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The Most Popular Dessert The Year You Were Born

A Shoofly Pie
[1] 1944: Shoefly Pie (all photos © TasteOfHome).

Layered banana pudding in a glass footed bowl
[2] 1976: Banana Pudding.

A slice of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting
[3] 1984: Red Velvet Cake.
Ambrosia salad in glass cups
[4] 1961: Ambrosia.


Thanks to Taste Of Home for this bit of food fun: the popular desserts—and recipes for them—from the year you were born.

There’s every year from 1940 to 2000.

Think of what you can do with these:

  • Make friends and family their “birth year dessert” (BYD)
  • Have a birthday potluck where everyone brings their BYD
  • Pick a year at random and make that dessert.
  • So much more.
    > Head to the recipes!
    > The history of dessert.

    > The history of cake.

    > The different types of cakes.

    > The history of pie.

    > The different types of pie and pastry.

    > Almost 1000 more food histories.

    > Almost 100 more food glossaries.
    Baked Alaska with spumoni ice cream flavors
    [5] 1959: Baked Alaska.





    Sophistiplate’s Beautiful, Disposable Paper Plates & Flatware

    How did the most beautiful disposable paper plates, made by Sophistiplate, come to be?

    As a foodie family, Gary and Dan Seehoff love to entertain and set a beautiful table for family and friends.

    But post Thanksgiving dinner 2015, they found themselves doing the dishes for days on end. They vowed to go disposable the following year. But…

    They couldn’t find any disposable dinnerware elegant enough for their table. But they had a solution: They designed their own line, Sophistiplate. And is it impressive!

    Once you try Sophistiplate for an event, you’ll be converted to the ease of cleanup.

    There are designs for every holiday, family occasion (e.g. baby shower), and many classic designs that fit everywhere.

  • There are matching napkins, of course. Plus complementary place mats or table runners.
  • Reusable plastic cutlery and glassware are just as sophisticated as the plates.
  • There’s an eco line of compostable dinner plates that are extremely sturdy, crafted with both aesthetics and environmental responsibility in mind.
  • Your guests will be impressed.
  • You have no plates to wash.
  • You may love all of the design choices so much, that you might never drag out the family china again.
    The Designs

    There are many all-purpose designs, and you can also search by:

  • Holiday/Season: Christmas, Easter, Fall, Thanksgiving, New Years, Patriotic, St. Patrick’s Day, Summer, Valentine’s Day.
  • Family Events: Baby Shower, Birthday, Graduation, Wedding.
  • Jewish: Hanukkah, Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah.
    We close by saying:

    > Visit the website and feast your eyes!

    > Keep a diary of your parties and events.

    > Monthly entertaining is easy.

    > Designer ice cubes.

    > Arty serving pieces.


    A colorful place setting of Sophistiplate
    [1] There’s a design for every event. We love this colorful, crimped pattern, “Panoply,” and gold and white recyclable flatware (photos © Sophistiplate).

    A table set with Sophistiplate elegant paper dinnerware
    [2] You can create any mood you like. This elegant pattern is called “Timeless.”

    A disposable dinnerplate with a honeybee design
    [3] We can’t wait for an occasion to use the Honeybee design.





    It’s National Chocolate Wafer Day. What’s A Wafer?

    Box Of Brownie Crisp Dewey's Moravian Wafers
    [1] The Central European recipe for thin wafers came to the U.S. in the mid-1700s with émigrés from Moravia (photo © Dewey’s Moravian Cookies).

    An open box of Nabisco Famous chocolate wafers
    [2] Nabisco sold millions of boxes to home cooks to make various icebox cake recipes. Word on the street was that they were discontinued, but they may be back some day Nabisco).

    A plate of pizzelle, Italian wafer cookies
    [3] Italian pizzelles are made in larger, thicker sizes but also in super-thin wafer cookies like these (photo © Nicole Pearce | Unsplash).

    Icebox cake made with chocolate wafers
    [4] An icebox cake made with homemade chocolate wafers by Zoe François. Here’s the recipe. She also makes a version with caramel whipped cream (photo © Zoe Bakes).

    A box of Nilla Wafers
    [5] Thicker wafers are exemplified by these Vanilla Wafers, invented in the 1890s in New York City (photo © Nabisco).

    Finger-shape Sugar Wafer Cookies
    [6] This type of sugar wafer, called Neapolitan, were invented in Vienna in 1898 (photo © Schär).

    Package of Manner hazelnut wafer cookies
    [7] The original cream-filled wafer cookie from Manner (photo © European American Brands).

    A Large Kit Kat Bar
    [8] When wafer cookies were filled (and coated) with chocolate instead of cream: Voilà, the Kit Kat Bar, a candy bar-cookie hybrid, launched in 1935 (photo © Hersheyland).

