Blogs, Creative Writing, Uncategorized

National Smile Day! :)

What’s in a smile?

Merriam-Webster defines the facial muscle responsible for producing a smile (zygomaticus major) as :  “a slender band of muscle on each side of the face that arises from the zygomatic bone, inserts into the orbicularis oris and skin at the corner of the mouth, and acts to pull the corner of the mouth upward and backward when smiling or laughing.”

I’ll not go into how many muscles are used to smile versus a frown. There’s seems to be conflicting data relating to that question.

What I can say from experience is that smiling seems to be infectious. Have you ever walked into a public place and made eye contact with someone who was smiling? Does noticing a person smiling cause you to grin or smile? I’m not sure what the phenomenon is, but it’s truly a thing that happens. It may be that those of us that can relate to smiling in response to seeing a smile want to share in the joy. Sharing in others joy is something the world could use more of, in my opinion. Our need to share in another’s joy could be on a conscious or unconscious level. Or, it may be as simple as enjoying the view. If only for a moment, our smiles make us feel better. Walk into a place with people laughing hysterically and I dare you not to put on a grin or start laughing yourself. I’m sure there are people that would be unmoved by the previous scenario above. “Variety is the spice of life….” as William Cowper was quoted.

Have you ever been mildly upset and have someone try to make you smile? There are all sorts of medical data available related to smiling causing a reduced stress response. Check out the article on Medical News Today.

I’ve heard and read over the years that laughing adds time to human life. Whether that information is factual or not, the laughing starts with a SMILE.

By the way, Happy National Smile Day!  Enjoy 😊!

R. H. W.  Dorsey  © 5/31/2019

https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/zygomaticus%20major

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248433.php

yellow plush toy

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Blogs, Creative Writing, Recipes, Uncategorized

National Pound Cake Day

 

 

 

NATIONAL POUND CAKE DAY

 

Today, March 4th is National Pound Cake Day among other named days. *

According to my journal, I last baked the pound cake noted below in the Spring of 2017. I was living away from my home state temporarily at a Fisher House in the state of Virginia. A close family member was recuperating in a hospital at the time. A lady I’d met months before at the house gave me this recipe. I’d made pound cakes for years with a sour cream addition. The variation of using heavy whipping cream instead was a recipe I was eager to try. The cake turned out well, and I must admit other people at the house thought the same.

I’ve lived in the northeastern United States my entire life. My time in Virginia on that trip lasted close to a year. I had the pleasure of learning the so-called ‘southern hospitality’ was a real thing. The Fisher House was a home away from home. It was always a delight to get a warm welcome from a house guest after a long and sometimes emotional day at the hospital. Most houseguests got a chance to return the favor in kind. I’d have to say it was rare that there wasn’t prepared meals, snacks and fresh baked goods waiting for the guests at the end of their day. Houseguests and staff alike shared in the hospitality that made the time at the house bearable as the hospital patients recuperated.

I don’t have nutritional information for this scratch recipe. And hey, do you really want to know anyway?

So, in the spirit of National Pound Cake Day, here’s my contribution.

(*By the way, today is also National Hug a G.I. Day. My G.I. has been hugged today and he loved the pound cake!) 😊

 

Whipping Cream Pound Cake

Ingredients:

5 or 6 eggs

½ pint heavy whipping cream

2 sticks of softened butter

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 cups cake flour

2 ¾ cups granulated sugar

 

(A Bundt pan can be used for this recipe, but I use the tube pan to get better results for this heavy cake)

Grease a large tube pan with a light layer of shortening and dust with flour.

(Notes: I used 5 eggs, the original recipe called for 3 cups of sugar; this makes a large cake – if desired, a reduction by half in the ingredients would make a smaller loaf pound cake)

 

DIRECTIONS                                                                 

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs (preferably room temperature) one at a time beating each into the mixture, then repeat the process with each egg.

Add the vanilla extract.

Stir in equal amounts of flour, then whipping cream and stir. Repeat adding whipping cream and flour until the last amount of flour is mixed into the batter.

Bake at 300 degrees F. for 1 hour 45 minutes (I preheated the oven for only 5 minutes or less before baking)

Check for doneness with a toothpick or clean butter knife.

round bread
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Blogs, Uncategorized

National Clam Chowder Day

seashells in a bag

Photo by julie aagaard on Pexels.com

 

Today, January 25th is National Clam Chowder Day. I promised on a blog post last year that I’d revisit the subject of National Days. Better late than never, I always say. The 25th of February is also National Chocolate Covered Nut Day. I prefer chocolate covered nuts much more than clam chowder, but I learned clam chowder was a more interesting subject.

Are you aware that clam chowder has over nine variations? I mean, who knew? Maybe clam chowder lovers were aware, but not I. Not being a huge clam chowder fan, I can say that I’ve eaten clam chowder at times throughout the years. As a child and into adulthood, I only knew about two types of clam chowder: Manhattan and New England. I always preferred the Manhattan chowder for its tomato base and flavor.

Why does clam chowder deserve a special day? While I can’t answer the question, I believe the issue is not as subjective as I’d originally thought. National ‘Singles Awareness Day’ was observed just last week. If you’re single, aren’t you aware of it every day of the year? If you’re single by choice, shouldn’t you celebrate it every day? Maybe ‘National Singles Day’ would be a better term. Semantics, I know. National ‘Fun at Work Day’ is observed later this week. I wonder how many employers will buy into making the work day ‘fun’ for employees without sacrificing their bottom line? A day of fun at work is possible for some professions, though. When you consider there are ‘National Days’ slated for just about anything, naming a day for a chowder with multiple variations might be reasonable.

Besides New England and Manhattan clam chowder, I’ve read about variations of clam chowder named Rhode Island, Delaware, New Jersey, Hatteras, Minorcan, Long Island, and Puget Sound. It seems the different areas of the United States add or omit ingredients to the chowder, thus giving it a unique name that stuck with the region. While I won’t go into the details of all the variations, I found one interesting variation I’d like to try. Hatteras clam chowder is prepared with celery, carrots, potatoes, onions, and clam juice. My own favorite potato soup recipe has almost all the ingredients of the Hatteras variety, less the clam component.

If nothing else, clam chowder and its many varieties are interesting enough, in my opinion, to have a National Day observance.  My opinion counts – at least on this blog. Personally, as a writer, I’m looking forward to National Tell a Fairy Tale Day tomorrow.

If you like clam chowder, which one is your favorite, and why?

 

 

 

 

References:

https://www.homeandplate.com/blog/2015-2-hatteras-clam-chowder/

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/february/

https://www.ehow.com/info_8355520_different-kinds-clam-chowders.html