What You Need to Know about Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrated every 5th of May in the United States, gives us a chance to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage, and gives an opportunity for some to indulge in margaritas. But have you ever wondered how it came about or what it is? What exactly is Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo 101
Most non-Mexicans believe that Cinco de Mayo is the day Mexico won her independence.1 But, Mexicans celebrate their independence day on September 16, gained 50 years before the Battle of Puebla.2
Cinco de Mayo remembers the Mexican victory against French on May 5, 1862. The French, led by Emperor Napoleon III, invaded Mexico at Veracruz in 186,1 with an intention of establishing dominance in Mexico to favor French interests.2 Mexico also defaulted on war debts to European nations, and France determined to gather up their debt.1
The French army moved from Veracruz toward Mexico City after beating the Mexican government into retreat.1 President Benito of Mexico then mobilized 2,000 men to fight the 6,000 French troops just outside of the city of Puebla, where they overpowered the French troops into retreat.2 The well-trained and well-armed French suffered defeat d after losing nearly 500 soldiers; yet fewer than 100 Mexicans died. This victory symbolized Mexican unity, determination, and victory.2
Cinco de Mayo in Mexico
Despite this day being well known in America, Cinco de Mayo is only a holiday in Puebla and Veracruz. But other parts of the country commemorate the Cinco de Mayo with military parades, reenactments of the battle of Puebla, and other festive events. 2
Cinco de Mayo in the US
In the United States, the celebrations of Mexican culture and heritage take place majorly in American cities with large Hispanic populations: Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.2 Other states, too, with non-Hispanic populations celebrate Cinco de Mayo.1 It is marked with parades, music, and Mexican traditional foods like tacos and pinto beans.2 Pinto beans are a staple of the Mexican diet, as a side dish, a filling for tacos, or by themselves. It's also an excuse to drink margaritas and indulge in delicious Mexican food. Come on: Let’s try these amazing Mexican recipes.
Pinto Beans Pizza
Mash our cooked pinto beans and spread on the pizza dough; then, you can add your favorite pizza fillings. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, just put the beans on without meat and add some veggies. If you wish to add some meat, add ground beef to your bean crumble.4
Pinto Bean Falafel
Mash our pinto beans together with crushed tortilla chips and cheese. Shape the bean mixture to form patties, and pass them through egg whites, and then shallow fry them in a skillet over medium heat until browned. Tuck them into with a guacamole spread, made from mashed avocado and topped with onions and greens.5
Fry our pinto beans with garlic, cumin, and chili powder over medium heat. Mash the bean mixture for your desired texture. Squeeze lemon juice over the mixture and serve.6
Pinto beans are versatile and make delicious meals, and our refried bean mix (which uses pinto bean flake) makes our mouths water! Be sure to scoot over to our site to buy our instant dried pinto beans (refried bean mix), and try out these delicious recipes to celebrate Mexican culture during Cinco de Mayo!
Independence Day: The HistoryIndependence Day commemorates our independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776 1 as we declared ourselves a sovereign nation and no longer a colony of the British Empire.1
We've celebrated July 4th as a holiday since 1941, but the tradition of celebrating Independence Day dates back to the 18th century during the American revolution.2
Early July bustles with travel and vacation, as people get ready for the famous three day weekend.1 July 4th is usually characterized by parades, fireworks, family gatherings, and barbecues.2
In April 1775, the Revolutionary War started.. Initially, only few (radical) colonists wanted to fight for independence from Britain; however, the hostility against Britain greatly increased by early 1776, and as the dissatisfaction and restlessness grew, most colonists wanted independence.2
Because of having to pay taxes to England without any representation in Parliament (among other things), the colonists cried out for independence throughout the 13 colonies. When reports of dissatisfaction and anger over the taxation without representation reached King George III, he sent British troops to quell the early signs of rebellion. But, the British failed to stop the rebellion.3
The Continental Congress met on June 7th in Philadelphia, where Richard Henry Lee, the delegate from Virginia, introduced a motion urging for the colonies’ independence. The Continental Congress decided to postpone the vote on Lee’s proposal, because a decidedly debate ensued; however, on July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted for Lee’s resolution for independence with a nearly unanimous vote. 2
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin and Robert R. Livingston - a committee appointed by the Continental Congress - drafted a formal statement justifying the break from Britain.2 Jefferson led the committee in drafting this important document that would change our history forever, 3 and the Continental Congress made few changes to the draft. Adoption of the final version happened July 4, 1776. 3 The next day, distributions of the Declaration of Independence started throughout the colonies, and the Pennsylvania Evening was the first newspaper to print this significant document, seen as the nation’s most cherished symbol of liberty.3
The Continental Congress voted in favor of America attaining independence on July 2, 1776, and only two days later, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the historic document and referred to it as the Declaration of Independence. Since that monumental July 4th, Americans celebrate it as the birth of America’s independence.1
Philadelphia celebrated July 4th with bonfires, ringing bells, and fireworks. Soon, the custom eventually spread to other cities and towns, and the day clamors with processions, games, military gun salutes, picnics, and fireworks.3
In the early years of celebrating the Declaration of Independence, some colonists held mock funerals for King George III - symbolizing the end monarchy in America, and the triumph of liberty.2 Concerts, bonfires, parades, and firing of cannons and muskets were accompanied by reading the Declaration of Independence.3
The political importance of Independence Day has faded over the years; nevertheless, July 4th remains our most significant national holiday and a constant symbol of American Patriotism. Now, the original Declaration of Independence sits in Washington D.C., a testament to the courage and far-reaching vision of our forefathers.
The American flag prevails as a symbol of the July 4th holiday, along with "The Star Spangled Banner." Our anthem endures to this day as a special feature for every Independence Day, and as a tribute at all of our major social, sporting, and political events. Even fireworks displays explode perfectly along with the familiar strains of our national anthem. Usually the fireworks occur later in the evening at parts, town squares, or even over golf courses and lakes. But, some cities put on an extravaganza.
New York has the biggest fireworks display in the USA, held at the East River. Other states with major fireworks displays include Chicago, San Diego, Boston,San Francisco, Washington DC,and St Louis.
Even military bases celebrate with the gun salute, one each for each state: referred to as “Salute to the Union,” fired on Independence Day at noon.
Like with any celebration, food is a significant part of Independence Day: barbecues, potlucks, picnics, and family reunions. People take the opportunity, on July 4th, to gather with relatives and friends and reminisce about the past and the future, while surrounded with the wonderful patriotic red, white, and blue of our precious and wonderful country - America!
Happy Independence Day from us!
History of Freeze DryingFreeze-drying, or lyophilization, is the removal of water from frozen food through a process called sublimation.1 This process is done under a vacuum and low temperatures, and the product freezing solidly during the process.2
Freeze drying removes water from the food to make it last longer. The water's vaporized through the process of sublimation, where water, in solid state, changes directly to vapor, producing a product with controllable moisture.2 It's a perfect way to preserve food, since freeze dried food products don't shrink.3 Freeze dried foods can be stored without cooking or refrigeration. They need no additional flavor or color modification. Freeze dried foods are also light and are ideal for space travel, camping, backpacking, and traveling.1
Freezing - the product frozen to enable low-temperature drying.
Vacuum - placed under vacuum to allow the frozen solvent to vaporize through sublimation: it doesn’t pass through the liquid phase.
Heat - applied to the frozen product to accelerate sublimation.
Condensation - low temperature enforced by the condenser plates to remove the vaporized solvent from the vacuum chamber by converting it back to a solid. This completes the process of separation. The result is a dry product.2
The History of Freeze Drying
Freeze drying origins are traced back to the ancient Peruvian Incas of the Andes in the 15th century. 2 1 They stored their crops, like potatoes, on the mountain heights above Machu Picchu. The cold mountain temperatures froze the food stores, and water gradually vaporized under low pressure because of the high mountain altitudes - freeze drying the food.3 Buddhist monks living on the sacred mountain "Koya" used this technique. They stored tofu in the mountain snow, where the high altitudes and cold winds freeze dried the tofu. 3
In 1905, Benedict and Manning created the first freeze dryer, which dried the blood tissues using a chemical pump.3 In 1910, Shackell modified the basic design of the Benedict and Manning pump to an electrically driven pump to create the required vacuum, instead of the displacement of air with ethyl ether used in the original design.2 In 1934, the US patent was issued to Elser for creating the drying equipment that replaced Shackell’s design with a cold trap chilled with dry ice.3
Modern Freeze Drying
In the 1940s during World War 2, freeze drying took on the modern method, due to the need for blood.3 The blood sent to Europe from the US for the medical treatment of wounded soldiers required refrigeration.4 Due to the lack of refrigeration and transport, blood supplies would spoil before arriving at their destination;1 So, more modern freeze drying techniques had to be created to preserve blood plasma, making it possible for the blood to be chemically stable without the need for refrigeration. 2
The medical community implemented freeze drying for penicillin and bone.4 They recognized freeze drying as an important technique for preservation of biological matter.1 A freeze dryer was used, and it had a large chamber for freezing and a vacuum pump for removing moisture.2 From then on, freeze drying became a preservation technique for pharmaceuticals and food.1 Since the 1960s, over 400 different types of freeze dried foods have been produced commercially using freeze drying.2 NASA adopted this technique in 1968, and created freeze dried ice cream.