    July 3rd is National Chocolate Wafer Day, but as with pralines, different products are called by the same name.

    “Wafer” can refer to different types of cookies or to a type of chocolate melted down by chocolatiers to make other chocolate products.

    Let’s take a “tour” of the wafer sub-category of cookies cookie category.

    There are different types of wafers in the cookie world. All are flat: much thinner than a regular cookie, dry, crisp, and sweetened*.

    Thin wafer cookies date to the 14th century, following the invention of waffle tongs/waffle irons in The Netherlands.

    The earliest known English-language use of the term wafer (wafeltje in Dutch) appears in Middle English by 1377.
    Moravian-Style Wafer Cookies (photo #1)

    These are the thinnest cookies that can be made; the dough is rolled to an almost transparent thickness. The baked cookies are very fragile but delightful, for serving with ice cream or tea.

    The cookies first appeared during the Christmas season centuries ago in the kingdom of Moravia a historical region located at the east side of what is now the Czech Republic (from the end of the 8th century to the end of World War I).

    They are Moravia’s version of spice cookies (German Lebkuchen are a neighboring style. Here’s a recipe if you want to bake your own.

    Thin wafer cookies existed in the early Renaissance, the 14th century [a href=”” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>source].

    Moravian wafers likely originated in the 15th century, when exotic spices from around the world sailed into the ports of Europe.

    Recipes for the cookies arrived America in the 18th century with Moravian émigrés, who founded the town of Salem (now part of Winston-Salem), North Carolina in 1766. From there, they moved to other communities of the Colonial American Moravian Church. In the U.S. they became known as Moravian wafers or cookies.

    Made with basic cookie ingredients (flour, sugar, and butter) the originals were flavored with holiday spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.

    Today they are made in a variety of year-round flavors. Dewey’s Bakery, for example, makes more than 10 flavors, including Brownie Crisp to Coconut, Cranberry Orange, Ginger, Lemon, Lime, Peanut Butter, and Salted Caramel, among others.

    Two or more thin, round Moravian wafers can be sandwiched with a filling—chocolate or lemon cream, caramel, etc.

    Thin or sandwiched, they also can be dipped in chocolate.

    Beyond Moravia, other countries made wafer-thin cookies. Check out the Italian pizzelles in photo #3.
    Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer Cookies (photos #2 and #4)

    Starting in 1924, The National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) sold millions of boxes to home cooks who wanted to make an easy but impressive icebox cake dessert with their Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer Cookies.

    In 1929, they printed their classic recipe on the wafer box: Nabisco’s Chocolate Wafer Zebra Cake (photo #3).

    The wafers are delicious on their own, and in our college, many evenings were spent topping them with whipped cream, caramel sauce, preserves, or fudge sauce.

    > Icebox Cake Recipes
    Nilla Wafer-Style Cookies (photo #5)

    The recipe for vanilla wafers or sugar wafers was invented in the late 19th century by confectioner and inventor Gustav A. Mayer, born in Ulm, Germany in 1845.

    An 1870 émigrée to Staten Island, he manufactured cookie and biscuit molds and equipment, and also made wafer cookies in the flat, thin style of Europe.

    They were a hit, and he sold his recipe to Nabisco, which began producing them under the name Vanilla Wafers in 1898.

    The beloved banana pudding recipe printed on the Vanilla Wafers box became a “hot” dessert in the 1940s (here’s the original recipe).

    Nilla Trivia:

  • The name of the cookie was not changed to “Nilla Wafers” until 1967.
  • The wafers are commonly used to orally deliver compounds and medications to rats in testing, who are also big fans of the wafers [source].
    Neapolitan-Style or Cream-Filled Wafer Cookies (photos #6 and #7)

    Also in 1898, a third style of wafer cookies was introduced by the Viennese confectionery company Manner.

    Five thin finger cookies (1.9″ x .67″) filled with hazelnut-flavored chocolate cream, with a reed (cross-hatch) pattern on top, were stacked and called called Neapolitan-style because hazelnuts were grown in the area of Naples, Italy. The basic recipe has remained unchanged.

    The style has been adopted by numerous other cookie producers and is made in flavors from chocolate to coconut to lemon to matcha.
    Candy-Cookie Hybrid (photo #8)

    The original four-finger bar known today as Kit Kat was developed after a worker at Rowntree’s, a British confectionery company, placed a suggestion in a company suggestion box for a snack that “a man could take to work in his pack.”

    The bar, initially called Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp was launched in 1935, and renamed Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp in 1937 [source].

    It’s a chocolate-covered wafer bar—thin like Neapolitan wafers—of four snappable “fingers” filled with chocolate. Rowntree’s licensed Kit Kat to the H. B. Reese Candy Company, a division of the Hershey Company, in 1970; the license exists to this day. Rowntree’s was acquired by Nestlé in 1988.

