Coconut Macaroons

A type of macaroon which has coconut as the primary ingredient. They are descended from the Scottish macaroon, and the typical almond-based macaroon. Coconut macaroons are made by mixing fourteen ounces of shredded coconut, with fourteen ounces of sweetened condensed milk, and one fourth teaspoon of kosher salt. Separately, one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and two extra large egg whites are whisked together in a mixing bowl at high speed until it becomes a meringue with medium stiff peaks. The meringue is then carefully folded into the coconut mixture before being molded into multiple small circles about one and three fourths and inch in diameter on a cookie sheet and baked at three hundred and twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit for twenty-five to thirty minutes.


Once done, these small cake like pastries are topped with other ingredients such as honey, vanilla, cinnamon, glace cherries or even given a chocolate coating. Coconut macaroons often dipped in chocolate such as: milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate. Nuts are sometimes mixed into to coconut macaroons such as: almonds, pecans, or even cashews. In Australia, it is common to enjoy coconut macaroon with a dab of fruit jam. Sometimes glacé cherries are concealed in the center of the macaroon before being cooked. In the Dominican Republic, macaroons are very dark because the grated coconut is mixed with ginger, and cinnamon. In Puerto Rico, coconut macaroons are called besitos de coco which means “little coconut kisses” in Spanish. A few variations of besitos de coco are made with lemon zest, and vanilla added into the mix.


Macaroons, themselves, have been appearing in cookbooks since 1725, but have been claimed to be around from as early as the 1500s. The name of Macaroons derives from the Italian word maccarone which means “paste”. This most likely refers to the texture of the dough after the almonds and other ingredients are crushed into extremely small slivers. Over the years, coconut was included with the ground almonds and eventually replaced them to create a different variety of macaroons. The coconut macaroon is known as congolais or le rocher à la noix de coco in French.


Macaroons made from coconut are very popular and can be found and sold in the United States, Mauritius, the United Kingdom, Australia, The Netherlands, Germany, and Uruguay. The coconut macaroon is the best known variety found in America and are commercially made to be dense, moist, and sweet with toppings often including honey, granulated or powdered sugar and even dipped in chocolate. Homemade macaroons are commonly light and fluffy. Macaroons made with coconuts are piped out with a star shaped tip, while macaroons made with nuts are shaped individually because of the toughness of the dough.


Since macaroons tend to lack wheat, flour, and other leavening ingredients, the pastries are often consumed and enjoyed during the eight-day observation of the Passover in many Jewish homes. Since macaroons are leavened with egg whites instead, they don’t need flour. It is said that coconut macaroons were made accidently when a man in Scotland tried to make macaroons and felt that he had ruined it. He tried to cover up his mistake by throwing on the top of his pastries toasted coconuts and claiming this inclusion was planned all along. This later inspired for the inclusion of coconut into the macaroon batter to create the modern day coconut macaroon.


In conclusion, coconut macaroons was an experiment when being made, just like it’s predecessor before it, and is one of the best dessert to grace this world. Of course, that is all my opinion seeing as how they are my favorite pastries. Just goes to show what a tasty mistake they turned out to be.

Pumpkin Ales

Only seen as a seasonal item, Pumpkin Ales are released around the fall and winter times. Each is brewed differently, yet most are spiced with seasonings such as pumpkin pie spice, ground ginger, nutmeg cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Some brewers like to add chunks of pumpkin inside the mash, while others use puree or pumpkin flavorings and extracts. The Ale itself is normally mild with little to no bitterness. Varying on what it is spiced with several are more malty than others. Many will contain a starchy, slightly thick-ish, mouthfeel too. The Top five brands of Pumpkin Ale are Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Cigar City Good Gourd, New Belgium Pumpkick, and Timmermans Pumpkin Lambicus.

Hors D’Oeuvre

French for “outside the work”, hors d’oeuvres are commonly served in very small, bite-sized portions as an appetizer before a meal or sampler for food-consorts. Usually served on a large dish held by a waiter, butler or even in a buffet table. Because they can consist of meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, vegetables, grains, pasta, fruits baked goods and sauces; there is no end to the possibilities when creating a treat.

There are savory and sweet hors d’oeuvres as well as coming in hot or cold. Generally cold hors d’oeuvres can be divided into five ranged categories based on preparation, ingredient or presentation. The different styles include: canapés, crudités, dips, caviar, sushi and sashimi.

The Guidelines for preparing hors d’oeuvres consist of four mainly. They should be small and consumed in one to two bites. They should be flavorful as well seasoned without being overpowering. They should be visually attractive. They should complement whatever foods may follow without duplication their flavors.

Canapés are tiny open-faced sandwiches, classically. Constructed from a base, a spread and about one or two garnishes, there are many modern interpretations to the style. The most common canapé base is a thin slice of bread cut into an interesting shape, like a triangle or crescent, and toasted.

Central Plains

Consisting of the states in the Great Plains of the United States such as: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.  The region’s major trade areas became areas for America’s first breweries that started the great beer industry before the decline during the Prohibition of 1920. After the ban ended, only 400 of the original breweries survived and were able to reopen for business.

With the expansion of the railroads, more land was developed in the Central Plains. Many cattle were herded out of Texas and settle to the vast grass lands of Central Plains’ towns. New breeds of cattle were developed that could withstand the hard conditions and fattened nicely on plains grasses as well as making them easier to ship east. Ranching became a booming business.

Major grain that came out of the Central Plains was Corn and Wheat which could be used for a vast majority of things like fuel, feed and byproducts. Popular meals include: Roasted Beet and Pickled Rhubarb Salad, Pork Medallions with Pears and Herbed Israeli Couscous, Sautéed Green Beans, Wisconsin Cheddar and Beer Soup, Morel Mushrooms with Spinach, Planked Whitefish with Green Onion Butter, and Molasses Cookies.

New England

New England is the North Eastern region of the United States and is made up of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. With these states being along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, it is very common to see seafood being incorporated into their dishes.

Among the many varieties of seafood found, it is the Atlantic Cod and Maine Lobsters that are among the most popular there. The species of Cod has a very early history dating back from settlement times and is recognized as a symbol of the region’s natural heritage. Live Maine lobsters are very abundant and can be available year-round. The legal size to catch a lobster for consumer eateries is 1 pound with ranges from a minimum of 3 ¼ inches and not beyond 5 inches.

Popular dishes include: New England clam chowder, which had four distinct variations in the recipe depending on the State it is made in; Roast Turkey Roulades, Boston Baked Beans; Peach and Blueberry Cobbler. It is common to have dishes that are made in one pot dating back to colonial times and it had become even more common-place with immigration coming in the early 1800s.

There are two ocean currents that meet in the region which help cultivate the growing fish industry. The Grand Bank is where these two currents meet and help produce a number of cod, swordfish, scallop and lobster. From the cold Labrador Current and the warm Gulf Stream this place has become the most productive fisheries in the world.


Louisiana has many cultural influences upon it from it’s long history of being occupied by Native American, French, Spanish, German, English, African and Italian settlements. These people have blended together to create two distinct but similar styles: Cajun and Creoles.

Cajun cooking has been described as country cooking and tends to have a robust and earthy taste. Such foods popular in Cajun cuisine include Gumbo, Chicken Maquechoux and Cajun Omelet. It is mostly based on food that is indigenous to the area and features mostly one-pot meals with a hefty variety of ingredients. The term Cajun applies to both a geographical area and the people who come from it. Cajun people are well known for their hospitality.

Creole cooking began in New Orleans and is considered the city food of Louisiana. It was created by sharing cooking styles and is more sophisticated and complex than Cajun cooking. The word Creole was first given to new arrivals from Europe who were generally wealthy and educated as well as bringing many European customs and traditions. Creole foods include the Muffuletta, Creole Jambalaya and Beignets.

There is many hunting to be made profitable in Louisiana setting from the early 1700s and 1800s. There is many opportunities to catch wild turkey, duck, partridge and quail as well as fishing for catfish. Coming from both freshwaters and pond raised this species of fish is very abundant.


In Hawaii, there is a chain of 132 islands that extend for more than 1500 miles. Out of these many islands, there are eight main island called: Hawaii; Maui; Oahu; Kauai; Molokai; Lanai; Nihau; and Kahoolawe. Inhabiting these islands are the native Polynesian people whom came from early on as well as people from Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese ancestry and those from the United States after becoming one with the Union.

During the early 1700s, the Hawaiian Islands were ruled by four chiefs until the late 1780s when Kamehameha I became the sole ruler and united all islands. With this Hawaii became a Kingdom that had established trade with other counties and prospered as it grew. It was until 1893 when Queen Liliuokalani was removed from the throne by U.S. and European landowners that the monarchy ended.

