these can often reduce the fat content of the onion rings, while changes in the batter or breading can still enhance the crispness.

Little is known about where National Onion Rings Day came from or who appointed it. It is possible that the idea was created to fill gaps in food holiday calendars, daily food blogs, or food magazine articles. There may be an origin relating to a manufacturer or retailer of onion rings or a constituent ingredient, but this has not been documented online. 

National Onion Rings Day is only celebrated by those who appreciate this food and enjoy celebrating food holidays, generally in the United States and other Western countries. In some cases there may be promotions or special offers from manufacturers, retailers, or restaurants who wish to capitalize on the holiday.

For those who wish to celebrate National Onion Rings Day, or use it as an inspiration for food ideas, a great variety of onion rings recipes can be found online or in cookbooks. The day can be used as an opportunity to experiment with different onion rings varieties, to create a flavorsome side dish or a stand-alone snack. 

National Onion Rings Day can also be an opportunity to try lower-fat onion rings recipes, such as baked varieties with crispy coatings. 

An example of a special way to feature onion rings on their food holiday could be an appetizer party or get-together, serving onion rings and other canapes.

Stupid Guy Thing Day

Why on earth is there Happy Stupid Guy Thing Day to celebrate the stupid things that guys do, you may ask. The same thing went through my mind. I don't understand it, but I kinda like it. It's funny and silly - and don't you think life's too short to be taken too seriously?

Guys can be tools, can't they? For all the stupid, silly and annoying things that guys do, there is now a date in the calendar to mark it. I'm sure it's not just guys though, girls do silly things don't they? Anywaaaaay...

You don't have to celebrate per se, but you can take the satisfaction, that the world recognizes that guys do some pretty dumb stuff, so much so, that we take a day out of the year, to sit back and think "Guys really can be stupid, can't they?"