Wednesday, February 12, 2014

National Plum Pudding Day - Feb. 12th; Chef Tre Wilcox

Chef Tre Wilcox
Wilcox was a contestant on Top Chef: Miami when he was 30, after working in fast food kitchens as a teenager, working his way up with hard work and determination. He's been nominated for the Rising Star Chef award twice. He is a private chef and gives cooking demonstrations, with experience as executive chef at Marquis Grill in Texas. When he's not in the kitchen, he's working out at the gym, dedicated to fitness and healthy living, in the kitchen and out of it.

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February 12th is Plum Pudding Day... even though it's not Christmas (and this is traditionally an English Christmas dish), and it doesn't actually contain plums, but raisins, which are sometimes called "plums"... it's odd, you can read more about it here.

Another language oddity is the use of "mango" in reference to a sweet bell pepper. It's something I heard my own grandmother use, though I'm not sure how common that usage still is. According to The Word Detective, it comes from a time when pickled mangoes (the tropical kind) were introduced to the American colonies, from the East Indies. Pickled, because they wouldn't have made the slow-boat ship to North America without rotting. Soon, other pickled items came to be known that way, and a cookbook in 1699 referred to "a mango of cucumbers." "Mango" was even used as a verb (in place of "to pickle") in the 18th century.

If you come across any unusual word usages like that when you're compiling recipes, be sure to include modern translations for future generations! (And if you're insatiably curious, you can try to find the origin of the usage online, like I did for mango!)

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