Early Polynesian natives brought in foods such as taro, breadfruit, coconuts, sweet potatoes, sugarcane pineapples and bananas to the islands. They also introduced small pigs that grew very widely along the islands. It is with these ingredients that Hawaii food became distinct. Pork, pineapples and bananas can be incorporated into any cuisine and are used in abundance in traditional meals such as Grilled Ono with Pinapple Chutney and Saimin with Teriaki Meat Sticks. Other popular dishes come from the local fishing industry that catching a vast majority of wild fish to make meals including: Deep Fried Calamari Salad, Ahi Tuna, and Caramelized Salmon.

Belarussian Hospitality

The Republic of Belarus is located west of Russia, above Ukraine and below the Baltic nations of Lithuania and Latvia as well as the neighbor to Poland. Agriculturally, they are very well at growing grain, potato, vegetables, sugar beet, flax and their meat and dairy industry is in the high. Currently the people of this nation can be described as kind, friendly and good humored. They can claim their patience comes from a darkened history of endless wars in which they were in the crossfire of and had to participate in.

Settlements can be traced far back in the beginnings of Belarus, but it wasn’t until the 13th century that wars began to divide the people amongst its neighbors. An especially damaging time in their life was during 1569-1795 in which the region was known as Rcecz Pospolita. During these times the citizens were forced to participate in a war with Russia during 1600s followed by the North war in 1700. This led to a weakening that made it easy to loose provinces to other nations such as Russia, Austria and Prussia.

In line with the Russian Empire, the parts of Belarus that were under this influence were intirated to take up Russian culture and traditions. Many conflicts followed suit including: revolt under Tadeusz Kostushko’s leadership, Napoleonic invasion of Russia, Polish revolt, and a great rebellion headed by Kastus Kalinovski. After many more hardships, the nation of Belarus was formed when it’s people declared independence in March 1918.

It wasn’t until the beginning of the New Year in 1919 that the country renamed itself as the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic and fell in line with the USSR during the following years like many other eastern European countries. In the 1930s, famine brought about from soviet economic policy lead to a collective farming known as Kolkhoz which resembled America’s Great Depression in the use of over farming. The nation was bitter about the suffering of its people caused by the Great Purge, but attitudes changed at the start of the Second World War. It was during these times that Belarus became the battlegrounds between the red army and the German Nazi party. The capital of Minsk was turned into a large ghetto known as Tuchinki where many of its native Jews, as well as German and Czech Jews, were executed in masses. By the End of July in 1944 a movement known as Operation Bagration saw the liberation of the Belarusian SSR by the Red Army from German occupation.

Joining the United Nations in 1945, Belarus took part in bringing cultural understanding throughout the world, dispirit being a member of the Soviet Party. Horror occurred when the neighboring Chernobyl suffered a nuclear reactor disaster which lead to the pollution of large areas of Belarusian territories. This made farming harder on the citizens, but they were able to overcome it. By 1991, the official namesake of the country became the Republic of Belarus with the dissolution of the Soviet Union soon to follow months later. It wasn’t until policies were put in place that the country entered a democratic form of government and its first president Alexander Lukashenko whom was inaugurated on June 20, 1994. The day of independence was shortly moved to July 3 in which was the day Belarus was liberated from Nazi invaders during the Great Patriotic War.

After going through so much, it is great to see culture bloom in the country. With wildlife such as elks, deer, wild boar, beavers and wolves to roam about, it is easy to understand how traditions are able to keep up. Belarusian national cuisine has evolved over the centuries. A mix of simple recipes used by commoners and sophisticated cuisine of nobility, extensive use of local ingredients and unusual way of cooking makes up the culinary taste. Old recipes have managed to survive to present day and is a local treat for visitors. Restaurants serve food ranging from “peasant cuisine of the countryside” to “elaborate dishes for Belarusian magnates” to give a full experience to any unsuspecting traveler. Traditional dishes are served at farmsteads that use only fresh farm produce to make the dishes which are often common only for a particular area. Here they bake bread to old recipes and technologies, cook homemade meat delicacies, cheese from cow or goat’s milk, and sweets made of honey, apples and cranberries.

As previously implied, the two main factors that lead to the way food is served today come from both active farming and extensive use of local produce, as well as influences from neighboring countries and migrant settlers. Since the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania the national culinary traditions have been a mix of Baltic, Slavic, Jewish and partly German cuisines. Therefore, the Belarusian cuisine is one of the most diverse in the continent. It is similar to the Russian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, but is unique in its own way, is hearty and delicious. In the old days, each social class had its own gastronomic traditions. Therefore the Belarusian cuisine was divided into peasants and high nobility cuisines.