    The standard bars consist of two or four pieces composed of three layers of wafer, separated and covered by an outer layer of chocolate. Each finger can be snapped from the bar separately.

    In the U.S., Kit Kat flavors include milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white creme, mint + dark chocolate, birthday cake, lemon crisp and chocolate frosted donut; plus seasonal flavors (pink lemonade is the summer 2024 flavor).

    You can find the Japanese Kit Kat flavors on Amazon, with national flavor favorites like wasabi and purple sweet potato.

    The brand also tailors flavors to other countries worldwide. Bar None (made by Iconic Candy), Little Secrets Chocolates, and Nestlé Coffee Crisp Chocolate Bars also make Kit Kat-style bars.

    Chocolate wafers or discs are used by confectioners and pastry chefs to melt into other forms of chocolate.

    Candy melts are imitation chocolate, popular with home cooks because of the variety of colors and flavors, and the lower expensive than the real thing.

    Chocolate wafers or disks are related to couverture, large blocks of chocolate that are also melted down to make finished chocolates. Wafers enable home cooks and smaller chocolatiers to buy smaller amounts.

    A bowl of Guittard Chocolate Disks
    [9] Beyond cookies: Chocolate wafers or disks are melted down to create other chocolates and desserts (photo © Webstaurant Store).

    > The history of cookies.

    > The different types of cookies: a photo glossary.

    > The 11 categories of cookies.
    *Except for Holy wafers, which are used in religious ceremonies, are almost tasteless, and are made with only wheat flour and water. Different cultures, from the U.K. (pink wafers) to Egypt (freskas), Italy (pizzelles) to Mexico and South America (obleas), have their own styles of wafer cookies. Eastern Europe and Italy celebrate Christmas Eve with Christmas wafers, cookies that depict religious scenes.




    For July 4th: A Red, White & Blue Hot Dog Pizza Recipe

    In addition to hot dogs on the grill, here’s something different for July 4th week: a red, white, and blue pizza.

    You can also make the pizza on the grill (here’s how).


  • Red(ish): hot dogs, sliced
  • Red Optional: red jalapeños, sliced
  • White: sauerkraut on a ricotta and mozzarella base
  • Blue: blue/purple potatoes, sliced
    The bonus is that all ingredients are store-bought and easy to assemble.

    We microwaved the potato slices for 15 seconds to al dente.

    Thanks to Bubbie’s for the idea, which uses Bubbies Sauerkraut.

    Bubbies Spicy Sauerkraut contains red pepper slices.

  • Lady Liberty Lemonade, Sangria, Or Cocktail
  • Red, White & Blue Iced Tea
  • Red, White & Blue Lemonade
  • Spicy Lemonade (add blueberries for garnish)

  • Ales of the Revolution from Yards Brewing Company: George Washington’s Tavern Porter, Poor Richards Tavern Spruce, Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale (made from their own recipes, Poor Richard’s is from Ben Franklin’s recipe)
  • Founding Fathers Brewing Co. Amber, Light and Pale Lagers
  • Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing

  • 50 Red, White & Blue Recipes For Every Meal Of The Day

    > The history of Independence Day.

    > The history of hot dogs.

    > The history of pizza.

    > The history of sauerkraut follows.

    > July is National Hot Dog Month. The third Wednesday in July is National Hot Dog Day.


    Red, White & Blue Hot Dog Pizza
    [1] Red, white and blue hot dog pizza (all photos © Bubbies).

    An open jar of Bubbie's Sauerkraut
    [2] Bubbie’s Sauerkraut, a naturally fermented superfood.

    A jar of Bubbies Spicy Sauerkraut
    [3] Bubbies Spicy Sauerkraut adds red chile peppers.


    Sauerkraut is a national dish of Germany, and is known by its German name in English-speaking countries (the English translation is “sour cabbage”). It’s also a traditional dish in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, in France and The Netherlands.

    However, sauerkraut did not originate in Germany. The pickled cabbage dish suan cai dates to at least the days of the building of the Great Wall of China*.

    The Romans also pickled forms of cabbage, which could be the source of modern-day European sauerkraut.

    However, a competing theory calls out the Mongol conquests of the 13th and 14th centuries.

    The Mongols brought the method of preserving cabbage by lactic acid to Europe, after conquering parts of China, where lactic fermentation was a well-known method of preservation. (If the Mongols did not yet know the lactic fermentation process, they learned about it in China.)

    Each non-English-speaking country has its own name for sauerkraut, and regional variations abound.

    Today, the per capita consumption of sauerkraut is higher in the U.S. and France (where it is called choucroute) than in Germany [source].
    *Several walls were built from as early as the 7th century B.C.E. The final stretches were completed in 206 B.C.E.



