By Month > March 2017

Edible Tricks for April Fool's Day

March 17, 2017
April Fool's Day is the one day out of the year when a good practical joke gets a pat on the back. While some food pranks, like a soapy coffeemaker or milk laced with vinegar, are certain to produce a reaction, we'd rather not cause good food to go to waste.

To celebrate April Fool's Day, we've put together a few edible antics. There's something for everyone: from a glass of solid OJ, to chocolates with an unexpected twist. Someone is in for a surprising mouthful.

Solid Juice at Breakfast

Difficulty: Easy

Result: Eye-Opener

Transform a breakfast beverage into something solid by adding gelatin. Follow the instructions on the gelatin package and pour the “juice” into juice glasses. When you serve breakfast in the morning, set out the glasses of juice for the taking, stand by to see what happens.

Lunchbox Lunacy

Difficulty: Varies

Result: Confusion

Imagine opening up a lunchbox at noon, only to find out that your sandwich has sprouted green spots. Really? Mold?

That's one of the many food pranks you can make part of your April Fool's Day tradition. This year, turn the beverage blue with a little food coloring. Next year, try packing some waxed or plastic fruit. The possibilities are endless.

Dessert Grilled Cheese

Difficulty: Medium

Result: Pleasant Surprise

What's better than grilled cheese? Dessert! This yummy food prank might just be the sweetest. Start with a pound cake cut into "bread-like" slices. Next, mix a little orange food coloring into vanilla icing until it has the perfect Velveeta look. Be a sandwich artist. Make as many as you want; how about sandwiches for the classroom or office? Confusion transforms into laughter. Who could be angry?

Mashed Potato Sundae

Difficulty: Medium

Result: Total Confusion

This photographer's trick may not fool everyone, but it's worth a shot. Using an ice cream scoop, place mashed potatoes into your favorite dessert bowl and top it with gravy that mimics hot fudge. The cherry on top will really pull the visual together. Hilarious!

Toothpaste Oreos

Difficulty: Easy

Result: Mild Annoyance

Simply take apart Oreo cookies and replace the filling with plain, white toothpaste. Neatness counts! Never mind that your future credibility will be permanently compromised; it's worth it to see the look on their faces.

Chocolate Surprise

Difficulty: Medium-Hard

Result: Shock

Who can say no to a box of chocolates? This ain't your grandma's Whitman Sampler!

You'll need a box of cherry tomatoes. Wash well and, once completely dry, dip in melted chocolate. If you'd like to leave the chocolates plain, let them dry on a waxed paper surface. Feeling arty? Garnish with kosher salt, flaked coconut or rainbow sprinkles. Imagine the surprise when the expectation of sweet chocolate becomes a burst of tomato juice!

Someone is in for a delicious, but unexpected, edible food prank. Happy April Fool's Day! Read More...

St. Patrick's Day History and Traditions: 8 Facts You May Not Know

March 17, 2017
With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, it's time to break out your best green ensemble.

So what's the real story with St. Patrick? Here are eight surprising facts about St. Patrick's Day.

The real St. Patrick wasn't Irish!!

Contrary to everything your intuition has taught you, St. Patrick was actually English. He was born in Britain around 350 A.D. and probably lived in Wales. History has it that St. Patrick, at age 16, was kidnapped and brought to Ireland where he was sold into slavery. He was a shepherd for about 10 years before escaping to England, and seeking sanctuary in a monastery in Gaul. Thus, began his priesthood, which he later took to Ireland.

St. Patrick originated the Christian Church in Ireland, which angered the Celtic druids. He was arrested several times.

St. Patrick didn't rid Ireland of snakes

Perhaps the most famous legend associated with St. Patrick's Day is that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland during one of his sermons. The story relates that the serpents were driven into the sea, but snakes are not actually found in post-glacial Ireland because of the country's geographical position.

Leprechauns were first mentioned in the 8th century

Belief in leprechauns, a term that comes from the Irish word meaning a “small-bodied fellow,” probably originated as part of the Celtic belief in fairies. According to history, Celtic folktales told stories of tiny men and women with magical powers who were known for their deceptive powers. They probably looked nothing like the boozy, round men in green attire we think of today.

The chance that you'll ever find a four-leaf clover is 1 in 10,000

Those fortunate enough to find a four-leaf clover are said to gain good luck. The shamrock is certainly a popular Irish symbol, but it's not the symbol of Ireland. Note that if you do find a 4-leaf clover, look around the place where you find it. You'll probably find more!

The official color of St. Patrick is actually blue

The history of Saint Patrick's Day says green is the color of choice for the holiday, although several artworks of St. Patrick show him wearing blue vestments. Blue was also commonly used on flags and coats-of-arms to represent Ireland. Green came later, probably as a symbol of the greenness of the “Emerald Isle.”

St. Patrick's Day was a dry holiday in Ireland until about 40 years ago

In fact, Irish law between 1903 and 1970 made St. Patrick's Day a religious holiday for the whole country. Pubs were closed for the day. That law wasn't overturned until 1970. Many believe that the craziness began when Ireland realized that a celebration could boost springtime tourism.

Corned beef and cabbage--the non-traditional tradition

Corned beef and cabbage is thought of as a “traditional” Irish dish and part of the history of Saint Patrick's Day, but its roots only date back to the turn of the 20th century. A dish of corned beef and cabbage is more American than Irish. Early Irish-Americans were poor, beef was a cheaper alternative than traditional bacon, and cabbage happened to be a springtime vegetable.

St. Patrick's Day, as we know it, began in America

In the early days of the U.S., Irish Americans who wanted to celebrate their shared identity started St. Patrick's Day with banquets at elite clubs in cities like Boston, New York and Philadelphia. The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in 1762 and was common by the mid-19th century.

St. Patrick's Day was a relatively minor religious holiday in Ireland until the 1970s.

Irish eyes will be smilin', we'll be singin' Irish tunes and lovin' life on Friday March 17. Read More...

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