Freeze dried coffee outruns all other freeze dried products in popularity. 2 First produced in 1938 by Nestle after Brazil requested the company to help them find a solution to the coffee surplus, Nescafe, an instant coffee powder, debuted in Switzerland. It paved the way to the production of powdered food products.2
Freeze drying evolves continually. More products pop up more every year, because freeze drying's popularity has grown for a variety of different foods and flavors. They retain their natural composition, and the integrity of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients.
Mother's Day: The Origin Of Mother's DayEvery year, in May, people all over the world shower mothers with gifts, love, gratitude, and appreciation; however, the dates vary in different parts of the world. While some countries follow the USA’s Mother’s Day Celebration of every second Sunday of May, other countries celebrate Mother's Day on March 8th, alongside the International Women’s Day.1 I bet you celebrate Mother’s Day every year, but do you know its origin?
Mother’s Day in America and Mothering Sunday in the UK and Ireland has surprising roots.1 Curious about how the day came about? Read on to find out more.
The earliest history of Mother’s Day originates from time of the Greeks and Romans.1 The ancient Greeks celebrated Rhea, the mother of gods and goddesses, with worship festivals every spring. On the other hand, the Romans celebrated Cybele, a mother goddess, every March during a spring festival called Hilaria as early as 250BC. During the festival that lasted for three days, they made offerings to Cybele and held parades, games, and masquerades.2
The origin of Mothering Sunday
In England, early Christians honored the Virgin Mary during a festival on every every fourth Sunday of Lent, also now known as Mothering Sunday since the 16th century.2
As Christianity grew, the celebration changed to honor their mother church, a church playing a vital role in moulding their Christian journey.1 During this period in England, most people worked far from their homes as domestic servants or as apprentices, and they would get a day off to visit their mother churches. The Christian faithfuls would go back to their mother church for a special service loaded with offerings of gratitude.3
Like many other traditions beginning with a religious purpose, the Mothering Sunday tradition evolved into secular culture where children now celebrate their mothers by giving them gifts and flowers as tokens of love and appreciation.4
During the prayer service, as an honor to the Virgin Mary, children brought flowers and gifts to celebrate their mothers, along with Mothering Cakes, given to each mother.3 Thus, Mothering Sunday evolved into a permanent tradition on the calendar. Although the tradition began to lose popularity by 1935, it revived after World War Two. Americans and Canadians found a new meaning of celebrating Mother’s Day while they were away at war. The British and other Europeans followed suit and celebrated their mothers, too.4 Since then, Mother’s Day means something significant on the UK calendar.
Origin of Mother’s Day
Conceived by Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis, an activist and social worker, she expressed her wish to have a special day to celebrate women, especially mothers.2 Unfortunately, she died before it came to fruition. Later on, her daughter, Anna Jarvis, resolved to make her mother’s wish come true in honor of her mother.2 At that time, there was a widespread negligent attitude toward elderly Americans, and alongside her supporters, they wrote letter campaigns to business people and leaders to declare a national Mother’s Day celebration to appreciate mothers, both living and dead.3 The hard work and determination paid off when President Woodrow announced the second Sunday in May as an official holiday in the US in 1914.3
Anna Jarvis is recognized as the mother of Mother’s Day, because of how hard she worked to bestow honor and appreciation to all mothers.3 Due to the significance of Mother’s Day, some saw the opportunity to make money. Anna, disappointed about the commercialization, tried to reverse the commemoration of the day. She conducted extensive campaigns against people who profited from the Mother’s Day celebration, like charities and florists. She disowned the holiday and spent most of her personal wealth in legal battles. Unfortunately, she died in 1948 an unhappy person.1
Currently, Mother’s Day is celebrated in many countries in the world, besides the USA and UK: India, Italy, Mexico, Australia, etc.2 In the USA, mothers receive gifts and flowers and a day off from household chores and cooking.4 Did you that in the USA, Mother’s Day has the highest sales for flowers and cards?1 Did you also know that most phone calls are made on Mother’s Day, more than any other day in the USA? Chats with moms often cause phone traffic spikes, by as much as 37%.4
Mother’s Day presents an excellent opportunity to set aside a day to celebrate and appreciate the mothers in our lives. What are you planning for Mother’s Day this year? Take time to get gifts and cards to show the mother figures in your lives how much you appreciate their important role in your life.