YUMMY FOOD, DELIVERED: The History of Hickory Farms

Don’t you just love Christmas whenever you hear of the name of Hickory Farms?!

Before I begin, I would very much like to ask any of you bloggers and blog followers a question: Have you ever received a food gift for Christmas, or are planning on buying such a gift for your loved ones this year? Whatever you plan on doing so, you can thank good ‘ol Hickory Farms for that, because they have been making Christmas all the more delicious since the company was first established in Chicago, Il, in 1951…
A man by the name of Richard Ransom began to sell out hand-cut cheese at local fairs that year when he got started on the company. Today, Hickory Farms became a company that specializes in gift boxes of cheese and other foods, as well as baskets of sweets, summer sausage, fruit, nuts, and cheese; Hickory Farms has since composed of 550 shopping mall-based kiosks throughout the United States and Canada; Those kiosks are operated throughout the holiday season.
In 2008, despite the fact that it was during a time of economic concern, Hickory Farms redesigned its packaging, as well as its retails kiosks and logo, while it has also entered into its partnership with a charity known as Share Our Strength, who has a goal of raising funds as well as awareness to end America’s struggle with childhood hunger.

  If you plan on purchasing a gift from Hickory Farms, then there is a website for that: www.hickoryfarms.com.

CANDY CANE SWEET: The Story of Bob’s Candies


With Christmas being just around the corner, one has to think of all the certain traditions that go along with the holiday; For some, it has to be the ornaments; For others, it has to be the tree, presents, and carols. But for those who enjoy all of the wonderful candies of Christmas, nothing ever comes close to the candy cane. After all, they have been a part of many Christmases since its introduction so many centuries ago. Whether this is true or not, the legend goes that a choirmaster in Cologne, Germany, was trying to find a way to keep the children quiet, because they were making so much noise in his church during a Living Crèche tradition of Christmas Eve…

So he asked a local candy maker to make some sugar sticks for the children; And so, that to justify the practice of giving candy to children during worship services, he asked the candy maker to add the crook to the top of each stick, so that it would help children to remember the shepherds who visited the infant Jesus. Additionally, he used the color of white on the candies so that they would remember of the sinless life of Jesus, according to the Christian belief.
The early candy canes were once made by hand, but in much later years, manufacturing machines have taken over the process; Among those who manufacture candy canes each and every Christmas was a company in which yours truly is about to tell the story of right now, Bob’s Candies.
Founded in Albany, Georgia in 1919 by an investor who goes by the name of Robert E. McCormack, Bob’s Candies was first called Famous Candy Company, but in 1924 McCormack changed the name to Bobs’ Candy Company, which later dropped the apostrophe. Bob’s happens to be the largest manufacturer of striped candy in the world, while McCormack became the very first manufacturer to wrap his candy in cellophane; In 1952, a member of his family would invent a machine for twisting and cutting stick candy, and the very next year Robert McCormack would invent that machine that would bend stick candy into a cane. So, it was with that that the Keller Machine would change the business forever by creating a new industry-Commercially manufacturing candy canes.
Not only does this company make candy canes every Christmas, but Bob’s Candy Company makes and sells such other candies year-round, such as: Cherry Lumps and Sugar-Free Butterscotch Discs.
And so, the very next time you plan on buying candy canes for Christmas, remember the name of Bob’s, why don’t ya?!?


A History Lesson on The Bill of Rights…

(Zentangle(R)-inspired frame art by Jenn Webster)

December 15th is Bill of Rights Day, a day in which the anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights is commemorated; But, you might ask, just what exactly IS the Bill of Rights?! Glad you have asked that question…
The Bill of Rights happens to be the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution; It was created on September 25th, 1789 and was ratified on December 15th, 1791 by James Madison. The amendments of the Bill of Rights add specific guarantees to the Constitution of personal rights as well as freedoms, and clear limitations on the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people.
George Washington, who was America’s first President, had 14 handwritten copies of the Bill of Rights made, one for Congress while another for each of the 13 original states; The copies for the states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York had since gone missing, especially the fact that the New York state’s copy had been destroyed in a fire. The two unidentified copies of the missing four, which thought to be the Maryland as well as the Georgia copies, had survived-One stands at the New York Public Library while the other is standing at the National Archives.

The copy of the Bill of Rights retained by the First Congress has been on display in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., alongside the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and it has been on display since December 13th, 1952. But fifty years later, the casting was showing signs of deterioration, but the documents themselves appeared to be well-deserved. So with that, the casting was updated and the Rotunda had been rededicated on September 17th, 2003; Then-President George W. Bush stated in his dedicatory remarks, “The true (American) revolution was not to defy one earthly power, but to declare principles that stand above every earthly power-the equality of each person before God, and the responsibility of government to secure the rights of all.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15th to be Bill of Rights Day in 1941, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ratification of this historic document; And in 1991, the Virginia copy had a national tour to honor its bicentennial, visiting all of the 50 states’ capitals.
There happens to be a whole lot more ground to cover on The Bill of Rights, so may I suggest that you pay a visit to www.wikipedia.org and look up “Bill of Rights” for more information!

Saint Lucy…as In Lucia

(Illustration by Jenn Webster)

On December 13th, there is a Christian feast day that is celebrated, and I think that this celebration is as meaningful as Christmas itself: It is called the Feast of St. Lucia, or Saint Lucia’s Day, and that day commemorates a third-century martyr by the name of Saint Lucia, and according to legend Saint Lucia “bought food to aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs” using a candle-lit wreath to “light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible”.
The Feast of Saint Lucia coincides with the Winter Solstice, which happens to be the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, and so her feast day has become a Christian festival of light.
There is a traditional story that goes that Lucia was born in the year of 283 of rich and noble parents; Her father, who was of Roman origin, had died when Lucia was only five years of age, and that has left Lucia and her mother without a protective guardian. Later on in life, Lucia was seeking help for her mother’s long-term illness when she went to the shrine of Saint Agnes, and she was in fact cured there, and availing herself of the opportunity, Lucia persuaded her mother to allow her mother to allow her to distribute a great part of her riches among the poor.

Then Lucia had refused to compromise her virginity in marriage and was then denounced to the Roman authorities by the man she would have wed; Legend would later state that she had been threatened to be taken to a brothel if she did not renounce her Christian beliefs, but they were unable to move her. Another story insisted that Saint Lucia was working to help Christians who are in hiding, but in order to take many supplies as possible with her, she would need to have both hands free, so the problem had been solved by attaching candles to a wreath on her head. In the end, although she had remained faithful, it is said that Saint Lucia was beheaded.
Saint Lucia’s Day had become a popular occasion in Sweden, even though it is not exactly an official holiday there; Students hold huge formal dinner parties at many universities as this is the last chance to have fun together before they would go home to their families for Christmas. Meanwhile, a ceremony being venerated on the 13th of December is where a girl had been selected to portray Lucia, thus wearing a white gown with a red sash while wearing a crown of candles on her head; the lights on the candles symbolize the fire that refused to take Saint Lucia’s life when she was sentenced to be burned. She and a procession of women, each holding a candle, sing a Lucia song while entering a room, to the melody of the traditional Neapolitan song, Santa Lucia. A not-so-uninteresting fact: the Italian lyrics describe the view from Santa Lucia in Naples, while the various Scandinavian lyrics have been fashioned for this occasion, which describes the light with which Lucia overcomes the darkness.
Here in the good ‘ol U.S. of A., Saint Lucia Day has become a popular as well as a special thing among Scandinavian Americans, and that celebration has and is still practiced in such different contexts as parties at home, and services in churches.

     Saint Lucia Day is sort of a beautiful prelude to the coming Christmas season; It is still such a wonderful thing to ponder about during this festive season of giving, love, and peace.


“LOOKING RIGHT BACK” (LinkedIn Article)

Read my brand-new article for LinkedIn in which I look back at the goals that I have done throughout the year…

What the Heck is a Secret Santa?!

(Cartoon illustration of Santa by yours truly!)

Even though I have heard this around my food service job, there happens to be word that they are going to have a Secret Santa throughout the holiday season, and when that time is coming, say, close to Christmas, they would give the gifts to whoever name they have chosen to give the gifts to…
So, it is with that that yours truly has just got to find out why the Secret Santa is named as well as how it ever so came to be; I did some searching around, and it came to my conclusion that a Secret Santa happens to be a Western Christmas tradition in which the members of either a community or a group have been randomly assigned a person to whom they give a gift. As for the identity of the gift giver, it is a secret that is to be unrevealed.
Now, for the backstory of how this practice came to be…It derives from the Christian tradition, in which the ritual happens not here in the United States but over across that pond, the United Kingdom to be exact. This American custom is named after that time-honored mystical being that is known as Santa Claus, that certain gift-bringer.

However, it’s not just us here in the U.S. that we have our very own Secret Santa; Other places around the world have that similar tradition, places such as “Kris Kindle” in Ireland, “Angelito” in the Dominican Republic, and in Germany they have something called “Wichtein”; a “Wichtein”, a wight, is someone who does a good deed.
For those who live in South Jersey as well as Southeastern Pennsylvania, there happens to be a different name for Secret Santa, and it is called a “Pollyanna”.
And so, that was how yours truly has found out about the Secret Santa…Maybe I might try this out once my food service co-workers get started on it…

In Celebration of ☕Hot Chocolate Day☕: Hot Chocolate Ideas!

This December the 13th happens to be National Hot Chocolate Day, a day in which we honor that most famous of the winter time drinks; After all, nothing goes with Christmas quite like hot chocolate, right? Whenever the weather get as cold as anything, hot chocolate serves as an emergency beverage-When one drinks it while it is warm/hot, then their bodies become so very warm inside…

To help you celebrate Hot Chocolate Day, yours truly has personally selected these yummy ideas through the courtesy of that ever-so-full-of-ideas website, Pinterest

When it comes to trying a new hot chocolate flavor, you just simply cannot go wrong with: Cookies & Cream Hot Chocolate!
This next idea just happens to be a candy bar lover’s dream: Caramel Marshmallow Hot Chocolate!
For those who like peanut butter, especially Reese’s peanut butter cups, then here is this fun idea: Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate!
And finally, this happens to be the most surprising, as well as fruity, idea when it comes to hot chocolate, so for those who are daring to try this, here it is: Blackberry Hot Chocolate!