There are special features that distinguish the Belarusian cuisine from culinary traditions of many other countries. For example, the Belarusian cuisine is characterized by quite complicated and lengthy processing of products. It includes such methods as braising, stewing, baking, cooking, blanching and roasting, with several of them being used in some recipes. Many national dishes require various kinds of flour made of oats, buckwheat, peas, rye and their mixtures. The Belarusian cuisine offers a great variety of dishes made from vegetables. Many of them are unique despite the fact that they are based on traditional Slavonic recipes. The pride of the national cuisine is traditional Belarusian bread baked with the use of rye flour. Instead of yeast Belarusians used a special leaven. Belarusian bread is heavier and is a bit sour. In old recipes different additives were used like caraway seeds, linseeds and sunflower seeds. Bread was sometimes baked on the ‘pillow’ made from birch and oak leaves.

Today’s restaurants offer modern intake on traditional Belarusian dishes which reflect original ideas of chefs and principles of Grande cuisine, which takes into account the diversity of products and seasonal changes. The main changes that the Belarusian cuisine underwent in the 20th century were that wheat flour and dishes from it became very popular and that salads became quite common.


Switzerland is a country that is small in size and lodged in the middle of several larger countries making its culture more blended. The main themes to be established in its cuisine take notes from German, French and Italian rules. In the southern part’s, polenta and risotto are very popular while west of that French dominates leaving the north to German ancestry. These three may be on the main course, but are not the sole participant’s in Switzerland’s dinner table. The country prefers to have a mix of cultures from other neighboring countries and to diverse its pallet. The three dishes created solely by the nation and is a specialty there are Fondue, Chocolate, and Raclette.

The etiquette that must take place varies typically between German, French and Italian, but all come with certain rules before taking place. First the guest is expected to bring a gift such as chocolate or wine from a local place. Since the drinking age is sixteen, alcohol is very common to have at a meal, so be prepared to drink out of curtesy. Dinner is very formal so one must dress nicely and use extremely good table manners. When at the table it is important to remember to greet everyone properly with a firm handshake, including children, before being seated. The middle of the table is reserved for the place of honor when seating instead of at the head or next to the host.

There should be no elbows on the table, yet arms only are fine. It is important that you do not drink until the toast is made, which you should be sure to clink glasses with everyone in reach without getting up from the seat. Because the Swiss have a high approval for trying something new, it is important to try a little bit of everything on the table. Be mindful of the amount you serve yourself because it is very rude to leave any food behind on the plate.

When finished, place knife and fork parallel to each other and pointing to the right while being directly in the middle of the plate. If you wish to ask for seconds set the utensils as an “X” on the plate with fork pointed left. The Swiss tend to be very direct in responses so try not to beat around the bush. Topics to avoid, however, are religion and salary since no one wants anyone to feel uncomfortable in regards to either. When at a restaurant, it is important to not leave any money on the table. One should hand cash over to the sever for the bill with the tip included and to be very clear on how much you are paying for each, so they know how much to bring back in change. It is common for the tip to be at ten percent and is usually included in the bill.

When dining on a German meal it is important to avoid eating with hands as well as keeping arms away from resting on the lap. When presented with a majority French meal, one must include the above, but also remember to wait for host to say when to ear as well as to not chew with mouth open. A napkin is to be on the lap and you must expect second or even third helpings. When given an Italian meal, there is not as many restrictions as the other two but you have to leave your glass half full when you are done and stay at the table until everyone is finished. With either meal eaten, the Swiss enjoy having a wine or other alcohol selection chosen.


In life, there comes times when we are asked to be creative. It can vary from a literal art project, a battle strategy or even making a decision on what you are going to eat. A lot of people like to say that they are not creative. That they lack the skill or can’t make those kinds of imagery. In truth, creativity is not something you can either have or not have. It’s in one’s DNA. That’s right, basic genetics! When you wake up in the morning and put on a shirt, you are making the creative choice to match that shirt with any other attire you choose to wear. Creativity is in choice. In movement. In the way we communicate to one another and when we choose not to. Creativity connects to Art and Art connects to Expression. When we are making choice on how to live life, we are being creative in our own design. So here’s the cheesy part of it… Creativity is Life! Be yourself; create yourself.