Today is November 4

Published 12:52 am Thursday, November 4, 2021

Candy Day

Chocolate wasn’t always the sugar-sweetened dessert people consume today. The history of chocolate dates back to 1900 BC, when Aztecs believed the cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom. Chocolate was made into fermented beverages, and the cacao beans also were used as a form of currency because they held so much value.

According to the History Channel, some ancient civilizations considered chocolate to be a mood enhancer and aphrodisiac. Chocolate was believed to have mystical properties and was revered so much that it was reserved for rulers, warriors and priests.

It was not until centuries later that edible chocolate became popular among the masses. Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten invented the cocoa press, which could turn extrude cocoa butter, paving the way for the modern age of chocolate as a confectionary ingredient and gift.

Choosing the right type of chocolate may require gaining an understanding of various chocolate-related terms.

· Cocoa powder: This is the unsweetened raw form of cocoa made from partially defatted chocolate liquor. Dutch-processed (alkalized) cocoa powder is milder and less acidic than natural cocoa powder.

· Unsweetened chocolate: “Bitter” or “baking chocolate” are other names attributed to unsweetened chocolate. It is best used in baking when it can be combined with sugar and other ingredients. It is also the base ingredient of most forms of chocolate, with the exception of white chocolate.

· Dark chocolate: Chocolate that contains only chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, and lecithin is considered dark chocolate. No milk solids are added in. The higher the percentage on the wrapper, the more bitter the chocolate.

· Milk chocolate: In addition to dark chocolate ingredients, milk chocolate also contains dry milk solids or condensed milk. It is sweet and has a mild chocolate taste.

· Bittersweet and semi-sweet: These chocolates are milder than dark chocolate, but not as sweet as milk chocolate. Many chocolate manufacturers derive their own formulations for these types of chocolate, varying the amount of cocoa solids they include.

· Couverture chocolate: An expensive chocolate, this is coveted by professional bakers or confectioners. It contains a high percent of cocoa butter and chocolate liquor, which helps it to melt evenly. It is ideal for tempering and can coat candies smoothly.

· Ganache: Ganache is a whipped filling, glaze, icing, or sauce that is used in various desserts. It is made by heating cream and pouring over chocolate of any kind. When cooled, it is malleable but not runny, which is why ganache is often used in making candies or fillings.

· Truffle: A chocolate truffle is made from a ball of ganache rolled in cocoa powder. Truffles can be made from any variety of chocolate.

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Preparing for Thanksgiving: Apps

Thanksgiving is a food lover’s paradise. Even though the turkey and side dishes are the crowning achievements on Thanksgiving, hungry guests will need something to tide them over until the pièce de résistance is ready. In such situations, bite-sized appetizers that are tasty yet not too filling can fit the bill.

Charcuterie boards and tasting menus continue to be all the rage. In addition to a platter of fruit slices, figs, aged cheeses and crostini, treat guests to “Mini Cheese Ball Bites,” which offer various textures and flavors in bite-sized morsels. Enjoy this recipe, courtesy of “Spectacular Spreads: 50 Amazing Food Spreads for Any Occasion” (Rock Point) by Meagan Brown.

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Makes 12

8 ounces light cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons drained, chopped pimentos

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Pinch kosher salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup crushed pecans

1/4 cup chopped chives

12 pretzel sticks

In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, cheddar, pimentos, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Place the crushed pecans and chives in a small bowl. Set aside.

Roll the cheese mixture into twelve 1-inch balls. Evenly coat each ball with the pecan-chive mixture. Press a pretzel stick into the top of each cheese ball just before serving. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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On November 4, 1869, Rutgers beat Princeton 6-4 in America’s very first college football game. It was a grudge match precipitated by an 1866 baseball game in which Princeton prevailed in a 40-2 rout. But football was different tin those days; it was played with a soccer ball.
Rutgers’ description of the football game virtually admits the players were engaged in a version of soccer: “The ball could be advanced only by kicking or batting it with the feet, hands, heads, or sides.” (As adapted from the London Football Association.)
The NCAA football record book recognized it as part of college football history until the 1880s; then, a great rugby player from Yale, Walter Camp, pioneered rule changes that slowly converted it to American Football.
The Hall of Fame provides another piece of American football history; John Brallier, a quarterback at Indiana College in Pennsylvania became the first “pro football player” when he accepted “$10 and ‘cakes’ (expenses) to play for the Latrobe, PA, town team against neighboring Jeannette on September 3, 1895.
The Grateful American Book Prize recommends How Football Became Football: 150 Years of the Game’s Evolution by Timothy P. Brown