    Drink More Water & Tastier Water, Sparkling Or Still, With True Citrus

    Packets of True Grapefruit, True Lemon, True Lime, and True Orange water enhancers, with a glass of water
    [1] Flavor your water with (from the top) True Lime, True Grapefruit, True Lemon, and True Orange (all photos © True Citrus).

    True Lemon packet with wedges of fresh lemon
    [2] One packet equals one wedge of citrus.

    A box of True Lime flavor packets and a Margarita
    [3] No fresh lime for your Margarita? No problem!

    True Grapefruit packets with fresh grapefruit slices
    [4] Try a blindfold test: sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh grapefruit, and sparkling water with a packet of True Grapefruit.

    A box of True Orange water enhancer packets
    [5] An 8-ounce glass of orange juice has 24g (6 teaspoons) of sugar per. A glass of True Orange: zero calories.
    Box of True Lemon With Chicken Recipe
    [6] If you don’t have a fresh lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit, just open a packet of the same True fruit. Check out all of these recipes.


    Our Top Pick Of The Week is from True Citrus Company: crystallized citrus packets—True Grapefruit, True Lemon, True Lime, and True Orange—that the brand has described as “drink mix.”

    To us,“drink mix” describes something from powdered iced tea to punch that we’d rather refer to them as water flavor packets or water enhancers. Or, citrus wedge substitutes. Whatever, they’re great.

    The easy-to-carry packets (the size of a Splenda packet) are made from “crystallized” grapefruit, lemon, lime, and orange, which the brand defines as “taste of fresh squeezed lime wherever you go, made from real lime juice and oils.

    The flavor really does taste fresh-squeezed. For us, it was love at first sip.

    And no more dragging home (and recycling) heavy bottles of flavored water and seltzer. That’s why…

    We started out buying the grapefruit and lime, loved those so much we purchased lemon and orange, and loved those so much that we purchased the whole lemonade-limeade lime, the latter slightly sweetened and for review at a later date.

    So this much is true: True Citrus packets have great flavor. What they doesn’t have:

  • NO calories, just unsweetened, fresh-squeezed lime taste that’s been crystallized and packaged in convenient single-portion packets.
  • NO sugar, artificial sweeteners, or sweeteners of any kind.
  • NO artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • NO sodium, MSG, gluten, soy, or GMOs.
  • Less than 1g carbohydrate.
  • Certified kosher (parve) by OU.
    Tasting is believing. You’ll be able to say goodbye to:

  • Having no fresh citrus when you want it for water, soft drinks, cocktails, or cooking.
  • Throwing away a lemon, lime, or other citrus because you didn’t use it before it dried out or molded.
    The packets are great for use at home, at work, on vacation, or just on-the-go.

    The “crystallized” powder is made from dehydrated citrus particles (grapefruit, lemon, lime, or orange), made from the juice of the citrus plus oil from the peel*. The process is patented.

    True Lemon debuted in 2003, after years of researching how to crystallize (dehydrate) the lemon juice and oils together in order to deliver a convenient, shelf-stable lemon wedge replacement.

    The proprietary process locks in the fruit’s oils & juices, capturing authentically tart citrus flavor.

    The three other citrus flavors were subsequently introduced (grapefruit, lime, and orange).

    Today, True Citrus makes more than 40 different citrus based citrus wedge replacements, unsweetened water enhancers, drink mixes and salt-free seasoning blends.

    > You can see the entire range of products here.

    Each packet takes the place of a fresh citrus wedge. All can be used:

  • Sparkling or still water, mineral water, club soda (the difference)
  • Soft drinks, e.g. True Lemon + Cola, True Lime + Sprite)
  • Make-your-own lemonade, limeade, or orangeade with sweetener of choice
  • Tea, hot or iced
  • Cocktails, when you don’t have fresh lemon or lime
  • Recipes: from beverages to mains to sides to desserts
    > Check out all of these recipes!

    In addition to our own stash, we’ve been gifting boxes to friends and family who’ve expressed the desire to drink more water. Every one of them has become a customer of multiple flavors.

    True Citrus products are available at:

  • Retail: more than 45,000 retail stores, including Target, Albertsons, HEB, Kroger, Meijer, Publix, Safeway, Shop-Rite, Stop & Shop, Walmart, Wegmans, and Weis, and other retailers.
    The regular box of 32 packets costs around $9, or 28¢ per packet. But when you start using several packets a day—as we do—a bulk box of 500 packets is deeply discounted to a mere 4¢ per packet.

    When life hands you a [True] Lemon—or Lime, or Grapefruit, or Orange—add it to sparkling or still water and drink it!

    > The history of grapefruits.

    > The history of lemons.

    > The history of limes.

    > The history of oranges.

    *In each type of citrus peel there are cells that contain the fruit’s volatile fatty oil glands. When the peel is pressed, its oil is released.



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