Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes & a little history

Pineapples have been around forever, right? Yes! Well, almost. In reality, canned pineapples that we use in our beloved upside down cakes were not available until 1903 when Jim Dole of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now Dole Pineapple) perfected a way to tin them. So where did people get the idea of putting fruit at…

Rate this:

Pasta Sauce: The Nectar of the gods? a little history

Spaghetti or pasta with tomato sauce, also known as marinara, is a staple of southern Italian cookery or almost anywhere that southern Italians live today. However, spaghetti with marinara hasn’t always been a pillar of southern Italian cuisine. It’s actually a relative newcomer. Let’s briefly touch on pasta. Once upon a time every school child…

Rate this:

Fluffy Made From Scratch Pancakes & a little history

It’s National Pancake Week (I think) and we kicked off the week with an Americanized version of savory French crepes. Today I’m bringing you the history behind pancakes and the best, fluffy, made from scratch recipe…ever! It’s said the origin of pancakes can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks who made a form of…

Rate this:

Cacao as Currency & An Aztec Hot Chocolate Recipe

As I write today’s entry, the early 70’s song “For the Love of Money” by the O’Jays rings loudly in my head. “Some people got to have it, Some people really need it” but where did it all begin? Chocolate history starts in Latin America, where cacao trees grow wild. The first people to use…

Rate this:

Catsup or Ketchup? The Victorian Era Cure-All & Some Other Saucy Claims

The British-based “ketchup” or American-named “catsup” is a tomato-based table sauce used for dunking fries, spiraling on hot dogs and glazing meatloaf…on and on. However, in the Victorian Era, it held some pretty saucy claims. European traders were first introduced to the thick red pottage while visiting the Far East in the late 17th century….

Rate this:

The Best Pound Cake Recipe & First Pressed Vintage Recipe Dated 1796

Pound cake got its name from its original recipe, dating back to 1796, which called for a pound each of butter, eggs, sugar, and flour. A successful pound cake should be moist, buttery, dense yet light and full of flavor. Here’s the recipe I have used for years and the one that gets the most requests,…

Rate this:

Balsamic: The Real Deal or Knock Off?

Did you know that real aged balsamic vinegar actually costs anywhere from $75 to $400 or more? Here are a few reasons why: Balsamic vinegar is NOT like other vinegars. What defines vinegar is the fermentation of alcohol — typically wine but also beer or cider — into acetic acid. Red wine vinegar, white wine…

Rate this:

“Mama Carmela”

This is a vintage, 1945, wedding photograph of my lovely Mama Carmela–the inspiration behind “Once Upon a Spice.” Today would have been her 93rd birthday. My blog is dedicated to her and her passionate love of family and cooking. This strong, sweet, intelligent, loving, Italian woman ignited my culinary enthusiasm at the tender age of…

Rate this: